2002 Vauxhall Astra Bertone Coupe 1.8 16v from UK and Ireland
Good value for money, good running costs, but not without it's faults
Hardly a fault of the car but the back wheel had seized on when I had a puncture.
Engine is quite noisy on idle at operating temperature, sounds as if the exhaust is blowing however I have had this checked. Quite embarrassing as it sounds like a quiet diesel on idle, there is a correct amount of oil in the system as well.
Exhaust back box corrodes quite badly and is unsightly.
The car has recently developed a coolant leak which I cannot find the cause of. Quite bad for only 40,000 miles. It never overheats however and it's only over the course of a few weeks.
More concerning however is that the car smells rife of petrol when you reach 1/4 of a tank, especially in the boot.
Electric windows often struggle to rise and make quite a lot of noise when doing so.
Overall I am pleased with this car.
Insurance is very reasonable at group 9 for the performance. 0-60 is quoted at 8.6 seconds thanks to the close ratio gearbox, this is a very nippy car.
However, the downside of this is that it doesn't make for a very refined motorway cruiser, it could really do with a sixth gear. You'll be doing just over 3000 rpm at 70mph, the same as what my old 1.4 Rover did.
The power delivery is as sweet as a nut, and loves revs whilst not sacrificing low down torque. Best gears are second and third for this.
The gearbox and clutch combination could be better, it's often quite difficult to get the change nice and smooth due to a notchy gear change and quite a noticeable clutch slap. There is also a noticeable amount of lag with the electronic throttle which makes for some rather annoying drive-line shunt. I've been told this is normal.
Build quality is solid, some areas of the interior feel a little cheap and the roof sounds quite tinny above the headlining, but overall better than the MKIV Golf I had previously in this respect. Driver's seat squeaks quite badly and there's only the odd rattle from the dashboard, both common faults.
The car handles excellently whilst not being overly crashy over bumps. Traction control is a con though, it's merely a light that tells you your wheels are spinning.
Practicality could be better, there is plenty of leg room for rear occupants and it's easy to get comfortable in the driver's seat, however the boot opening is quite narrow as is the opening when the seats fold flat; if you wanted practicality though you should have bought an estate.
Overall, this was easily the best car I could afford within my budget and for insurance costs. The styling is excellent and can only be improved with some bigger alloy wheels and the spoiler. Dealer fit Irmscher kits are not to my taste but in the right colour and nice alloys can look good. This is a stylish, well made and affordable car, just watch out for the above faults.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 27th August, 2008