Excellent family value for money motoring combining comfort and sporty performance
Brake discs only replaced once at 95,000 miles.
Sticking hazard switch replaced.
Changed standard steel wheels to tsw 15" alloys, but found constant pulling to right and twitching, apparently quite common due to offset.
Rear wheel bearings changed at about 98,000 miles (rumbling when cruising).
Water pump went at ~ 100,000 miles although not catastrophically.
New battery at about 100,000 miles (must have been the new stereo system!)
Hand brake cable snapped at 105,000 miles.
Radiator leaks at ~ 110,000 miles - Bar's fluid fixed it!
Radiator hose split at 130,000 miles.
Head gasket replaced at 155,000 miles.
Replaced radiator since car still overheating. Also starter motor went same time and was replaced.
2 exhausts during ownership of car.
3 sets of tyres (front tyres wear very fast!)
Rear boot strut detached from body, didn't bother repairing as would have needed welding (cage nut fell out?)
Oil seeping from rocker cover after head gasket change, but didn't replace seal before selling.
Dash board illumination behind heater controls constantly blowing bulbs. Gave up replacing as extremely difficult to change lamps.
Two vertical cracks appeared in plastic trim directly below windscreen interior. Probably due to sun.
Electric windows sticking after ~ 120,000 miles.
Overall a great car, combining good performance, economy, stylish looks, comfort and quiet cruising. Very reliable overall considering that the clutch was never replaced in all its 158,000 miles!! Only a few minor faults as pointed above, will probably continue to cruise along for another 150,000 miles! Excellent engine, good acceleration although front end is rather light and slips easily at pull off.
I put 15 inch alloys on mine (TSW stealth) which looked the part, but for some reason always gave a pulling to the right and randomn "twitching" of the steering. Apparently its because of the offset on certain vauxhalls!
Soft tyres gave better grip, but wear very fast. Steering is light, but a little vague on times.
Excellent brakes (discs all round) although fade quickly. Pulls best at around 3000 rpm in 3rd or 2nd, cruises comfortably at under 3000 rpm in 5th at 70mph. Hard to engage 5th below 40 mph, 4th preferred for country roads and 3rd for town driving.
Very smooth car and quiet considering it's an entry level saloon. Hatchback is obviously great for transporting. Electrics quite easy for adding your own gadgets (as I did!) and cheap to maintain. As mentioned earlier, dash illumination is poor and its almost impossible to replace the bulbs behind the heating controls!
Standard speakers and radio are rather dull, replaced with kenwood vauxhall fit front speakers and tweeters and an mdf rear parcel shelf with 4 way kenwood 6x9's driven from a 100W amp and a kenwood cd player.. then it kicks!!
Metallic finish (red) lasts very well if regularly washed and waxed.. infact mine astonished the buyer when I told him the mileage and age! Few chips started rusting and light corrosion beginning underneath after 7 yrs.
Superb engine, smooth and wants to go on and on and... you get the idea! Needs little maintenance, idling gets a little shaky after 130K and not possible to adjust idling speed as its all computer controlled. Didn't burn hardly any oil though even at 158K and never required topping up between services.
Only "main" problems seem to be cooling related. Radiator seemed inefficient and car often ran hot, fan frequently coming on in traffic queues. Lead eventually to gasket blowing, also water pump failure earlier.
Seats are reasonably comfortable, but lack lumbar support and can get neck and back aching after long distances. Steering column not adjustable so for tall people like myself your arms can ache after a while if the seat is positioned back!
Fuel economy is very good, averaging probably 34 mpg. On the motorway it sips gas and often I could manage over 600 miles on a full tank (60l!)
Runs best in damp, wet weather (smoothest!) and worst in hot dry weather! Doesn't mind the cold either.
A visit to the scrappy also enabled me to add a few luxury features such as illuminated mirror sunvisors from a higher model and map lights... for just a fiver! Sun visor clip broke off at 158,000 miles.
No problems with sunroof which I had converted from manual to electric for just £120 (vauxhall wanted £2K!). Also electrics give you an extra inch of opening in full mode!
Lots of bulb failures though, mainly in dash, brake lights and licence plates. Some water seepage through rear window when closed.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th July, 2002