I am in love. this car is the best ive owned so far. Ive had 10 in the last ten years, including the new megane and punto but this is simply excellent. The punch from the engine is excellent for a car of the size-the auto box seems to push it on instead of holding it back. i am disabled and it handles my wheelchair no problem and i find it comfortable to drive on long runs. I wanted a car with more punch, a premium feel (anythings better than the megane!) and something that cuts a dash in car park. Ok the astra is a common sight but i still et comments on its looks (design trim in met black) so even as a familar sight it still merits a comment! Highly recommended. so good my wife who hates big cars has sold her "precious" (in her words) 2yr old polo for one. certainly praise indeed!
The car is an 06-plate model and has done 45,000 miles without a hitch.
I disagree with the other review that the engine is noisy - I find it's OK, and has one hell of a kick when the injection kicks in.
I have had a 2004 BMW 318 SE and the build quality comfort and running costs haven't got a patch on an Astra estate - I know, unbelievable, isn't it?
I have just spent two-and-a-half years and 50,000 miles in this car.
It's a very well built, practical and comfortable car. I love the Design trim - half leather, black wood interior and darkened glass - it gives the car a classy feel that the Club model lacks.
The auto wipers are the only irritation - they never seemed to do what I wanted. I had optional cruise control and the DAB 6-disc audio - it is expensive but is a fantastic system.
The handling and ride were good, although the steering was not that sharp on the factory fit Continental tyres, but I replaced them with Michelins and improved things.
I had no reliabilty issues and my dealer Murketts of St.Ives Cambs is superb.
However, the driver's seat in the estate sits higher than the hatch and does not go low enough for my liking, but it is not something that irritates once you are familiar with it.
What did irritate was the diesel engine. I have never liked diesels but for tax reasons I had to have one. The 1.7 CDTi 100 is rough, noisy and struggles to pull the weight of the car along. It feels like an old-school diesel. Fuel economy was also an issue, barely better than my previous 1.6 16v petrol Astra. I do not miss that engine a bit.
My advice: the Astra is a great car, as good as anything in its class. Go for the Design trim and go for the 1.9 CDTi 120 diesel (I wish I had).
I am curently trying a Saab 9-3 diesel (same 1.9 CDTi 120 engine) and it is not as good to drive as the Astra.
I have a 1.6 Design estate with 'Easytronic' transmission as a company car. As it is a company car, I believe that I can be more objective in my evaluation as I do not have to justify the choice in terms of spending my own money.
First thing I must say is that I would rename the transmission 'Jerkatronic' as it is almost impossible to drive smoothly. It has been back to the dealer twice in the first six months from new and they can find nothing wrong.
Secondly I would criticise the drive for remaining in a high gear too long until the engine is starting to labour, and also remaining in low gears until you begin to think it has stuck there. I am a fan of autos, but not this one.
The engine lacks any sort of torque until it is doing well above 3000rpm to the point that it is embarrassing on hills, even when doing gearchanging manually.
Many design flaws are apparent - poor uncomfortable seats, poor visibility with blind spots front and rear, poor ventilation in the car, bad misting up of windscreen, poor layout of controls as if they were designed for the passenger to use instead of the driver! I could go on.
Interior and boot space are disappointing considering the external dimensions.
Any plus points? The build quality is quite good and it has a large glove compartment.
I would have thought that General Motors could have done better with all their resources and experience.
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