1993 Vauxhall Astra Merit 1.4i petrol from UK and Ireland


Cheap to run and reliable


My head gasket went at 90k.

Gearbox oil seal needed replacing at 100k.

General Comments:

With the exception of a few faults, this car has been incredibly reliable and extremely economical. I have easily been able to get 450 miles from a full tank of fuel (about £38 to fill).

The car has always started every time and has never broken down.

The only complaint I do have with the Astra is that the windscreen can be very difficult to clear condensation on rainy/cold days.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2004

1993 Vauxhall Astra California 1.4 Hi-Torq petrol from UK and Ireland


Great all-rounder


Nothing much in four years.

2000 - Leak from rocket cover gasket. Cheap fix.

2002 - Head Gasket blew in. Cost less than £100 to fix.

2003 - Warped brake discs caused the car's occupants to recreate the final scene from Wayne's World every time the brakes were applied.

2003 - Faulty lambda sensor caused rough running and high emissions. Replaced for £30.

Except the above items the rest is just wear and tear.

General Comments:

Bought as a temporary car in January 2000 after my rubbishy 1991 Escort LX Estate started to drop to bits (see review "Crude, unreliable junk"), this car has far exceeded all expectations. It is by far the most reliable car I have ever owned, despite the engine maladies.

The best thing about this car is the interior. It is remarkably well finished for a car designed 12 years ago, and very comfortable. The engine, depsite sounding wheezy and unrefined around town, is silent on the motorway at 70.

Performance is more than acceptable, even if it is a little sluggish getting from 50-70. The multi-point injection model (82 bhp) I hear is much faster than my SPI model (60 bhp). It does feel much quicker than it's woeful power output suggests though, and the Hi-Torq engine keeps it going up hills with ease.

I still have this brilliant car today after 4 years. It is so easy to own that I don't want to sell it, even if it is spectactularly dull to drive.

And that is another point. The steering is so vague and unresponsive that after the Escort, which itself was hardly a go-kart, the Astra felt as though it had a flat tyre. The suspension is badly set up and the car rolls and pitches into bends. The ride isn't especially comfortable either.

However, if you are undemanding and don't like driving, then this is the car for you. If you like driving, buy a Peugeot 306 or a post '95 Escort.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th December, 2003

1993 Vauxhall Astra LS 1.7 TD with the Isuzu engine from UK and Ireland


It is probably OK between 0-70000mile. Above that expect lots of problems with the engine


First the radiator went. This was due to excess pressure in the cooling system, which may been caused as the result of a crack either in the engine block/head or somewhere else.

The failure of the redactor resulted in overheating which probably cracked the head that resulted in lots of water loss (even after the replacing of the radiator)

I changed the head, but the engine did not run properly and continued to have too much pressure in the cooling system and continued to loose water. The high pressure also resulted in busting of the heater grille.

I decided to change the engine with another Isuzu out of a 94/5 1.7 Cavalier TD (which has 78000 on its clock) but after 15000 miles this engine also started to loose water with high pressure in the cooling system.

General Comments:

If the engine is good then this is a good runner otherwise stay away from it.

I think that the engine and the head is not very strong and the excess pressure results in metal fatigue/failure.

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

Review Date: 22nd November, 2003

5th May 2008, 13:14

Some times the pressure release cap on the rad header tank sticks to solve this problem just replace the cap. I had the same problem and that solved it for me now the car does not miss a beat.

26th Feb 2009, 19:01

I own a 93 Astra LS Turbo Diesel 1.7 (Isuzu engine). I've put 15,000 miles on it since I bought it just over a year ago as I travel between Liverpool and London quite frequently. The car had been well looked after by the 2 previous owners and I look after it too. I get approx. 65 mpg (I never go over 70 mph) and the engine is like new with all original parts (except for the starter motor, belts and a few other incidentals). Runs smooth, no knocks, never gets too hot, plenty of power. Believe me, I've had plenty of cars and pound for pound I never owned a better one--much less a better engine... Then again, it might be early days, the engine's only done 218500 miles!!!