1993 Vauxhall Astra Si 1.4 from UK and Ireland


On start up blue smoke comes out the exhaust.

Oil leaking out the cam shaft housing gasket (not the head gasket or rocker).

Crack in the windscreen.

There's a hole in middle box of the exhaust.

Drinks so much petrol.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st January, 2009

1993 Vauxhall Astra Expression 1.4 from UK and Ireland


Short of swearing, I can't convey my true feelings towards this car


Sticky handbrake leads to problems if left on a slope, or for more than a couple of days.

Headlining material sagged so had to be removed.

Slipping alternator belt problem, has been tightened numerous times, which has accelerated wear on the alternator bearings.

Distributor died so engine wouldn't start.

Increasingly annoying starting issues, sometimes starts then abruptly stops or tries to with a brief flash of the EM light.

Engine knocks badly after a day or two without being run, I'm no mechanic, but suspect it's big end related.

Front suspension knocks, suspect front suspension mount bushes.

Gearbox a pain going into first and sometimes doesn't like 3rd either. Or reverse come to think of it, often needs double de-clutching.

Rear wiper doesn't always work.

Neither does the rear washer jet.

A strange sound on start up from cold has developed, sounds like a belt (similar sound to a supercharger) touching something, but the garage claim to find nothing wrong.

Latest problem is an ongoing issue with an intermittent misfire that the garage are unable (or unwilling) to diagnose correctly, sometimes it'll be fine for a couple of days and start again. The problem is getting worse so hopefully it'll get bad enough for them to find it soon.

General Comments:

Service history is everything with these cars. Prior to my sisters (trouble free) period of ownership it had none, it's all telling now at it's still fairly young mileage.

The engine can be nippy at times; being an 8 valve, if you get it at about 2500rpm in 2nd, you can get a short (I mean very short) burst of speed that makes you feel like you are in a more powerful car. It's not as economical as it could be though.

Interior is horrible, in mint condition still after all these years, but it's just so drab it's unreal. I'm 6' 4" and fit in surprisingly well, though due to lack of ability to move the steering wheel, I can't have the seat all the way back, as my knees hit the wheel.

Handling wise there's not a lot to say, it used to be OK, but things have deteriorated, it makes small bumps in the road feel like mountains. It's not meant to be good though, it's a 1.4 after all, and purely designed for slow driving.

As you can see it's not been very reliable, my sister serviced it regularly at the local garage, but there was nothing prior to that which means potentially 40odd thousand miles of poor service history, or maybe even none. Either way, it was reliable for her, but not me, guess I've been really unlucky.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th December, 2007

21st Aug 2009, 12:00

I purchased an Astra Expression 1.4 from new £8400 in 1997. I have it serviced once a year and a half yearly check over. It has never broken down on me. The only replacement has been the radiator, tyres and exhaust. There is only one little bit of rust where a stone has chipped. It drives lovely on the motorway and in traffic, is very comfortable and spacious. It was never a car for 'boy racers', the torque would not allow that. I am anticipating a few years life left in her yet!

1993 Vauxhall Astra California 1.4 from UK and Ireland


If economy and reliability are more important than image and performance, then consider an Astra


Water pump failed at 70,000 miles.

Lambda (oxygen) sensor failed at 70,000 miles.

ECU had intermittent fault at 75,000 miles.

General Comments:

After selling my Golf TDI 16 months ago, I bought the Astra with the intention of keeping it for just a couple of weeks to get me down to Cornwall and back for my holiday, then resell it once I'd replaced the VW.

Since that time I've clocked up nearly 35,000 miles and it's never let me down, although it had a spate of faults that caused erratic idling and acceleration until I worked out what the cause was.

This car has cost me less to run (including buying 5 tyres, water pump, cam belt, brake pads and oxygen sensor) than a single major service on the Golf would have done, and it's still worth more than I paid for it.

The bodywork has kept amazingly well, and there's no rust even where it's stone chipped.

It averages over 45 mpg and is comfortable enough to undertake journeys of 250+ miles with ease.

As a 1.4 single point injection engine, it has very poor acceleration, but once wound up will cruise happily all day at or well above the legal limit!

Handling on wet roads requires extreme care - it's like the front end is on ice at times.

Part are incredibly cheap and mostly easy to fit, and there's a ready supplier of 2nd hand bits from the breakers yard. E. G a replacement ECU for a tenner.

There's no power steering, ABS, electric windows, trip computer, aircon or any other goodies, but then on a car this age it's just less to go wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th November, 2007