1995 Vauxhall Astra Merit Estate 1.7 diesel from UK and Ireland


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!

1995 Vauxhall Astra HI-TORQUE 1.4 from UK and Ireland


Very reliable and cheap. Good size = Top notch


Clutch cable snapped at 166762. 50000 miles on one clutch cable isn't bad.

Nothing else. Runs like a dream.

General Comments:

The car is a very solid car with a lot miles for a petrol. It goes to show that a car will go forever if you treat it right and service it properly.

167000 miles now, and the engine sounds sweet as a nut.

When I got the car, I was a bit weary about putting my footdown because of the high mileage, but it loves it.

There in no wear on any of the seats at all, all look very well looked after.

This car is the first Vauxhall I have had, and is the best car I've had, but then I am only 19.

Insurance isn't too expensive.

The engine isn't too quick, but does the job when driving it around towns and on motorways. I went to the Lakes not too long ago, and managed to get up Hardknott pass, which is considered to be the steepest road in England. My mate's Punto had to go back down and take the long route.

Brakes are very good when fully bedded in, and will stop you in good time.

Road noise is as it should be for a medium sized hatchback. It has loads of room inside - plenty for 4 people on a long journey, and a massive boot for all your lasses shopping.

The engine produced 86bhp when brand new with the hi torque engine, but there is a normal 60bhp engine which I can imagine to be very sluggish. The car won't still have 86bhp now all the miles have been put on, but I would imagine it will be still 75-80bhp.

The dashboard is very solid with no rattles at all. The engine is very solid and with no leaks or anything. The bodywork has bits of rust on now, but not very noticeable.

All in all, if you're after a cheap runaround, then this is the one for you. This has done 167000 miles and is a veteran of the roads, but is more reliable then my mate's new Puntos and Saxos. I will hold on to this car for a long while now.

I hope that this review will help you decide.


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 2006

9th Oct 2009, 05:51

We love our Astra, bought as a stand in when our car was written off - but it is so good we wouldn't dream of changing it now - not even with the government scrappage scheme. It's a 1996 Merit hi-torque. It's the most comfortable. easy to drive car we've ever had and we've had a few as we are in our 70's now!!! - Don and Mary Capes.

9th Oct 2009, 17:48

I had an Astra MK3 with the 1.4 60 bhp single point injection engine, and yes it is sluggish. So what's the difference with the 1.4 high torque to get 86 bhp? Does it have multipoint injection?

11th Oct 2009, 11:14

This has to be a wind up. Vauxhall Astra 'high torque'. If that's the case, I have a Ford Fiesta insane acceleration!