2003 Holden Astra CD ST 1.8L from Australia and New Zealand


Crap - don't buy one


Air mass meter, water pump, paint on roof peeling, water leaks though all doors, fuel problems, back window cable snapped.

General Comments:

I got it car as my first car, and I've had nothing but problems since I got it. Not sure if it was the owner before me looking after it poorly, or just a lemon car.

The first problem was the air mass meter failed as I was driving along the highway to work, and it cost me $700 for towing, parts, and labour to fix.

The water pump started leaking, and I noticed it before it was too late, and saved the block from overheating.

The back window cable snapped when I was winding up the window.

The door drains filled up with dust, clogging them, and filling the doors up with water, wrecking the door speakers.

The emission, ABS and traction control trip out for no reason while driving. Then I turn the car off and back on, and it's OK again.

I have never missed a service change oil every 5000 kilometers, and only put premium fuel in, and the engine runs OK, apart from the emission sensor tripping out occasionally.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th March, 2012

30th Jun 2012, 15:07

I bought a 2003 CDX sedan (manual) as my first car - all I can say is this:

"People govern the value of purchases by the feelings it generates."

My Astra has been awesome. I've had plenty of issues - but that is only because the computer constantly tells you about EVERYTHING.

On mine the fuel gauge was faulty when I bought it (under extended warranty).

The air con compressor coil packed it in (under extended warranty).

The front fog lamps have gotten a wiring issue (bulbs blew, then maybe a fuse too, but now I need a auto electrician to assess it).

And due to little accidents:

After following the GPS onto a dirt track, I hit a rock and gutted the sump with the impact hard enough to snap the rear engine bracket clean off. Shopped around for parts from wreckers, and ended up getting BOTH for 110. If I hadn't shopped around, new was well over $1000, and most dodgy wreckers wanted at least $500.

But my little Astra also hauled a 8x5 foot "furniture van" over 1000kms when I moved interstate. I had to keep the engine at about 3500-5000 RPM the whole time, but she purred the whole way. Doubled my fuel consumption (because the trailer and load of furniture etc doubled the weight it had to pull).

It also has massive bang for your bucks (mine cost me $8000 via a wholesale dealer in Rockdale, Sydney for the top of the line CDX, mint condition with 105,000km on the clock and full log books etc).

I bought it May 2010 - have put 60,000km on it so far, including driving a 4000+km long trip from Brisbane to MELBOURNE... and BACK... all with a service overdue (financial hardship). Engine was a bit sluggish, but still got me and my (soon to be) fiance to meet each others families and back safely.

Reading all these reviews, it comes to my attention I found a good one... but I've had just as many issues with mine.

Because of the amount of joy, freedom and safety etc my little Astra has given me - and having learned how to fix cars after being stranded out in the middle of bum**** after hitting that rock - the overall feeling for my car is pretty much glowing.

I haven't had the bitter taste of high service costs, because I did the smart thing and developed genuine friendships with a lot of people over the years, and one happened to be a 3rd year apprentice for the local Holden dealer, and he saved me literally... probably 2000 in labour costs in the last 18 months.

I also got a 5 year 100,000km limited extended warranty with the car for about an extra $800. Plus my first year's comprehensive insurance for about 40% less than I could achieve on my own.

That is the power of having a good, honest, genuine dealer with good relationships with their finance folks :)

I imagine if either:

1) I didn't have a mechanic mate.

2) I got ripped off when buying.

3) I didn't have the safeguards of warranty and roadside assist from the start.

4) I had gotten a model without the cool gizmos like heated front seats and/or...

5) I had just focused on all the issues.

... then I would probably be waging war against an imaginary foe right now (be it Holden, the guy who sold it to me, God or whatever).

I had to wait until I was 20 to get my first car - but it was worth it. And I always had a goal with my car, so any possibly perceived "sacrifices" were not perceived as such.

Hope that helps someone somewhere with their car related decisions :)


3rd Jul 2012, 04:01

I agree. My 2002 has cost me $ thousands. I bought it new, and have had it serviced according to schedule.

Problems include: replacing the ignition switch, leaking transmission, leak in the cooling system, temperature gauge non-functioning, replacement wheel bearings (hundreds of dollars each), replacement discs, and now the auto choke is kaput.

The Astra is a solid car on the road, but I'll be buying Japanese next time.

2003 Holden Astra SRi 2.2 from Australia and New Zealand


Great all-round car, good for the city and for highway cruising


Replaced battery.

That's it!

General Comments:

A fantastic car. Handles beautifully, engine is powerful enough to get 4 adults uphill easily (with an automatic).

It's also a surprisingly comfortable cruiser - I can easily handle a solo 600km trip in a day (thanks also to cruise control). Also very economical on longer runs (cruises at 2,500rpm at 100km/h), using c. 7.3litres premium unleaded/100km).

Downsides? I can only think of two:

- The sun visors are too small/short - no-one at Holden has worked out you need a visor that covers the entire length of your driver-side window (i.e. for protection from the Aussie sun).

- There is no cup-holder!

I've used this car for city driving and longer distance highways. The suspension would not be suited to uneven or unsealed roads.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th December, 2008

20th Apr 2012, 03:06

The TS Series Astra (1998-2005) features 7 cup holders, including:

4x door mounted can or small cup holders.

2x glovebox lid mounted cup holders (not for use while driving).

1x centre cup holder for larger sized bottles.

2nd Apr 2013, 19:12

The SRi is a 3 door, not 5 door. The doors can hold a can, but not a cup - so I don't count those. Yes, there is a "square" space for a cup/bottle behind the handbrake (i.e. between the seats, which means twisting your arm backwards), but this isn't particularly easy to access and it isn't designed specifically as a cup holder. Plus there's only one space, so either the driver or passenger loses out.

I should have added how practical it is at carrying small loads through the split seats, and also the "ski pole" for longer items.

It's still a fantastic car - and running beautifully.