2004 Holden Astra CD Classic 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand
Outstandingly good value for the money,
I originally ordered the Astra Classic sedan, with the option pack (traction control, power windows, ABS) but the dealer couldn't source one and so offered me the CD Classic sedan for an extra $500. Although I was told it would be available within a few days, the days stretched into weeks due to a delay at the Holden end. In the meantime they offered me one of the new model hatchbacks to drive.
It was interesting to compare the "New Astra" with the Astra CD Classic when mine arrived a week later. Although the "New Astra" had a few extra features missing from the CD Classic (MP3 player, seatbelt warning alarm etc), I much preferred the look, feel and interior of the CD Classic. The new model is just a bit too funky looking, and the interior doesn't have the refined, classy feel about it that the older model has. It's slightly futuristic look seems a little "cheap".
I've had my car for a week now, and am loving every aspect of it. Not being a "car" person, I'd never understood the term "a drivers car", but I do now. The Astra is a joy to drive and has a lot more power than I imagined it would, especially as I was coming from a V6 Falcon.
The first few days I owned the car, it rained constantly and I was surprised by how well it handled in the wet. Having the wipers on most of the time stopped me from looking like a complete idiot when I hit the wipers instead of indicators too. I'm getting used to the left hand indicator switch now, but old habits die hard.
The Blaupunkt sound system is awesome, and I have definitely noticed the speed-variable volume, particularly as I have to accelerate quickly after backing out of my driveway. The steering wheel sound controls are very easy to use without taking your eyes off the road.
The cruise control is wonderful. I hardly used that feature in the Falcon because I had to press a sequence of buttons on the steering wheel, which I could never get used to. But in the Astra, it's one click on the end of the indicator stalk.
Storage space is excellent; the boot is HUGE for such a compact car.
I am thrilled with this car. It has class, style and understated elegance. And it has a LOT of features for the money.
I will try and update this review after a month or so, as I am driving from SE Victoria to Canberra soon and so should have a more comprehensive outlook on the handling, fuel consumption, comfort level etc.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th November, 2004