2002 Holden Astra CD 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand


Small cars are not supposed to be so smooth, quiet and refined like the Astra is


The famous rear brake squeal started within 10km of picking the car up. The rear brake dampers were fitted at the 1500km service. The fitting of the dampers has made a noticeable improvement to the brake feel of the car. Especially when stopping and starting.

There was also a noise from inside the center of the dash around the stereo. It happened to be a cable rubbing which was fixed also at the 1500km service.

Other than that it has been good.

General Comments:

I am quite impressed with the performance of the automatic. The initial launch of the car when moving off from a standstill is better than any small 4 cyl auto I have driven, even some larger engined cars. It is a very nippy car for around town. It still lacks the acceleration of the Mazda 323 4WD turbo I had before though!!

NVH levels are so low it even puts a lot of larger cars to shame. Holden should take a leaf out of Opel's, namely the Astra, book on NVH for the Commodore.

The seats are firm, but I find them comfortable, especially for longer trips. However I feel they need more lateral support, especially if you enjoy some enthusiastic driving around corners!! The air conditioning takes a long time to get cool (10-20 min on a 30 deg C day), however once cool, you have to turn it down before you freeze. The strange thing is that the dealer said this is normal (it tested OK they they said) during the 1500km service!! The Mazda never took that long to cool the pipes etc.

Ride and handling is very good. It has a touch of BMW in the way it drives. The suspension is relatively firm, however it still manages to soak up bumps and ruts with aplomb. The steering also has a nice feel to it. Cornering prowess is very good, enough to even put some 'sports' cars to shame.

To sum up it is a very nice car that has a very solid feel to it. The car goes much better than a 1.8L automatic with only 90kw should. I can see why it has won the best small/medium car under $25,000 in Australia's Best Cars awards for 3 years running.

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

Review Date: 12th November, 2002

30th Dec 2010, 02:00

Thank goodness someone else's air con takes forever and a day to get cool! I have a 2002 Astra City in New Zealand, and have the exact same problem. Very frustrating, because I work about 15 minutes from home, so the air con is beautiful when I'm pulling into my driveway!

You have saved me from looking like an ass when I take my car in for a service on Wednesday.

27th Jan 2011, 04:05

I posted the comment above. After taking the car to an auto electric shop, they told me a coil is rooted in the compressor, and I can get the unit rebuilt in Christchurch for NZD$400+gst. Add to that a regas and labour here in Nelson, and I'm looking at a total of at least NZD$700+gst.

I'm contemplating if it's worth fixing at all.

2002 Holden Astra SRi 2.2L from Australia and New Zealand


A great driving car with benefits of safety features and gadgets and quality finish for a fair price


Very soon after I picked up the car the brakes started making a creaking/squealing noise. So, I immediately phoned the dealer who knew immediately what the problem was. Apparently as an improvement, new brake caliper/dampers were put on the new Astras. Unfortunately they had this noise problem. The dealer ordered the replacement parts (took a few weeks from Europe) and they have now been replaced - no noises so far.

General Comments:

I picked this car over the Peugeot 206 and Toyota Corolla Levin. I was looking for a sporty Hatch with a bit more power than a 1.6L which struggles when the air conditioning is switched on.

Great car to drive. The suspension gives you a firm ride, but not too hard. As a comparison I found that driving the Peugeot 206 you would feel every hole in the road.

Nice interior and decent 8 speaker stereo (for the average music enthusiast) compared to the Toyota Corolla which still has an awful sound system. Also quite like the music controls on the steering wheel which I initially thought was a bit of a gimmick.

Like the cruise control which helps prevent you from accidentally speeding.

Noticeable good aerodynamics in the sense that you can drive with your windows down and not experience wind noise and movement. Just feels like a pleasant breeze. Great for summer.

Seats are hard, but I like them this way as I use sheepskins which provide a soft cover over a firm surface.

ABS and traction control are also an added benefit.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2002

2nd Feb 2003, 00:25

Go Astra!! I also found the nifty steering wheel controls weird at first, but after a quick drive castle towers fixed me... i think it's great!!!

10th Mar 2004, 18:04

I brought an SRI Astra in Feb 04 and found the car to be fantastic value. The handling is great, and the engine has a surprising amount of torque. The only criticism I could provide would be the non-linear acceleration curve. When accelerating it feels as if the cars electronics system is deciding how you should accelerate i.e., not giving you the response you would expect. After getting used to this though it is not a problem. The build finish is great, and no problems at all after the first service. The car is reasonably fast, though I wish at times I had the turbo model - Long term I feel the normally aspirated engine is probably a better choice though.

26th Aug 2004, 23:07

A good way to improve the performance of this car is to run it on Premium unleaded petrol. You will use less fuel/km overall which makes up the difference in cost and the performance curve is a lot smoother and a much better shape. The difference is very noticeable. Much sportier!!!

26th Oct 2004, 09:00

I purchased my Astra Sri 2002 model in Feb 04 with 24,000 kms. In the first 2 weeks the water pump went (which was under fact warranty) and then on a hot day the ignition went and was replaced by holden. It was a common problem as they had 200 on back order. Apart from that it's a nice car to drive with spirited performance and a quiet ride. I found the rear spoiler a bit of a hindrance, but got used to it. The electric throttle was bit weird at first and found Bosch braking excellent. I reckon it needs a factory fitted sunroof to finish it off.

6th Oct 2006, 04:38

I bought an SRi in April 2005. As said earlier the straight line acceleration should be a lot better than it is for 2.2l motor.