Right then... where do I begin? Within two weeks of owning the car the rear wiper blade broke, no problem, £7 and fitted myself.
One week after this I was travelling on the M6 and a section of trim that holds the windscreen starts to flap violently. Took it to the Vauxhall garage and ordered a bracket. Arrives within a week at a cost of 89p. Fantastic.
Then things start to go down hill rapidly. Try to start the car after work and the engine cuts out followed by an electronic whirling noise. Manage to jump start the car, but it cuts out again. Phone the AA and they plug it into their computer, but my car isn't found on their system so the problem can't be diagnosed. They recommend it could be the Crank Shaft Distributor Cable? The car gets towed and the part is changed.
Car runs fine for the next two weeks, but on a trip to the Lake District the Engine Management Light comes on followed by poor performance. The performance immediately returns when the light goes out. I don't think anything of it at this point. Then while waiting in traffic, the engine cuts out followed by the same whirling noise. Can't get it started for the life of me and so its towed again. I took it to the Vauxhall garage and they plug it into a computer for £70. I'm told that its the Coil Pack. This is replaced under the warranty and the car runs fantastic for the next week.
But wait!!! This is going too well! It was! Two days ago I was driving home and the Engine Management Light flickers on, hmm? Then as I'm pulling into the drive, the engine cuts out! Followed by that familiar sound. The car is now at Vauxhall where I hope it stays until its fixed.
I researched into the matter myself and found it could be one of four problems, but all of them sound expensive to fix.
Bottom Line! When it works, it works great. 9p per mile fuel economy, good performance and handling. The cabin is well put together with no rattles or bangs. The interior is roomy and more than capable of transporting five average sized adults in comfort.
BUT! When it decides to break down! It does it in style! The Astra is basically run by a fancy computer and if it decides to malfunction then from my experience, nobody, but Vauxhall can fix it because most garages do not have the required technology to diagnose them. This means that break downs can be extremely expensive so be prepared to fork out.