2003 Holden Astra Equip 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand
If you love driving, drive an Astra
The only complaint so far is a minor rattle coming from the behind the dash board area. This rattle only can be heard on bitumen roads with course gravel.
This car is a real pleasure to drive it has plenty of driving appeal.
The engine is a little coarse at idle and at the lower revs. It becomes very smooth at around 2000 rpm and sings sweetly above 3500 rpm rpm. The twin cam 16-valve engine loves to spin and produces good torque for hill climbing.
The car has a solid feel on the road, the electro-hydraulic power steering has no vagueness and can be driven quickly through bends with pinpoint accuracy.
The road handling and suspension dynamics are excellent, there is virtually no body roll and the gas pressure shock absorbers soak up bumps with incredible ease.
Cabin noise is very low except for the Dunlop tyres which tend to be a little noisy at lower speeds and when driven on rough bitumen gravel surfaces.
The hydraulic clutch is light and smooth to operate. The gearbox can be a little stiff when it is cold especially when trying to select first gear, once warm, the gearbox is a joy to use.
The cabin is well laid out. The cruise control is simple to use and works extremely well in the manual. The CD player and sound system is to quality and the air-conditioning works well.
The Asta is very economical to run. My driving normally includes more city than highway driving. I have been keeping records of fuel consumption since new and it has never exceeded 8 litres / 100 kms, as the engine is now starting to loosen up I am achieving around 7.3 litres / 100 kms.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 13th August, 2003
I purchased a 2003 TS Astra Equipe brand new after falling in love with the build and style of the car in the showroom.
My Astra is fantastic! Looks like it's been forged out of solid steel, holds the road like it's on rails, and the fuel efficiency is sensational. The safety features and the rigidity of build are re-assuring, too.
Servicing is slightly more expensive than Japanese models but this is offset by the Astra's 15000km service intervals. Never paid more than $700 for a major "timing belt" service either despite reading stories of $1,200 or more! My dealer was upfront about the timing belt issue too. Had the air-conditioner replaced twice under warranty and the dealership guys seemed to act like it was their "duty" to get that done quickly for me. No complaints.
I've read many reviews from disgruntled Astra owners but after 5 years there isn't one medium sized or small car I'd trade my TS Equipe for.