2005 Holden Astra TS 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Nice looking, good sound, but very poor and cheaply made

Faults:

I have a Holden Astra TS Classic 2005 with the Holden special body kit.

My god, have I had so many problems.

Well the first one was the fuses, which would always blow for no reason.

Then the clutch went, which cost me $1400.

Then the rear suspension started to make noises all the time.

The stupid ignition barrel has gone, and it's only done 90000 kms grrrrr. That's going to cost me $220 from a locksmith, plus the towing home was $240.

I'm done with this car. The next thing that goes wrong with it, I'm going to strip the car and get my money back in parts.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th November, 2009

2nd Dec 2009, 05:29

When the current Astra was released around 2005, Holden flogged the obsolete model (this one) as a cheaper option and badged it the Classic. The Classic was built in Poland instead of Belgium (which was where it was built previously before Belgium started building the newer model that replaced it). I knew someone who had a Classic and they had problems with dash rattles and intermittent engine power loss very early on. I'm guessing the build quality of Poland-built cars isn't as good as the Belgium built ones, but I hear that most Astra's are dogs in general.

4th May 2013, 21:25

I bought my Astra new in August 2005, the last of the old TS series. The dealers were practically giving them away optioned up (free A/C, electric mirrors, traction control, ABS etc) as the new AH series was already selling side by side.

From new I've had no problems; the 'ignition lock problem' was well known by 2005 and the mechanic told me to put a puff of graphite powder in the lock each Christmas. Now it is 2013, and it is still working fine.

The passenger rear wheel bearing is making a hum now, the clutch needs looking at soon (shudders a few times when taking off when cold), no sign of any rust, the cam belt and tensioner - a little pricey but no problems, gets replaced on time.

The suspension seems a little softer now compared to new, might be time for new shockies to tighten up the handling.

The fuel economy varies between 13 and 15km/litre (good) when keeping revs under 3200 RPM. The gear change boot (fake leather?) is looking 'flakey', otherwise interior still looks new. The top of the black rear seats have faded a bit (no seat covers, my fault).

If you are buying second-hand, make sure you check the log book for cam belt changes. If no log book... replace the cam belt pronto!

A broken cam belt will bend the engines' valves instantly (no safe piston/valve clearance) and may be very expensive to repair ($2200-$3500!). Check the VIN/engine number to see if made in Germany or Poland. See Astra VIN Code-breaker on the internet.

I've not heard of any bad things about Polish made Astras vs the German made.

Overall, very pleased with the TS Astra!

As a side note, Opel is importing new Astras into Australia from 2012.

2005 Holden Astra CDX 1.8 litre ECOTEC from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Great build, handles like its on rails, good fuel economy - highly recommend

Faults:

At 60,000 km air-conditioning motor - whining noise when Air-Con switched on regardless of car speed. Repaired under warranty (new aircon clutch assembly).

A couple of times it did not power on when the key was turned - electronic gremlin - gone for the present.

Rain sills have lost their black coating (100,000Km)

Spring loaded cover of 12 volt power input - spring no longer works - cover does not spring closed.

OK, so most of these are only minor issues, but, after 109,000Km, I honestly have not had any major breakdowns or repairs, apart from regular servicing and changing of timing belt etc at recommended intervals.

General Comments:

This has been a great little car to drive - solid build - you will not find better for the price bracket. I love the BMW like 'thud' of the doors closing. Very assuring on the safety side.

Cabin is very different to what's on offer from Asia - not for every ones taste - I read somewhere it was designed by an Audi guy. Multi-function buttons on steering wheel (CDX and above) are very cryptic - can never work out whether I'm changing the track or the CD or switching from CD to radio.

CD player is very good - one gripe was a missing step in the owner's manual - once you select "Eject CD" you've got to actually "Push" the Multi-Function wheel when the particular CD is highlighted to get the CD to eject (took us a trip back to the dealer and a few tries to work this out.)

The car itself handles extremely well - feels like it's on rails. Very direct and responsive steering.

Engine is gutless - they should have brought the later (2007 upgraded 103 KW, 1.8 litre VVT) out from the beginning, but when I bought it all they offered was the carry over engine from the previous model - 90 KW ECOTEC 1.8 litre. Not enough pickup for the weight of the vehicle - 0-100Km/h in 11.7 seconds (5 Speed Manual).

With this motor, definite lag from 1st to 2nd gear. Can't wait to get it into 3rd and hit the on-ramp to the Motorway - it sounds great getting from 60-100; just takes its time getting there, though it does feel like its torquey at this point.

Great for long trips - we've done 1600km round trip with wife and 3 kids plus luggage. Kids a bit big for it now, so won't be doing that again. But it certainly held its own on the highway - you just need to utilise 3rd a lot sooner than later for overtaking. Don't rely on 4th alone - you'll end up playing chicken with the oncoming traffic.

Loves to sit on 120km/h (this was on 110Km/h speed limit sections of Newell Highway) and wants to go faster.

BTW, speedo is not that accurate - When I was doing 100KM according to my Speedo - Digital Speedo in Honda Civic next to me said (106km/hr) (Boy, those Civic digital displays are big). Even the roadworks Electronic Speed Detector Signs show me doing about 4-5ks less than the speedo says. Psychologically reassuring for lead foots if you just set cruise control at 5 k's above Speed Limit - at least you feel like you're getting there sooner, while you still avoid the speeding tickets. :-)

Fuel economy is very impressive - I've done 670km on a tank (50 usable litres) - right down to the last 0.5km Dist to Empty.

Great stereo system (6 Stacker CD, 7 Speaker Surround Sound system) - Base with Graphic Equaliser leaves some Subie Doof-Doofers for dead.

Paint finish is great - still looks like new.

Now that it is out of warranty, (done 109,000km), ideal for a few mods to at least get a bit more pickup out of the 1.8 litre ECOTEC. Any suggestions welcome. Not sure if I can afford any just yet, though. :-)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th December, 2008