Used Vauxhall Astra Estate 1998 - 2004 review

Category: Estate car

A cost-effective, if unexciting, way to move your bits and bobs here and there

Vauxhall Astra Estate (98 - 04)
  • Vauxhall Astra Estate (98 - 04)
  • Vauxhall Astra Estate (98 - 04)
Used Vauxhall Astra Estate 1998 - 2004 review
Star rating

What's the used Vauxhall Astra estate like?

You wouldn't go cruising for wolf whistles in this Astra estate, but if it's a cheap load carrier you're after, it isn't bad.

Although the boot isn't as big as the Ford Focus's (which certainly isn't the class-leader, either), it's not far off. However, what's more of a problem is that the loadbay isn't quite as usable as the Ford's, with some wheelarch and suspension intrusion. However, both the loading height and width are respectable.


A cost-effective, if unexciting, way to move your bits and bobs here and there

  • A comfortable and cheap way to transport a reasonable amount of gear
  • It's tight in the cabin and all models lack basic safety kit

On the road, the Vauxhall again falls a little short of the Focus - but only a little, and that's better than most. If you want it to be entertaining, the Astra can deliver, and it's also a comfortable companion on a long motorway journey, too.

More disappointing is the cabin: its styling is functional rather than funky, and it'll be almost fully filled by four people. Five adults only fit at a pinch.

Ownership cost

What used Vauxhall Astra estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Vauxhall Astra estate?

Huge depreciation from new is great for used car buyers and means the Astra estate can be bought for an absolute song.

Most running costs should keep you humming along happily, too. Our favourite 1.6 delivers excellent economy and a nice, low group 5 insurance rating.

There's a slightly bigger than expected jump up in insurance with the 1.8, but fuel consumption is still good. Budget carefully with the 2.2, though, as it has a bit of a thirst and hefty insurance costs. Economy on the early diesel models is disappointing, but the later CDTi cars are much better and insurance costs for all of them are par for the course.

Maintenance is the only real slight problem. While an Astra might be cheaper to buy than a Focus, servicing can be higher. Typical repair bills are also a little up on the average, mainly down to the cost of parts.

Our recommendations

Which used Vauxhall Astra estate should I buy?

The first rule of Astra buying is: take your time picking a car, and be choosey - Astras are available everywhere.

There's also a wealth of engines and trims to wade through, so forget the entry-level 1.4 and eight-valve 1.6 petrols straight away. We'd also avoid the stone-age 1.7 diesels and the 2.0Di.

That leaves the 1.6 16v (a really good all-rounder, and the best balance of price and performance), the nippy 1.8, or super-quick 143bhp 2.2 (from June 2002 on) if you want a petrol model. The 2.0 DTi and later CDTi are the best of a relatively poor bunch of diesels.

In terms of equipment, the newer the model you buy, the more it's likely to get, because, as with engines, improvements were made over the years. Envoys have virtually nothing, LSs are reasonably well catered for, but you'll need a Club or Comfort if you want to be sure of getting air-conditioning.

CD and CDX add more toys, and were available up to 2001. Even more highly specified Elegance cars took their place in 2002.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Vauxhall Astra estate?