1997 Vauxhall Astra LS 1.7 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


An awful engine in what could be a good car


Cylinder head gasket blew at 25,000 miles.

Injection pump timing has been reset on 3 occasions by Vauxhall, and it still isn't right.

Exhaust emissions are awful when the engine is cold. Vauxhall have blamed the Engine Control Unit (ECU), but have not been able to fix the problem.

General Comments:

The bodywork of the car is the one good point. It is immaculate and appears to be hard wearing.

The engine is fragile and despite thorough and regular servicing, it has proved to be very troublesome.

Performance is also very poor, although getting 500 miles per tank of diesel is some comfort.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th September, 2002

1997 Vauxhall Astra Sport 2.0 16v from UK and Ireland


Cheap, fun and sensible buy


Failed alarm ECU at 12,000 miles.

Failed oxygen sensor at 60,000 miles.

Failed suspension bush at 69,000 miles.

General Comments:

The car is discreet in appearance and very easy to live with.

The paintwork appears to absorb dirt which is it difficult to remove.

Long journeys are comfortable and the trip computer indicates average consumption of 37 MPG (almost all use is motorway).

Insurance costs are a nightmare even with lots of no-claims bonus.

This car has been unusual in that so far it hasn't suffered from the Vauxhall curse of useless engine electronics.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th September, 2002

1997 Vauxhall Astra CDX 1.6i 16v from UK and Ireland


Economy, performance and practicality


Nothing, as yet (fingers crossed!), although the previous owner informs me that a slipped cam belt resulted in major engine damage requiring in excess of £2,000 of repairs.

General Comments:

This car was an upgrade from my base-model Astra 1.4i, and was worth every penny.

Both on the motorway and around town it has excellent economy combined with exceptional performance for a medium-sized car.

Beautiful interior and addition of factory CD player, air con and sunroof are welcomed.

Lots of passenger room, both front and rear. Plenty of load space - especially with rear seats folded down.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st August, 2002

1997 Vauxhall Astra Artic 1.6 16v from UK and Ireland


Good, well equipped, but nothing special


Belt tensioner for the air conditioning compressor. Would have been under Network Q warranty, but I left it too late, got 10% discount from the dealer though.

General Comments:

Generally good, though it is very prone to stone chipping.

Lots of extras and nice touches in the cabin.

The engine is reliable, but needs to be driven hard to get any performance from it, if you pick the wrong gear it tends to crawl round corners and up hills.

Very comfortable, just completed 700 miles in 2 days with no problems.

Alloy wheels make the steering heavier then it would be otherwise, but I prefer this personally. Fat tyres really let you fly through some corners, but the chassis isn't really up to sporty driving.

Air con is a nice extra.

Economy is good at around 38-40mpg on motorways.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2001

26th Apr 2003, 09:14

A few months... within a week? nice one.

1997 Vauxhall Astra GSi 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


A rare performance car


The only problems that I have had are the 02 sensor has packed in, it measures the oxygen going to the cat.

I also blew the gear box, but the new one is pretty strong.

General Comments:

If I had the choice I would pick the older 16v engine over the newer Ecotec version. You get more performance and less problems. Still not to underate this car though, it packs a lot of punch and will beat a lot of other "performance cars!"

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th January, 2001

1997 Vauxhall Astra Merit 1.4i from UK and Ireland


Not fast, but competent


Not a lot, battery kept draining after a week, traced to the boot light staying on (no cost, removed bulb)!

Erm, that's it so far!

Doesn't feel like it's going to fall apart at the first sign of winter either.

General Comments:

Good solid car, well built with an OK spec for near the bottom of the model range.

Enough go round town, a bit breathless on the motorway but keeps up a good turn of speed - it's getting there that takes an age!

Can't comment on main dealers cos I use an independent garage I know & trust, or I do the work myself.

Car looks good with a few extras added (16v Sport alloys, beasting aerial etc).

I can't see why people moan about the 1.4 mk3 Astra being slow, it ain't light but it's very cheap to run. If you want a fast car buy something else!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th December, 2000