The 2005 Holden Astra CDX AH really is worth its bang considering it's 13 years old. I bought the Astra as my first car when I moved interstate and picked her up with 182,000km for $5600. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just a car that was in reasonable condition, and anything but the Toyota Echo or the Holden Barina.
Once I went for a test drive and got my hands on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, that was it. I do cop a bit of flak from my car enthusiast mates for liking my Astra, and I’m sure that will continue until I upgrade or the car dies. I’m just under 210,000km and there’s plenty of life and torment left.
My favourite thing about my car is the take-off and ability to build speed quickly. The 1.8-litre engine and four-speed cycles through the gears seamlessly and makes for a really comfortable drive. There is a bit of cabin noise when on an unsealed road, but otherwise a very low level of driving noise. The fuel economy is reasonable and I can get anywhere between 380–420km out of a tank in a city environment.
My car does have a bad reputation for engine issues, and I have had to replace the radiator, thermostat and housing when I had a coolant leak. That was about 24 months ago and it hasn’t skipped a beat since (even though I am guilty of stretching the services out over a year).
The tech in the vehicle was good at the time with steering wheel controls, cruise control and a six-stack CD player with six surround speakers (four front and two rear). Even with the ability to have six CDs to choose from, I do find myself yearning for any form of iPhone connectivity. In my model, I’m unable to change the stereo to one with phone or AUX functions as the whole unit would need to be taken off – it’s not worth the hassle.
Certain design aspects keep me wondering – for example, the lack of centre console and how the cupholder is in the glovebox. It’s completely inaccessible when driving and gets in the way of passengers. It’s more of an afterthought than part of the actual interior design of the vehicle. A fault that I have noticed on many AH Astras is the side mirror covers seem to come off easily, and you can’t buy the cover separately because they come as one assembly. Both of mine have gone missing, leaving my wiring exposed to the elements. However, they still work.
All that aside, I truly do love my car. I’m not sure I’d buy another one from the same year, but if the new Astra can give me the same joy as the old one, I’d buy one tomorrow.
I’d recommend buying this as a first car or downgrade car, but just make sure to get the full service history and go for the mid- to high-range model (CDX, CDXi, SRI) for the best experience possible.