Just on a week now, and I've driven out of the Holden yard with a 2004 plate model, Astra CD, 5 door hatch, manual, 1.8lt. I got free air, traction control and ABS thrown in for free.
I also went for tints and an interior/exterior protection treatment.
So far, just over 500 km's.
I found the gear box is a little "notchy" in 1st to 2nd gear, but they're getting smoother all the time. In addition, flicking the indicator had me throw the wipers into action several times. I'm now used to it on the left hand side of the steering wheel -- as much as I am with the reverse gear having the curious "lift and top left" action.
The seats were at first a little uncomfortable or should I say a tad too firm. They're now wearing in and feel better. Though I did have some difficulty putting sheep skin seat covers on, there's a lot of metal things under the seats and arm access there is tight.
The finish of the car (at least the one I bought) is without flaws, be it paint work or interior. I will say, the Astra CD is dark in tones on the inside, though I prefer it that way. Some may not. But it makes for a neat finish with the tints, that's for sure.
Petrol use is economical, as stated by the specifications and conforms to the bowser top ups so far.
I also like the sound system in it, though I don't drive with distracting blaring tunes. None the less, the CD player is good and changes to bass/treble/volume are simple. In fact, all the electronic controls in the car are fast to master (it's not an SLR digital camera).
It's certainly a zippy enough car for city use, even in Canberra which boasts numerous short range feed/merge lanes into the more paced 80 km to 110 km artery format, yet the Astra delivers the acceleration comfortably and keeps up with the pack (for what is a city full of late model cars of many makes).
I've also driven into the local mountain ranges (sealed roads) and it handles the hair pins, descents and the climbs nicely, not to mention the endless round-abouts in the capital -- it's a sure footed car. As yet, I haven't tried out the cruise control but will in due time. Breaking is good, though I haven't (fortunately) tested the ABS.
Given the unusually warm Autumn weather (as neatly stated on the handy readout display), I've been able to fire up the air-cond and it doesn't reduce the performance in any undue manner. It certainly cools the cabin down to a shivering temperature.
The Astra is quiet, be it engine noise (revs), or road surfaces -- even on the less than best paved country roads. The doors seal well and there's a solid chassis feel. The suspension too takes the body jar out. The ride is comfortable.
I'll be curious how the other features such as head-lamp adjustment and demisters on the mirrors work out, especially as Canberra winters are rather icy and foggy.
Clearly my review is still early days -- however I'm more than pleased with this vehicle -- certainly as a city use vehicle in what is a city of open (and often high) pace driven roads. I'd certainly recommend it to city use people and even interstate travel. Needless to say, all who have had a close up look at my car are impressed with what is an understated small-medium vehicle packed in many features not seen in other makes of comparable price range. A good deal indeed for this price/class. I'm looking forward to when I have completed the "wear in" to fully appreciate it. I'll write another review then.