A powerful machine and full of surprises
Nothing actually failed. I've had to replace the front discs and pads (£46, but not from Vauxhall), and 2 new tyres, but that's just general wear.
My previous car was a 1.3 mk2 Astra so I thought the car was just a faster version, but I was wrong. You give it just a little bit of power and it begins to take off down the road.
Don't assume it will zap past an M3 with no trouble, it won't, however it will keep up with some very expensive cars like Impreza's, BMW 328's and the like. 0-60 ranges from 7.4 to 6.9 depending how 'worn' it is.
The suspension is pretty bad, but that's normally sorted very well for less than £500.
Modifications for the engine are huge, exhausts are normally a good idea purely because a new Vauxhall one is £500 (or so I've been told). Some people take the engine out and put the Turbo engine from the Cavalier/Calibra in and that improves the speed a lot. Some go for throttle bodies, but whatever you would like to do the clutch and gearbox should take it up to about 200bhp (157bhp at standard).
They are very cheap at the moment, but a lot have been thrashed so if you are looking for a good example, then make sure the engine is in good nick and that the cambelt has been changed recently (if not, change it). These rust less than most Astra's, but look out for any. I've known one engine to do 185,000 motorway miles without a rebuild and it's still pulling strong, so don't be put off by a high mileage.
The real killer though is the insurance (group 16) but then... isn't it always?
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th September, 2001