THE all-new Opel Astra has been setting hearts aflutter overseas, so much so that it has scooped the Golden Steering Wheel - one of Europe's most prestigious awards - in the compact class.
"The Golden Steering Wheel is the most important award for the best Opel we have ever built," said Opel Group CEO, Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann.
"And the most important car in our product portfolio.
"We at Opel can be extremely proud of this Golden Steering Wheel.
"It proves that all of our efforts have paid off.
"The all-new Astra is synonymous for lightweight, highly efficient engines, better packaging, features from the luxury class, trendsetting connectivity and exemplary quality."
The five-door hatch will wear the Holden badge when it announces its arrival late next year after a seven-year hiatus.
It is part of Holden's plan to launch some 24 new or revised cars before the decade is out and follows on the heels of the Astra GTC and VXR Coupes.
The Australian edition will be 130 kilograms lighter than its northern counterpart thanks to revolutionary light materials, allowing for better fuel economy and a more dynamic performance.
"The all-new Astra is a car that promises to shake up the small car segment while clearly highlighting Holden's commitment to bringing in the best cars from around the GM world for our customers," said Holden managing director Mark Bernhard.
"Astra is designed on a completely new lightweight vehicle architecture, powered by latest-generation engines and with Holden engineers' input right from the start, you can be sure it will be perfect for our roads.
"Astra is also one of the most technologically advanced cars around. We cannot wait to introduce this car to Australia next year."