I've had problems with my Astra too. But then it's not a BMW, go shell out twice the price for a low spec and under powered BMW 318i and I think you'll find that the Astra wasn't so unbearable after all.
I don't think anyone actually expects the Astra to be a BMW just because General Motors copied the shape.
But since we're comparing manufacturers, I can think of several other makes (for a similar price) that wouldn't sound like I'm hitting the curb every time I park - Peugeot, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Renault... get the picture?
The fact that Astras have not been recalled as yet and are continuing to be sold amounts to negligence, breech of contract and false advertising.
I love my Astra and couldn't be happier with it!!!
My best friends mother is obsessed with Astras and seems to be collecting them, she has a City, CD, SRi, Convertible and has bought the newest model: CDX!!! (about the 4th or 5th of Feb)...
What a legend, both she and I have had no problems with "our Astras" and we couldn't be happier!!!
I own a Holden Astra CD from 1999. In its class it's incomparable in terms of driving pleasure and build quality. It's an excellent car.
Recent events however, convinced me that it will be my first and last Holden I will ever own.
1. The brakes. I did experience the same problem other reviewers are experiencing. The brake in particular (which wear out at 40-50k's, and again around 80-90k's, cost $1000 every time to fix, and this is deemed normal by Holden technicians).
2. CAM BELT, on the service manual it clearly states to replace the Drive/Cam Belt at 120k's (ASTONISHING isn't it?).
I always serviced the car at a Holden dealer, since no other dealers have access to its computerised so and so. The last service was at 90 k's, and everything seemed to be okay.
At 100,453 km (next scheduled service 105,000 km) the CAM BELT snapped, which means a serious mechanical problem that will cost thousands to fix (no kidding, ask any mechanics). The problem has been detected and reported about in NZ. What really annoys me is, why did the dealer not inform me about the recommendation from Holden to change at 60,000kms or every four years. Nothing, not on the 60,000, 75,000, or 90,000 service. There must be miscommunication between Holden and its dealers, and we the consumer have to bear the cost of owning this excellent, but somewhat flawed vehicle.