1995 Vauxhall Astra Reviews

1995 Vauxhall Astra Merit Estate 1.4 hi-torque from UK and Ireland

Model year1995
Year of manufacture1995
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2013
Engine and transmission 1.4 hi-torque Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.5 / 10
Distance when acquired61000 miles
Most recent distance128000 miles




When I first got the car, it had been sitting for 4 years, so it needed brake disks/pads, drums/shoes, tires and a petrol tank (condensation had rotten the seam).

At about 70k, it needed a near side front suspension rebuild (my fault from hitting a very big pothole; burst the top mount and bent things that shouldn't have been).

Exhausts at 80k, 110k and a new one needed now (not bad considering they were cheap ones from Eurocarparts).

Front top mounts, shocks, springs, wishbones and track rod ends seem to need to be replaced every 20k or so (not all at the same time mind you!).

Off side suspension rebuild about 100k (top mount bearing failure).

Coolant temp sensor at 100k.

Clutch cable at 110k.

Rear springs at 150k.

As well as usual servicing, including timing belts at 70k and 110k.

I thought it had finally had it at about 120k, when I drove it through a flood and it spluttered to a halt. The recovery guy said it was guffed (no spark, electrics fried), and mechanics confirmed this, quoting 300 quid to sort it! But after leaving it for two days (getting scrap quotes), I had to go and get the VIN number, and when doing this, I decided to try starting it... and after a bit of turning and a lot of grey fugg, it fired back into life (a bit splutterly at first, but a run round the bypass sorted this)...

After this, I discovered the air filter box to air box hose was split, and the distributor moisture resistor cap was split too... so changed all that and gave it a new rotor arm, dizzy cap and HT leads... runs like new again :-)

And that's it.... not bad considering it cost nothing to begin with, and has been used for everything from a weekend camping trip for 5 adults (so much weight that the springs kept "maxing" out on the bumps!!) to helping various people move house and runs to the dump!

General Comments:

A fab car. I plan to run it into the ground!

It handles a bit like a bowl of rice pudding, but gets you to where you need to be, and without much fuss.

On the motorway it does take a bit to get up to speed, but once up there it can hold its own with the BMW and Audi brigade (but it probably won't get you the fastest time round the Nurburgring!!) I did get it to just over a ton once, but then someone in an AMG Merc went flying past me, which put a bit of a damper on it...

Over the years I've has it, it's had its fair share of dunts. Hit the back of a Ford Focus 4 days after getting it, got it straightened out and all OK, then coach lined a Ford Focus with it in '09 (other driver was on the wrong side of the road, but I was at a give way!). My cousin also reversed it into a Ford Focus, and then on the way to work (a single track road) someone in a Ford Galaxy skidded on ice and clipped the side of it (2.5k damage to their car, 500 to mine) and it all seems OK still; a solid wee car!!

It'll take any furniture you put into it with ease (within reason), like a 6 foot dining room table, a 3 seat sofa bed, double mattresses etc (the tailgate has needed tied down on those occasions).

It gets cleaned twice a year, at the end of winter to get all the salt and muck off it, and at the end of summer to get all the dust out of it, and now and then has a good T-cut and polish (which brings it up like new)... and being white it hides any scratches well!

Overall, if you want a bargain car that'll run well and not really ever let you down, the Astra is the way to go!

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

Review Date: 9th February, 2013

1995 Vauxhall Astra Merit Estate 1.7 diesel from UK and Ireland

Model year1995
Year of manufacture1995
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.7 diesel Manual
Performance marks 2 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired115000 miles
Most recent distance125000 miles
Previous carFord Orion


Basic, slow, reliable load lugger


Dodgy electrics - a bad earth caused by a previous owner's bodge when he changed the rear tailgate. Not really a fault of the car itself.

Front right wheel bearing needed replacing.

Front right track rod end boot cracked (replacement required for MOT).

General Comments:

Bought this car as we needed a large, cheap vehicle in a hurry for a holiday. It had to be able to carry 2 adults, 3 kids, a dog and all of our luggage for a week away. Diesel would be a bonus and it had to be cheap. Cosmetic condition was deemed unimportant.

It met all of these requirements. It had loads of boot space for the dog and the luggage. It cost £350 and had 6 month's MOT. The previous owner claimed to have replaced the front suspension, the exhaust (the back box certainly looked new though it was blowing at the manifold), the brake pipes and the fuel tank. He'd also changed the tailgate as he'd managed to break the rear window - unfortunately while the car was blue, the tailgate was now white.

Okay so it looked ugly. You couldn't see that from the driver's seat and nobody was ever going to steal the thing!

It did the job lugging us, the kids and the dog all over Scotland for a summer with few real problems. The boot's huge and the roof rails (fitted as standard) came in handy transporting large fence panels home from B&Q.

Being non turbo, it's a slow car (it may seem slower to me as I usually ride a 900cc motorbike and have always owned petrol cars before). It reminded me of driving an old series 3 landrover in many ways! It returns good economy, getting 450+ miles a tankful (about 1 mile per litre, whatever that is in mpg). It's basic (no electric windows, power steering or central locking) though arguably that's less to go wrong. It's noisy, smoky and upsets the neighbours too, which wins it plus points in my book! Scrap yards are full of astras which makes finding parts cheap and easy.

MOT time came and it needed a new windscreen, track rod ends and a few minor bits of work. Given the cost of all of this I've decided to get rid of the car and buy a slightly less 'cosmetically challenged' replacement. I would however happily go for an astra estate again.

As one of my (bmw driving) colleagues commented when I pulled up at work in it, "That looks like a great festival car!".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th October, 2006

31st Dec 2006, 15:43

What a fantastic summary and brilliant writing!

Average review marks: 7.1 / 10, based on 34 reviews