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!
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