2005 Holden Astra CDX 1.8 litre ECOTEC from Australia and New Zealand
Great build, handles like its on rails, good fuel economy - highly recommend
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.
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