2003 Holden Astra CD 1.8L from Australia and New Zealand


A cut above the rest in its price category, and above


A poor fitting insert in the boot on the right hand side, where it is cut out to make room for the boot hinge.

General Comments:

I knew this was a good car due to rave reviews from motoring magazines. Only tried one other (2003 Pulsar) but was unimpressed by the harshness of the engine at just 3000RPM.

Test driving the Astra felt like driving a different class of car altogether; quiet, refined, comfortable, well appointed and solid. I didn't bother with any other cars.

I got the CD model in sedan form, adding air conditioning, ABS and traction control (for free). So far I haven't had the traction kick in, even though I managed to get a bit of tyre squeal today around a sweeping bend.

Having owned it almost a week, I'm not disappointed. The only glitch was a poor fitting insert in the boot, which I didn't notice at the dealer.

The engine is smooth and responsive, but drones a little around 2500RPM. However, I'm still running it in, and am looking forward to seeing what this car can do.

Gearshift a little notchy, especially first to second, but is getting easier all the time.

The sound system is good, but haven't noticed much of the speed sensitive volume, which I have on full compensation. (Other people have mentioned it changes between different road surfaces, which is patently rubbish).

Seats are good, but firm. Looking forward to trying them on a long trip.

Overall, I highly rate this car and would recommend it highly.

I'll update this review in the coming weeks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd September, 2003

12th Apr 2004, 06:04

I agree with this reveiw 100%.

I also own a new Astra 1.8 manual. and find it a great car for city or long trips.

It has a lot of grip when pushed and out preforms most others on the road.

29th May 2004, 23:57

Agree 100% with your review. The engine (or is it exhaust drone???) at 2500 I have come to live with. The 1st - 2nd notchiness is still causing mis-shifts. The dealer told me to keep "left pressure on the stick", works much better. Low beam at 100km/h on country roads a REAL bother. Thinking of fitting small driving lights to assist, only because I can't use highs all the time. Averaging 3000kms per month, fuel great... everything great!.

11th Jan 2005, 22:42

I recently bought an Astra (a couple of months ago) and whilst I'm generally happy, I do have a few minor complaints about the car. The Seats are smallish and very hard. The headlights are woeful. There is virtually no illumination on both sides of the vehicle and the forward illumination is dim and patchy. (Some newly fitted driving lights have since fixed this problem). The wiper and indicator controls being on the opposite side to normal is unbelievably annoying. If you put a soft drink can in the door cup holder you can't open the window (normally) without hitting your hand on the top of the can. Some of the less useful standard features could have been substituted for other more conventional features. I'd gladly substitute the headlight tilt adjustment, Tail-light brightness switch, Ice traction switch for a set of electric mirrors and decent head lights.

25th Feb 2011, 04:27

The 03 City Astra is terrible, an absolute lemon! I've had issues ranging from speedo sensor not working, transmission controls not communicating properly, which put the car in permanent limp home mode. Would be a great car if they had sorted out their technical issues! Otherwise, nice and easy car to drive, and the ability to see in front, to the side and rearwards is excellent, no black spots! I would not recommend to anyone though, purely for the fact that you don't know if you're onto a winner or a lemon... it really is a 50/50 chance!

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.

General Comments:

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

14th Mar 2008, 15:03

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.