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This review is for the 1.8 version of the astra. I bought this car 4years ago from new, it took me ages to decide what car i was going to buy but after going to several garages i then arrived at a vauxhall and as soon as i seen the sri sport model with the xp pack i knew this was the one for me. The garage themslves gave me a price of £17500 for this model. I managed to get exactly the same car online from a company off autotrader in kidderminster for £13500. a great saving for shopping around. The car itself handles brilliantly, the steering is very responsive. Family members and my g/f having driven it and all comment on how smooth the gears are. I only notice once i drive another car and get back into mine. It costs me around £60 to fill the tank, and im getting around 400miles for that which is pretty good, but having the onboard computer in dash telling you instant miles per gallon, miles left in tank, very handy. I havn't had any trouble with this car in 4years, have done 50k now, had it serviced each year, gone through two mot's, no problem. And surely now with vauxhall offering lifetime warrantys on their cars shows how confident they must be in them. If your have any queires about this car, from my personal experiences, and you want to know anything in particular, message me and i will see if i can help you out.
This review is for the Design trim/spec rather than the SRi.
I purchased this last year as my first car when it was 4-years old with 60k on the clock.
The 1.6 petrol engine is very snappy and responsive compared to the 2.0 diesel Golf that I learnt to drive in. Apart from a lack of torque low down in the rev range, it accelerates smoothly with a wide power band. It is happy at high motorway cruising speeds, though sometimes I feel like a 6-speed gearbox would have been more appropriate as the revs do sit quite high.
The ride is quite smooth and quiet. My front end has recently started feeling a bit more sloppy and getting some clucking noises over rough ground, though this is probably just the ARB droplinks that need replacing (a very cheap DIY job).
Steering is responsive but sometimes feels a bit 'detached' due to the strong power-steering... you can drive it with one finger and not get much feedback, though at other times road camber and bumps can unexpectedly force the steering to move where previously it felt like it was stuck wherever you commanded it to be.
Handling and suspension is very good, but also suffers from a similar kind of feeling to above... a lot of the time it feels very numb and controlled, so the times it unexpectedly does start to get thrown about and tested it can feel a bit awkward.
Interior is very comfy and well-designed. Mine has the half-leather trim and some other niceties. The leather at the base of the driver's seat has started to deteriorate and wear, but again this is acceptable for a budget car that now has 70k on it. A few rattles and squeaks have developed in the seats, but I think you have to pay A LOT for a car with a completely solid and rattle-free interior.
AFAIK no pre-2007 models have aux-ins on their radios, so watch out for this when buying. Radios and screens can be swapped between cars to gain different functionality, sat nav, etc, but programming by a dealer is sometimes required and this can get quite costly. It can also be difficult to source the correct colour radio for your car as there are 3 or 4 versions of the plastic trim (the whole plastic surround can be replaced to match if required though).
Watch out for the clutch judder problem as well. Many cars had this fixed under warranty, but a lot of the pre-2007 models still suffer from it.
This review is for the 1.9 turbo diesel Astra & not the 1.6 model listed.
The Vauxhall Astra has been with us since 1979 in various guises & is constantly in the top selling list of cars in the UK ever since. The reason that the Astra has proved popular is due to its modern designs, the fact that it is usually well equipped, cheap to run & insure & despite its reliability concerns its quite simple & cheap to repair.
A recent 270 mile blast to central Scotland in the new Astra Diesel gave me an opportunity to assess the latest model. It was a 1.9 turbo diesel hatchback with a six speed gearbox, from the outside the paintwork finish was excellent & all the gaps around the doors & body panels were consistent & narrow.
One you jump inside the quality theme continues, the upper dash & upper door trims were finished off in a quality rubbery plastic finish often seen in many up market makes. The lower dash was in fake aluminium plastic which was a bit 'in your face' but nicely done all the same.
All the switches had a quality feel to them although the markings for the heating controls were a bit confusing. Getting a comfortable driving position was easy thanks to a multi adjustable drivers seat which could be lowered or raised, however the lumber support in the drivers seat was broken.
Overall the interior is a comfortable place to be but leg room in the back of the car was less than I would have expected for a car of its size. I own a smaller car with loads more leg room in the rear. My other criticism of the interior is the lack of space for odds & ends, yes the Astra does have four decent sized door pockets & a glove box but there is little else. A small rubber lined trinket tray in front of the gear lever is all you get & that is too small for iPods, mobile phones or even coins. Vauxhall supply one cup holder between the front seats but at least it's designed to hold a travel mug with a handle & there is a sunglasses holder on the roof. The boot looked vast with the option of folding down the rear seats to gain more space.
It came well equipped with a decent radio CD with iPod socket, air conditioning, electric front windows, central locking, electric mirrors & alloy wheels. The top mounted central display that provided fuel consumption figures, a stop watch, radio display & outside temperature looked out of place & cheap. The main reason was its orange display; it looked like a throw back form the 1980s & totally out of place on a modern car.
DRIVING THE ASTRA
Once started it is obvious that it's a diesel but it's a lot quieter than most, as you drive away you can't help notice how powerful the car is. Once you are on the open road, the acceleration, particularly when the turbo kicks in is astonishing. This is a car that will easily keep up with more powerful petrol driven cars even on steep hills.
The six speed gearbox is great for economy, in town it recorded 38.9 mpg but on the open road I managed to get it up to 48.4 mpg. At 70mph in sixth gear the rev counter recorded 2000rpm which contributes to those decent economy figures.
It's just a pity the gear change didn't match up to the engine, first to fourth is fine but from fifth to sixth you often end up engaging fourth. From sixth to fifth you end up in third, it is very vague & spoils the driving experience.
Power assisted steering felt perfect & not too light at speed, the brakes were powerful & progressive & the cars overall handling was safe & reassuring. At speed tyre noise dominated & drowned out most of the noise from the engine, the ride was a little choppy on rough surfaces but fine on the smoother motorways.
I was quite impressed with the diesel Astra & in particular the engine performance & economy. The car was well made & finished with criticism limited to the gear change & rear seat room. Would I recommend one? Yes, I probably would. Would I consider buying one? No, Vauxhall's reliability record is still behind the direct competition & that alone would still put me off, but the Astra is a decent car all the same.