The Holden Astra is a compact car that was marketed by Holden, the Australian subsidiary of General Motors (GM). Spanning five generations, the original, Australia-only Astra of 1984 was a derivative of the locally-produced Nissan Pulsar, as was the 1987 Astra. It was succeeded by the Holden Nova in 1989—another unique to Australia model line. From 1995, the Holden Astra name was used in New Zealand, for a badge engineered version of the Opel Astra, which had been sold locally as an Opel since 1993. The following year, Holden discontinued the Nova line in Australia in favour of the Opel-based Holden Astra. This strategy remained in place for the fourth and fifth generations, launched in 1998 and 2004, respectively. Holden discontinued the Astra in August 2009 and replaced it with the Cruze, released two months prior.
The original Holden Astra, introduced in August 1984 as the LB series was a badge engineered Nissan Pulsar (N12). The Pulsar, a Japanese designed model, sold alongside the unique to Australia Astra line-up. The Pulsar for Australia was essembled in Clayton, Victoria; however, for the Astra the body panels were pressed at Holden's Elizabeth, South Australia facility. Unlike its Nissan counterpart, the Astra was only offered as a five-door hatchback, with the three-door hatchback and four-door sedan body styles omitted from the range due to fears they would overlap with Nissan's own Pulsar range. However, Holden's continuation of the Gemini sedan range was the nearest equivalent of this in the range.
The only engine available was a Nissan-designed 1.5 litre engine, locally manufactured, this engine produced 52 kilowatts (70 hp) and 115 newton metres (85 ft·lbf) of torque. Transmission options were a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic.
Compared to the N12 Pulsar, the Astra LB sported a distinctive grille, the work of Australian stylist Paul Beranger housing the Holden lion insignia in the centre, Also unique were Astra-only tail lamps, badging and decals.
A revised LC model was released in April 1986. Unleaded-fuel requirements uprated the engine displacement to 1.6 litres, power by 0.6 kilowatts (0.80 hp) and torque to 124 newton metres (91 ft·lbf). Model and trim changes were also a part of the update, including a new grille insert, and the addition of an SL model positioned below the SL/X and SL/E levels.
The Used Car Safety Ratings, published in 2008 by Monash University, found that first generation Astras (LB/LC) provide a "significantly worse than average" level of occupant safety protection in the event of an accident.
Two trim levels, the SL/X and the SL/E were offered in the LB Astra series, although a basic SL model arrived in 1986 with the LC upgrade.
- SL: entry-level model available upon the LC's introduction.
- SL/X: introduced with LB series featured cloth trim, a digital clock and a combined radio receiver and Compact Cassette player.
- SL/E: added alloy wheels among other features to the equipment list. However, the LC update saw the SL/E specification downgraded from alloy wheels to steel wheels with plastic wheel covers.