1995 Vauxhall Astra 1.8 Cesaro 1.8 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Could have been great if it was reliable


Where do I start?! Even though it was serviced at a dealer in line with the service schedule, in the 18 months or so I had the car, it cost me more in repairs (not including servicing!) than my previous 3 cars put together.

First of all, about 3 months after I bought it second hand (with full dealer service history) the alternator required replacing. 9000 miles later, the water pump was replaced at a main dealer. A week after that, the cylinder head gasket blew, leaving me stranded with an overheating engine. The main dealer was not the slightest bit interested in the fact that the car had just had work done by them on the cooling system.

About 6 months later, one of the timing belt pulleys snapped, leaving me with a very broken engine. I must admit, it's a bit worrying when the AA turn up to fix your car, they hear the engine and the first thing they say is "Where do you want to be towed?". Needless to say, this repair did not go to the main dealer.

Apart from these major faults, there were lots of "niggly" problems - hazard warning switch that wouldn't switch off, rear wiper that parked itself at a random position on the rear windscreen every time it was switched off, electric aerial that refused to stow itself away properly unless you cleaned it weekly, bulbs blowing in rear lamps and number plate almost every month. Oh, yes, one day the rear view mirror just fell off the windscreen! At traffic lights, sometimes the engine would just rev itself, or jump from ticking over at about 900 rpm to 2000rpm, seemingly at random. Electric windows would sometimes not work on "one push up/down"

Just as I was about to sell it, and thought the worst was over, the battery packed in. If there was ever a "Monday Morning" car, this was it!

General Comments:

Styling almost dull, but the alloy wheels, front fog lights and subtle roof spoiler made the difference between "boring blandmobile" and "wolf in sheeps clothing". Was very quick and handled great. Very good on motorways or on country lanes. Gearbox a bit notchy sometimes. Very quick accelerating from the lights, although very easy to spin the wheels in the wet!

Good 6 speaker stereo, and I particularly liked the large stereo/clock display which was separate from the radio itself. Dashboard layout great, with the exception of the "where the hell is it?" fog-light switches. But I just couldn't get properly comfortable when in stop-start traffic - the clutch was just too high up & the pedals were too high off the floor.

Headlights gave out so little light they were almost for "ornamental purposes only"

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th May, 2002

17th May 2002, 04:34

I had the same problem with the hazard lights button not turning off on a Mk 3 Astra. If you wedge a 5p coin down the side of the button (make sure you can still get it out though) it should be sorted.

1995 Vauxhall Astra Sport 1.6 16v from UK and Ireland


A mediocre car which has been an expensive disappointment


Very high idle speed (unresolved).

Crank timing sensor.

V-belt tensioner.

Water pump.

Hazard light switch.

General Comments:

The car keeps its looks and the paint quality remains good.

Interior is also hard-wearing and there have been no rattles.

Acceleration is slow below 3000rpm and then it seems to get going.

All round the performance is quite good for a 1600, but the engine is blighted by its useless control systems. The only engine faults that occur are with the sensors themselves. When a timing sensor went wrong, the car once stalled at 60mph and I lost the servo assisted braking and power steering.

The car has suffered on and off for about a year with an engine idle speed which can reach up to 3000rpm, making gear changes and even braking difficult. The first 'repair' was a fuel line flush which seemed to work for a week or two. Next I was told the idle motor was faulty and the car was again in the garage. However, the intermittent fault manifested itself after the work was done, and the next diagnosis was air leaks around the inlet manifold gaskets. This was not cheap to resolve, but did manage to keep the car error-free for about 2 months. My annoyance is now complete as the fault has returned again. I am at a loss to know what to do next.

However, I reserve the worst of my criticism for my local main dealer and Master-Fit center. Details of what you want do not get further than reception, simple faults have been missed despite being pointed out, other items which required no attention have been worked on, courtesy cars are always out of the question, and regular custom counts for nothing. The service manager is unfriendly and routinely tries to blind people with inaccurate technical 'science'. After many bad experiences I'm obviously becoming easy money and have resolved not to visit the place again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th April, 2001

6th Feb 2003, 07:44

My local Vauxhall dealer is great, they aren't all bad. There are plenty of Vauxhall dealers, so there must be another one reasonably close to you to try.