1999 Holden Astra City 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand


It's a lemon


Engine light came on just after I purchased my Holden and I took to be looked at... couldn't find anything wrong.

Then I had trouble with the revs, so we got a new idle control... fixed... no light came back on and then it started to turn off while I was driving. Took it back to Holden, used the diagnostic computer and it showed nothing conclusive... I was told a new computer would be a good start.

It is now parked under the trees as I couldn't afford to fix it, and I now drive a 1992 Toyota Corolla, which is reliable. I will never buy another Holden.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th January, 2015

1999 Holden Astra CD Olympic 1.8 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Overall, a disappointing buy. I will be replacing it when I can afford to


Although this car is quite nice to drive, relatively economical and has never broken down (touch wood!), I've been disappointed by the high maintenance costs and small problems I've had to contend with.

When I bought the car (from a 'reputable' Ford dealership in Melbourne) I got no more than 5km away before the engine light came on, and on turning off the engine, fans stayed on for a few minutes. This turned out to be a faulty coolant temperature sensor which had not been fixed during the roadworthy. I had to take the car into my local Holden dealership 4 times within the 3 month statutory warranty period to get this, a faulty cruise control, and a couple of other minor faults fixed.

Next time I booked it in for a normal service, the mechanics discovered the cable to the cam angle sensor had previously been taped up with electrical tape, which had disintegrated and the cable was close to completely falling apart. I had to replace this, along with my timing belt and some other minor work (which all adds up) costing me $1500.

Since then, I've noticed the following (I've listed a lot of things, I found it useful when others have done so) :

- Engine head cracked around 100,000km.

- Brakes worn quickly, became very noisy and ended up having to replace pads AND discs. Interestingly, brake deterioration was not noticeable on the previous service (I'd specifically asked for it to be checked)

- ABS and traction control warning lights come on spontaneously, but on restarting the car this stops.

- Occasionally the air con and fans will not work but also fixes itself on restart.

- Parts are expensive - I'd replaced my Mitsubishi with an 'Australian' car, thinking parts would be cheap given how common these cars are - ended up being much more expensive!

- Windows have caused problems - when trying to close more than one at a time, one window will often start opening again.

Also, in hot weather the front windows make a horrible sound like something is rubbing against them as they are wound up and down. Expansion inside the door?

- The driver's seat makes a groaning/squeaking sound when going over bumps, unable to resolve.

- Driver door hinge partially broken, can still open door, but will not stay open on its own.

- Glove box hinge flimsy and broke off easily, so globe box lid falls open. This is also designed to be a drink holder/tray, so you'd expect the hinges to be a bit stronger!

- The ignition has worn and at times does not turn off properly. This means the accessories stay on, and the radio keeps going when the key is in your hand! Very difficult to put the key back in to switch off properly. Will have to replace.

- The plastic around the controls in the dash actually MELTED in the heat. Perhaps Europeans just don't make the cars to handle our Aussie heat?! (This wasn't during the 47 degree week either!))

- CD player would not eject CDs after a while, so had to replace with aftermarket unit.

Generally, I've had to spend a lot of money on this car, some things are expected but I had a Lancer of similar age before this, and before that an old 1986 Corolla and I barely had to spend anything on either of them. Even their roadworthy checks came up clean.

General Comments:

Although the car is nice to drive, and has decent power for its size and nice interior, I would not recommend buying this car.

I've also spoken to others who have bought the 99 and 2000 models, and they've had similar problems to what I've experienced.

A lot of the issues are fairly minor, but they all add up to spending a lot of money because parts are not designed or made to last.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 14th May, 2009

10th Jun 2009, 06:17

AMAZING! I purchased a 1999 Astra only 6 months and am fed up with it! I have at least 5 of the problems/annoyances you have listed and am planning to cut my losses and sell it off. I thought it would be an economical car but it is costing me a fortune! Has anyone else noticed they all smell like crayons?

31st Mar 2010, 07:10

You thought buying an Australian car would be cheaper to maintain...Well, Astra's are not Australian. The are built in Belgium. Maybe the word Holden fooled you. Thought I was buying a German car when I bought a BMW... wrong. Most right hand drive 3 series BMW's are built in S.Africa.

8th Apr 2011, 03:20

We have had a 1999 CD in the family for about 4 years. It is a great driving car, and has been reliable. No problems at all apart from the A/C, which stopped working a month or so back. It didn't stop suddenly, so I suspect it needs a recharge, not a clutch.

Yes, they do smell a bit, the A/C filter behind the glove box needs to be replaced regularly.

Not all of them are problem cars. This one is a good one.

19th Nov 2012, 23:32

These cars are rebadged Opels and not Aussie cars. As an auto electrician, I am now bald, and this is largely due to these rubbish cars, along with Vectras and Barinas. Thank god Holden have teamed up with the Koreans; the euro stuff was junk.

24th Dec 2014, 15:03

I agree on the crayon thing bro. I hate it. Every time I get in, it makes me dry retch.