Good ordinary car
Seatbelt pretensioner, causing the airbag light to turn on.
Windscreen washer pump replaced ($170 that was not necessary - blocked filter was the actual problem!).
Timing belt changes ($600 each time).
Brake discs replaced (by previous owner).
A/C condenser ($1200).
Suspension coils replaced ($1200).
Left indicator sticks when warm.
Fuel indicator light faulty.
Thing with the stereo volume has happened once or twice.
Brake and headlights blow quite often, but it's easy/cheap to replace bulbs.
Despite its faults, it is a good car to drive; nice handling, smart interior, and most importantly, has never let me down.
I have had this car for about 11 years now, and have been doing many more kilometres over the last couple of years than previously. The car has always had a couple of niggles, but never anything catastrophic. The timing belt replacement issue is well documented, so ignore it at your peril. Poor quality A/C condensers fitted on these cars are bound to fail at some point and are an expensive fix. It's important to do the regular servicing, and stay well away from any Holden dealership mechanics as a rule of thumb.
But despite these issues, they are nice cars to drive. Very solid for a car of its size, and very nice build finish and handling, which is what attracted me to the car in the first place. Engine performance and cornering are great, and using PULP does make a difference.
The dash and instrumentation doesn't look too dated, despite this car first being released in 1998. The interior of a Ford Falcon of the same vintage looks positively stone-aged in comparison. A couple of rattles behind the dash, but what do you expect for a car this age?
The exterior has held up quite well too, though I have seen other Astras on the road looking very shabby with paint peeling off the roof and bonnet. The black paint on my car is still perfect, but some of the plastic door protector strips are looking quite sun faded. Headlight covers are hazy also from UV exposure. I only just changed the original tyres that came with the car this year.
These cars apparently have a lot of onboard computer modules (24 separate ones I believe) and they can cost a bit to replace, but never had any problems with mine. Inexperienced mechanics can blow the engine management module, which is a $3000+ replacement. This happened to a friend of mine.
I don't regret buying this car; it has served me well. They are not worth very much at this age, and weighing up repair cost against buying something else is always a question worth asking, but mechanically they're very sound if you get one assembled from the right country. Probably wouldn't buy a Holden or Opel ever again though. There are better cars out there than what Holden currently have in their showroom, and Opel have left the building!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 22nd March, 2014