I traded-in my much loved VE SS Commodore and bought the RS Astra. While there is a huge difference in power output, I absolutely love the Astra, especially in Sports mode. Power-to-weight ratio certainly makes up for the difference.
We bought the SS for the long trips from north Queensland to NSW. And now the Astra is more than capable of handling these long trips.
The creature comforts and technology in this car are way beyond anything I've ever had before. A month-and-a-half on, I'm still learning all the gadgetry this car has to offer. With four of us in the car, there's plenty of room in the cabin and more than enough space in the boot for four suitcases.
Going from a big Aussie V8 (Chev, if you want to get technical) to a turbo 1.5 was a bit of a concern at first, but I haven't looked back. I love the power, torque and nimbleness of my Astra. The SS and the Astra are chalk and cheese when it comes to fuel economy, but that's to be expected.
I love the interior trim, although the glossy finish on parts of the dash is a bit of pain to keep clean, with dust and dirt particles showing up very easily.
I'm loving the LED driving lights, that are adjustable to my preference, although the lack of fog lamps is a bit of a disappointment. And the height of the door inside the cabin was a minor issue at first. I drive with my elbow on the top of the door, but I'm slowly getting used to it now.
Having an Android phone, I find the connectivity great. I love the fact I can just say, "I'm hungry... need fuel... find hotel," and it's there in front of me to choose what I want. What a time to be alive!
My wife is the primary driver of the Astra, while I drive a Mazda 3 as my daily. The clutch feel is ideal for both of us in the Astra. The Mazda was, and still is after six years, a little different to master.
Pros and Cons? The finish and fitment is great, and I love the interior finish. I love the soft feel to the dash, far better than the hard plastic look and feel of other brands. I love the cabin room as well as the illumination of the dash at night. I love the light sensitivity of the rear vision mirror, although the vision through it is a little confined. On the downside, torque steer under hard acceleration is present; it's there and something I just have to get used to.
Overall, I love our Astra. Would I recommend it to someone thinking of buying a small (hot hatch/sedan)? Yes. Yes, I would. It's and awesome little car, with so much to offer. I got five-year warranty and five-year road side assist, so to me, that's five years of peace of mind motoring with fixed price servicing. I could not be happier.