1997 Holden Astra 1.6 from Australia and New Zealand


Every mechanic will tell you they are LEMONS!


It started with terrible rattling sounds that were coming from the exhaust. It was cracked in the middle from being so low and hit so many times.

The oil and engine lights would flash on and off nearly every day, even though it had plenty of oil etc.

Then I was told it had an oil leak, which needed to be fixed. That didn’t help.

Then it kept blowing seals out, and left big black oil patches everywhere I went.

Then I was told it was the rocker cover, the head gasket, the radiator was cracked... nobody could tell me. Nothing seemed to fix it either.

Brake pads were ground down twice in two years.

Both side mirrors broke twice.

The central locking got stuck constantly.

The shocks were completely gone, and it swung around corners.

You really have to put your foot down to get it up a hill and rev the crap out of it.

Then after THOUSANDS of dollars and three different mechanics, it finally started to blow smoke out of the engine and through the air conditioning!

I had to drive it for the last three months without the oil cap on, so the engine wouldn’t fill up with pressure and blow all the seals out.

So of course I had to top up the oil twice a week, and coolant every three days!


NEVER again.

General Comments:

It had great cabin space.

Comfortable seating.

Great size for a hatchback, and easy fold down seats.

Easy to park.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st July, 2012

21st Jul 2012, 22:37

6/10 for reliability sounds a bit generous...

24th Jul 2012, 22:42

Yep, that's the Holden Astra. I know an owner who bought it BRAND NEW here in NZ, 0 kms!! And had half of the problems listed within a month.

1997 Holden Astra TR 5-door sedan 1.6 C16SE from Australia and New Zealand


It's like a Corolla, only better looking, and with atrocious reliability


Both driver and passenger doors mirrors have blown off while driving along.

Indicator lenses have fallen off.

Wheel-covers have also fallen off while driving.

Interior rattles quite badly.

I've had to replace the entire exhaust system, after it rusted out.

I've replaced rear brake cylinders.

Front-left wheel-bearing needed to be replaced, after it collapsed.

Both CV joints have been replaced.

After only 120000kms, I had to replace the entire gearbox at great expense, after the diff slowly whined/ground itself to death (after being pulled apart, the gearbox oil was choked full of metal shavings).

Considering this car has only just passed the 120000 kilometre mark; it has had a very poor reliability rating.

I do not plan to buy another Holden Astra.

General Comments:

Despite the poor reliability, and snail-paced acceleration; this car has always been comfortable and easy to drive. The handling is precise (albeit with understeer noticeable when cornering sharply at speed).

The air-conditioning has always been ice cold.

The heating is very good, and only takes a couple of minutes to get working after starting the car.

The factory stereo is quite impressive, with clear sound and good bass, with no tinniness at all.

Originally being a European-designed car (and being designed to drive on the right), this car's drivers seat is a little out of line with the steering wheel, which means you are sitting slightly crooked compared to the car.

This car is reasonably quiet, with low road-noise, but a noticeable drone from the engine when driving around town and out on the highway.

Suspension is a little hard, with every pot-hole giving a nasty thud throughout the cabin.

Ground clearance isn't especially great, with the front end often bottoming-out on driveways and spoon-drains.

This car is almost painfully slow; you have to rev the crap out of it to overtake anything, or get up a slight gradient at the speed limit. It takes just over 13 seconds to get to 100kmh from a standing start.

Fuel economy isn't that great considering the small 1.6l engine. It averages around 11-12km per litre, which is poor considering it's only ever driven at highway speeds, as I live out in the country.

I'm always having to clean my front wheels, as the front disc brakes seem to throw out excessive brake-dust.

The boot is surprisingly large for a sedan of such small proportions.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd September, 2010

6th Apr 2011, 05:10

I have had my drivers side mirror blow off while driving also. I have had the blinker lens fall off while driving. The windscreen wiper have snapped off while using them on a wet day.

They are difficult to find second hand spare parts for and new parts are very expensive.

1997 Holden Astra GL 1.6 from Australia and New Zealand


Intermitent stalling.

General Comments:

The car is comfy and economical, but the bad reliability spoils it, the dealers arn't very helpful, it beats me, why a manufacturer can build a car that even it's own service centres can't solve a problem let alone fix, this is a definate let down for Opel, even the web sites of Holden, Vauxhall, and Opel have very little information about the recommended specifications for fuel type etc on their vehicles, not everyone buys a car new and has the owners manual.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th October, 2004