1987 Vauxhall Astra Merit 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Excellent modest family car/workhorse


Had three new water pumps (they last about 80,000 miles). Failures weren't sudden so didn't result in a breakdown.

Also had one distributor (after about 120,000 miles). Again the failure wasn't sudden.

Also had a new petrol tank and the petrol gauge tends not to work.

Other than these things (come on, it's done 260,000!) there have only been routine things (thermostat, oil warning sender, one fan belt and one hose etc) plus repairs to the sills.

Currently the bulb in the clock isn't working...

General Comments:

After 19 years the driver's seat has moulded itself to my body and is very comfortable. Since I'm an odd shape I find the high headroom very important. Couldn't care less about performance, since even its modest performance is sufficient to get one caught speeding.

The engine is a doddle to maintain and it hasn't had an official service for over 15 years, since it's easy to do everything oneself.

Emissions remain well within the legal requirements, and the engine seems to carry on working, even when something is obviously not right.

Lots of room on the inside, which makes it useful for filling up with planks and other junk that needs carting around.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th January, 2009

1987 Vauxhall Astra Merit 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Ugly Beast!


Nothing at all.

General Comments:

Faster than my previous Astra 1.4 (last of the Mk II's). Handles better after I fitted the GTE alloys with 195/65/14 tyres. Grips better than a Peugeot (and I should know). Front speaker are pants and can't really be changed. Back is running 6x9's, 240w each. 560w amp and JVC head unit. Loud, but not loud enough! Got a sub to fit soon with an amp of some sort. Only thing is, the sub doesn't have a box!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2003

14th Jul 2003, 13:00

So, it grips better than a Peugeot, does it? Any particular one, or all of them? 'Cos Vauxhall are noted for having better chassis than Peugeots...

16th Jul 2003, 06:07

Um...I've had a 205, a 309 (a 205 in ugly clothing) and a 405. They handle really well. But, like I said in the review, I've fitted GTE alloys with 195/65/14's and it just GRIP for ever. It suprised me because Astra's are renowned for handling like jelly moulds!

Having said that, I've never driven a performance Pug (GTi) so I can't comment on how they handle compared to the Astra (better I would think). But I'm going to slam to Astra soon -40mm.

4th Aug 2003, 04:18

* * * My Review * * *

I disagree - most Peugeot's handle really well - I've had a 205 XLD (1769cc Diesel), a 1290cc 309 and a 1.8 405. None of them lowered or running extra-wide tyres (although I swapped the 175/70 14's on the 405 for 185/70/14's). It's just the the Astra handles really well on 195's with GTe Alloys. I compared it to my 1.4 yesterday, and it sit's a good 15-20 mm lower. Perhaps it has been lowered, but everything appears standard!

Or perhaps I am just a DRIVING GOD!

1987 Vauxhall Astra L 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Cheap and problem free


Heater switch light has gone.

Mile gauge only records as far as 0.6 miles.

Central heater has packed in.

Dashboard light has gone.

General Comments:

Excellent first car.

I really have had no problems with it over my two years of ownership.

It always starts each morning and passes the MOT.

The brown interior is old tat as are the dumpy looks.

Did 17,000 miles last year and it could next year.

Wish I could keep it - darn thieves.

Will get another Vauxhall for sure.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th January, 2002

1987 Vauxhall Astra L 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Great little car


Interior fan a bit dodgy - sometimes cuts out when going round corners.

Rust starting to be a problem, both sills rotted through at the back and will need to be replaced for the next MOT, rear wheelarches going, boot leaks slightly.

Original radio/cassette needed to be repaired last year, but only for a £20 flywheel in the tape deck.

Fan/cig. lighter/headlight switch don't light up any more.

General Comments:

A great motor! My first car - my parents bought it brand new in '87 and gave it to me last year. It's 100% original, even the stereo and wheeltrims.

Incredibly fast for a 1.3, and can waste my mate's Focus 1.6 off the lights. It's still comfortable, and cruises at 90-100 mph down from London to Southampton University and back every month with no trouble. Also great fun to throw around country lanes, and the engine sounds good as well.

The factory Philips stereo and speakers aren't great, but they're better than nothing and I can't be bothered to replace them.

Rust is now beginning to be a problem; both the sills have rusted into holes and have been patched, but I figure I'll need to replace them and the rear wheelarches for the next MOT. There's also a rust hole in the rear panel below the boot lid, which lets water in, but that should be easy to fix.

All in all, a stunning first car.

Thing is, I love it so much I never want to get rid of it...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th January, 2001

17th Jan 2001, 09:17

What are the torque wrench settings for the Astra 1.3 1985.

1st Feb 2001, 14:44


I own an Astra Club on an 87 plate, I have had her for 11 years, and have now done 135,000 miles and it is in mint condition.

I have had one near side sill done last year, and that's all the body work that needs doing.

She is the best car I have ever owned I and will keep her till she drops.

Well done Vauxhall, the Astra is one hell of a car.

14th May 2003, 11:36

Well, I wrote the original review and I'm afraid my car is now no more. Left it in the car park, came back ten minutes later and it was gone. Police found it three days later, but by the time they sent a tow-truck it had been taken again. Someone reported it as abandoned two weeks later, in a very sad state - no battery, every pane of glass broken, seats slashed (WHY? What's the point?), it had hit something on the front wing and the engine had been thrashed so hard the cambelt had snapped - presumably why they dumped it, and then apparently smashed it up for a laugh. I went to have a look, but it really was beyond all help, sadly. So now it's been crushed and I've bought another one. It's just not the same though. The police's attitude is "It's not worth anything, so who cares?" Guess that's why there's so much car crime now...

1987 Vauxhall Astra Jubilee Special Edition 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Perfect for the beginner


Head gaskets.

Camshaft tappets.

Burst hose.

Then got an engine transplant from an '88 1.3 Astra. Perfect ever since.

Oh, and a crash!

General Comments:

Performance good for a 1.3.

My mates said it was alright after they'd been in it.

Handling is bit crap though plus I boiled my brakes on 2 occasions after 5 minutes of harsh braking.

Very comfortable as I had GTE Recaro frame seats put in and the door bin is perfect for a McDonalds shake and yer mobile.

Mine was a 5 door so getting in the back was no problem and there's enough room there I guess. Just a tad too small for nookie!

The standard speakers/stereo needed chucking and after a semi-quality install sounded the plums.

Rear number plate and side vents rattle. I put a chopped up mouse-mat behind the plate and the rattling stopped.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th January, 2001

1987 Vauxhall Astra Merit 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


A cheap little bargain


Head gasket went two weeks after I bought it.

Passenger window doesn't work properly.

Front brake pads and the calliper was jammed.

Other than that, a fast little motor.

General Comments:

Nice car, beats most other 1300cc cars on the road, nice GTE lookalike.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 31st October, 2000

16th Jul 2003, 06:09

Sounds like your clutch was dead.

1987 Vauxhall Astra L 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Fuel line split (easily repaired though).

Vacuum pipe came off (easily fixed).

That's it.

General Comments:

Very sound car and just as good as any new 1.3 car but it looks a hell of a lot better.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd December, 1998

1987 Vauxhall Astra GTE 2.0i 8v petrol from UK and Ireland


Fuel pipe split after 89K.

Central locking intermittent faults.

General Comments:

Good runner, not good on fuel when driven fast, otherwise 10 out of 10 on performance and looks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd December, 1998