The Holden Astra in Australia has forever been loved and loathed by its owners over the years as they got older, and was no longer available here after 2009. But as the owner of two Astras, I can tell you that the Holden Astra is one of the best all rounders that money can buy on the second hand car market.
The 2005 AH 5 door hatch CD model with the 1.8litre four banger and 5speed manual that I own currently to begin with is a great looking car. With its sharp lines and dynamic, European design you would struggle to believe that it was designed 10 years ago. The interior is no exception to the exterior with a sea of German quality and soft touch materials being used in a modern design to make a nice environment to sit in. Basic features found on the CD model include 4 airbags(2 front impact, 2 side impact), ABS, cruise control, air conditioning, CD player, power windows and electric mirrors. Not bad for a base model but is considerably lacking the technology found in newer cars.
So what's it like driving the Astra? Well it's 1.8litre, four cylinder engine carried over from the previous Astra cranks out about 100Kw or 135Hp is just enough for the car to accelerate from 0 to 100Km/h in just under 10 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 210Km/h. In the real world the Astra does not struggle to overtake or get up to speed but could do with a bit more power. The 5 speed manual provides solid, smooth gear change. Fuel economy is also excellent achieving 6-7L/100Kms lasting about 600Km between trips to the pump. Steering is direct and provides good feedback while the car handles very nicely with a small amount of body roll that can be expected. The ride comfort is quite good with large bumps being absorbed nicely.
When it comes to reliability, I have not had any major issues with the Holden Astra. With almost 130 000 Kms on the car, the engine is faultless, interior looks like new and the car handles perfectly. Like any car, this is due to the meticulous service history the car had with its previous owner. But beware of the few shortfalls the Astra has over time. The timing belt needs replacement after 80 000Kms, the air conditioning is known to fail after about 10 years and the headlights are notorious for going extremely yellow and hazy. Other than these common issues, the engine itself is faultless and is commonly known for its reliability.
With the return of the Holden Astra very recently and the release of the brand new model in Europe, I am looking forward to having a look at what the Astra can achieve with present technology and if the new car will carry any of the great attributes from the previous models. For those presently considering a second hand car, I urge you to look into the Holden Astra with its sharp looks and dynamic road manners because many people don't consider it, but should