As a owner of an Astra 2.2 Sri for 4 years now all i would say is don't buy one. All I have had is problems with my car. I owned a Peugeot 206 GTi before this and wanted something the same performance but slightly bigger and cheaper insurance.
When i forst bought the Astra I loved it had the perfomance and the styling I wanted. I bought the car in Feb 04 the car was 8 month old and had only been used by the Vauxhall dealer i bought it from.
i had a noise in the September of 04 which i was told was something to do with oil hydrualics or something which was fixed.
By July 2005 the car developed a knocking noise which when i took it to dealer was told it was undrivable. Eventually weeks later and after I had pestered the life out of Vauxhall they told me I need a whole new engine! This was done under warranty lucky! It did run well after. Until July 07 when car developed a knocking again. When return to dealer I was told nothing was wrong and that it was just wear and tear. i did take it to another garage which told me it was timing change. i contacted vauxhall and still waiting on reply.
Now i have an Astra with a Seized engine sitting outside my house with no reply from vauxhall
Please humour me as what I am going to do here is actually a review of the Astra 2.0 SRi 16v, but hopefully you will still find it useful!! Anyway it is basically the same car as the 2.2, just with an ever so slightly smaller engine.
I have owned this car for about two and a half years ago. This was from a Vauxhall dealer I found in Slough after doing a used car search on Vauxhalls very helpful website. I had decided on the Astra as both the Golf GTi and Peugeot 206 GTi had very similar performance as the Astra but much higher insurance groups. (The Astra 2.0 SRi is Group 11).
I originally paid £11,000 for the car. I thought was quite reasonable for a sports model that at the time was just over a year old and only had 8,000 miles on the clock.
I found the staff at the dealership to be very helpful and they even gave me £350 for my rusty old 1991 Metro GTA on a trade in which was nice!
Anyway onto the car
You get a very decent spec with this model. Firstly you get a 2.0 litre, fuel injected, 16v, twin cam engine which develops around 138 bhp. The interior of the car is sensible rather than flashy but is also well equipped. You get a CD player, comfortable and fully adjustable sports seats, air conditioning, electric windows, twin air bags, front fog lights and nice white sports dials on the dashboard. Also there is a neat little switch which allows you to turn on and off the traction control. It gets a bit hairy with the TC off so I tend to keep it switched on!
This model is fitted with alloy wheels, shod with Michelin rubber and all round disk brakes, assisted by ABS and these are very effective at bringing the car to a halt!
The car also features sports suspension, tuned by Lotus to give better road holding and allow you to take full advantage of the extra power this car has over standard Astra models.
How does it drive then? Well compared to the smaller hot hatches I have driven like the Metro GTA and Peugeot 205 GTi, this car feels a lot safer but perhaps the handling is not quite as involved, seeing as how the car is larger and heavier than those previously mentioned models. The acceleration is swift rather than brutal, 60mph is achieved in 8.5 seconds and the car tops out at 135mph.
The engine is smooth and has plenty of torque. However, as with most GTis you have to push it above 4,000rpm to get it to really work. Below this level it can tend to be rather too polite.
The ride on this car is slightly harder than normal, seeing as how the suspension has been tuned by Lotus for the extra performance of the engine. It is still pretty good at absorbing the bumps over rough surfaces though.
I have been impressed with the gearbox on this Astra. It is extremely flexible which makes town driving a doddle. I have driven an Escort 1.8 Si which would complain if you put it in 4th gear at anything around 30mph. The Astra on the other hand is quite happy to be in 4th at this speed, which is good considering at times my gear changing can be rather eccentric!
I have so far driven about 5,000 miles in this car and have found it to be swift and reliable. However, the car can be thirsty for fuel, especially when driven hard. The £10 in petrol I used to throw in my old metro once a week doesnt last very long in this Astra!! This I guess is the price you pay for the GTi performance and the extra weight added to modern cars by the safety features.
One piece of criticism that has been levelled at the Astra is the styling. Some have complained that is it too conservative and looks too much like the Vectra. I would tend to agree if this criticism is directed at the lower models, but I feel that when in the in the SRi guise, the larger alloy wheels, fog lights and rear spoiler make this is Astra a much more eye catching car!
Seeing as this car could be a target for the joy riders, security is well catered for, with an immobiliser, alarm, deadlocks all fitted as standard.
This could be seen as the only major downside to the car and one that you should pay attention to, if you wish to get a decent amount of money when you come to sell on your car. Checking into the estimated value of the car (from Vauxhalls website) I have found to my horror that it is now only worth about £4,500 on a trade in. This is pretty bad, considering I paid £11,000 for the car just over two years ago. That means it has lost over half its value in this time. If I had known this at the time of purchase, I may well have thought twice about going for Vauxhall and perhaps have paid a bit extra for a VW Golf GTI, which has tends to have lower depreciation.
In conclusion then if you are after a sporty hatchback with GTi performance, then the Astra 2.0 SRi is well worth considering. The realistic insurance group means that it is also not going to cost the earth to insure either.
Overall I would say that I am pleased with the purchase of the car, but a bit depressed at how heavy the depreciation has been!!
Thanks for reading!