When I first got the car, it had been sitting for 4 years, so it needed brake disks/pads, drums/shoes, tires and a petrol tank (condensation had rotten the seam).
At about 70k, it needed a near side front suspension rebuild (my fault from hitting a very big pothole; burst the top mount and bent things that shouldn't have been).
Exhausts at 80k, 110k and a new one needed now (not bad considering they were cheap ones from Eurocarparts).
Front top mounts, shocks, springs, wishbones and track rod ends seem to need to be replaced every 20k or so (not all at the same time mind you!).
Off side suspension rebuild about 100k (top mount bearing failure).
Coolant temp sensor at 100k.
Clutch cable at 110k.
Rear springs at 150k.
As well as usual servicing, including timing belts at 70k and 110k.
I thought it had finally had it at about 120k, when I drove it through a flood and it spluttered to a halt. The recovery guy said it was guffed (no spark, electrics fried), and mechanics confirmed this, quoting 300 quid to sort it! But after leaving it for two days (getting scrap quotes), I had to go and get the VIN number, and when doing this, I decided to try starting it... and after a bit of turning and a lot of grey fugg, it fired back into life (a bit splutterly at first, but a run round the bypass sorted this)...
After this, I discovered the air filter box to air box hose was split, and the distributor moisture resistor cap was split too... so changed all that and gave it a new rotor arm, dizzy cap and HT leads... runs like new again :-)
And that's it.... not bad considering it cost nothing to begin with, and has been used for everything from a weekend camping trip for 5 adults (so much weight that the springs kept "maxing" out on the bumps!!) to helping various people move house and runs to the dump!
A fab car. I plan to run it into the ground!
It handles a bit like a bowl of rice pudding, but gets you to where you need to be, and without much fuss.
On the motorway it does take a bit to get up to speed, but once up there it can hold its own with the BMW and Audi brigade (but it probably won't get you the fastest time round the Nurburgring!!) I did get it to just over a ton once, but then someone in an AMG Merc went flying past me, which put a bit of a damper on it...
Over the years I've has it, it's had its fair share of dunts. Hit the back of a Ford Focus 4 days after getting it, got it straightened out and all OK, then coach lined a Ford Focus with it in '09 (other driver was on the wrong side of the road, but I was at a give way!). My cousin also reversed it into a Ford Focus, and then on the way to work (a single track road) someone in a Ford Galaxy skidded on ice and clipped the side of it (2.5k damage to their car, 500 to mine) and it all seems OK still; a solid wee car!!
It'll take any furniture you put into it with ease (within reason), like a 6 foot dining room table, a 3 seat sofa bed, double mattresses etc (the tailgate has needed tied down on those occasions).
It gets cleaned twice a year, at the end of winter to get all the salt and muck off it, and at the end of summer to get all the dust out of it, and now and then has a good T-cut and polish (which brings it up like new)... and being white it hides any scratches well!
Overall, if you want a bargain car that'll run well and not really ever let you down, the Astra is the way to go!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 9th February, 2013