A Note from the Editor: A stock image has been supplied with this review.
I know most will be reviewing a later-model car, but I've had my Astra for nearly 12 years now, and as far as I am concerned it is a very good car. I upgraded from a TS Astra and the AH is a much better car in many respects.
The technology for the time was up there with most cars, and the added bonus was it had a six-stacker CD-player. The handling is sharp and the ride good without feeling like a truck and noticing every bump.
In the 12 years since I bought it, I have spent a total of $600 on it in repairs, and that was a water pump kit. The car still feels bulletproof and has no rattles at all.
I have always had the car serviced when it is due, and am now up to my second timing gear replacement service as the car is 12 years old, although it has only done 120,000km. This service is due every 90,000km or every six years, whichever comes first.
The motor is not a firecracker by any stretch of the imagination, but a 1.8-litre that only produces around 100kW is enough to get it off the mark pretty quickly and to keep up with the traffic. A bit more power would be nice on the open road, but it does most things pretty well anyway.
Also, the four-speed auto is a bit old-hat by modern standards, but we are talking about a 12-year-old car, so that has to be taken into consideration. The cruise control works like a charm.
There are no flash things like today's cars. I'm speaking about auto headlights, sat-nav, USB points, heated seats, heated steering wheel, auto engine cut-out, and all the other things that have a three-letter name that are not needed. Some would say it is not safe because of all those omissions, but 12 years ago a lot more onus was on the driver. It was rated at five stars back then, and it would still be a safe drive without all the other bits and pieces.
As for running costs, I have been averaging just under 6L/100km on the open road, and the computer is reading out at 6.6L/100km overall for the last 80,000km in all conditions. Admittedly, I don't drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but I do live in a large country town in NSW.
So that is what I think of my AH Astra. A bloody good car, and a perfect second car for anyone needing a no-nonsense economical runabout. Treat it right and it will treat you the same way.