Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
sayerbloke

'51' plate Astra coupe 2.2i owners review

19 posts in this topic

I've done nearly 1,000 miles in it now, so probably about time for a brief review :).

It's a '51' plate car, and has done 38k miles. I bought it back at the start of September and paid about £3,750 for it.

Exterior

Maybe not to everyone's tastes, but I've always liked the styling of the Astra coupe. I generally prefer the shape of "a coupe" to "a hatchback" and that's definitely the case with mk4 Astras. I think it's well proportioned, which isn't usually the case when a hatchback later gets made into a saloon or coupe. Panel gaps are consistent and paint quality looks fine. I'm not sure it'd have been my first choice of colour, but under some conditions it looks more grey/blue than silver, which is preferable :).

Interior

Predictably plasticy, but seems hard-wearing enough. Laid out pretty well, all the controls where you expect them to be and fall to hand easily enough. Not exactly rewarding to use, but no lateral play in the switchgear and nothing feels like it's about to fall off. I've been in Vauxhalls in the past where the dot-matrix screen has started to fail, dots missing, etc, but it's fine in this. First car I've ever owned with an outside air temperature readout on the dash, in fact :). After the ice-cold A/C in the Camaro, the Astra's AirCon is pretty ineffectual, so that might need re-gassing before next summer. The instruments are all clear and easy to read, though I have noticed that if you park the car on a kerb or slope for any length of time, the next time you start it up, the fuel gauge reads about 1/8th of a tank lower and needs a few miles/minutes to re-adjust once you start moving. Mind you, after the Camaro with the fuel gauge that moved around under acceleration, braking or cornering, I can live with that! :). The seats offer a lot of side support and are comfortable enough when on a longer journey, a definite improvement over the Mk3 Astra I used to own, though not quite as good as the BMW or Camaro's. The driver's side seat creaks a bit going over speed bumps, but that's the only interior rattle I've heard so far. It has plenty of legroom front and back and has a decent sized boot.

What's it like to drive?

Pretty good, really :). Most important thing first, it has a manual gearbox, which was pretty much the only criteria I wasn't going to compromise over when I started looking for a new car. Taking it through the gears feels better than most of the more "normal" cars that I've driven, though it's not the easiest car to drive smoothly.

On paper, it takes about the same time to get from 0 to 60mph as the Camaro, but that's where the similarities end. The Astra has narrower powerband with a very definite "step" around 3k rpm where it suddenly wakes up and then it feels pretty brisk. You have to use the gears more if looking to exploit that, but that's not a problem because I don't mind changing gear :). It'd be nice if the power started a bit lower down the revband or there was more of it, but I've thought that about everything I've driven on the road :grin:.

Actually, I say that, I'm not sure if extra power would be all that desirable because it is FWD and whilst it can cope with the amount that it's got, I'm not sure how much more would be useable in the real world. I've only taken it on one decent twisty road around here on a dry day and it seems to grip in the corners pretty well, but I do miss RWD. The steering is nicely weighted, the brakes are alright, the engine noise isn't too intrusive, the suspension does the job. No real complaints :). It also costs less to run, maintain and insure than my last couple of cars. I haven't really checked fuel economy yet. It's a bit better than the last couple of cars around town but not great on a run because 5th gear isn't really long enough. I'll have to record some figures and report back.

The whole car is a good all-rounder; arguably, it's biggest downside is that nothing about it is outstanding, though you could also say that's to it's credit. That probably wouldn't have suited me in the past, yet now I've decided that cars aren't the priority they once were, but still wanted something that looked and drove pretty well, I think it's a good balance. It's low-worry. The mileage is such that it doesn't really need anything doing to it right now and when it does, it shouldn't take much time/money to put right. It was a car I could buy with my head, but the looks and performance are just interesting enough to keep me smiling when I see or drive it. I think I made the right choice :).

34760d1229076547-post-pic-your-car-vxc2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice car, I've always liked that shape Astra. Looked at one as a company car but the lease compared to the MG ZS that I ended up with was too high.

Good to see you around! :beer:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to agree, the coupe & convertible are the best looking Astra MK 4's.

My brother had a convertible as a company car and it looked 'right'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Astra has narrower powerband with a very definite "step" around 3k rpm where it suddenly wakes up and then it feels pretty brisk.

You've got the same engine as I've got in my VX220. There is a real hole in the torque curve at 3,000rpm - 3,500rpm where the ECU really overfuels the car. It's really noticeable in the VX but exists on the Astra and Vectra as well (they all use exactly the same map on the ECU). Unfortunately, nobody has yet been able to properly "crack" the ECU to map it properly - just tinkering around the edge with a few known parameters. Even with all of the mechanical modifications and custom mapping I've had done they haven't managed to get rid of it. It's a shame as it slightly spoils what is actually quite a nice tractable engine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had the car 18 months now and covered nearly 10k miles, so a quick update;

- I still like the way it looks from the outside. When I bother to wash it, the paint finish still looks pretty decent :).

- On the inside, the driver's side seat doesn't creak any more, but it has picked up a new, regular rattle from somewhere around the dashboard. Sometimes it can be stopped by pressing two of the joining pieces into each other, but it always comes back. Other than that, everything still feels as solid as it did and everything still works.

- To drive, my original findings were about right and the whole driving experience can be summed up by saying "not great, but not bad". It definitely feels slower than it used to though.

- Apart from a service, the only maintenance cost has been replacing the brake pipes that run front-to-back. That certainly wasn't cheap, but then it wasn't when I needing it doing on the BMW either. I don't check it too often, but I think fuel consumption has averaged in the late 20s for my mostly around-town driving. Again, not great, but all things considered it's not too bad.

I bought it because I wanted a car that would be low-worry... Cars aren't the priority they once were and I just wanted one that would do the job asked of it without really needing any time/money spending on it but still be mildly interesting to me in the way it looked and went. I'd say it still just about succeeds in that. There's nothing about it that annoys me and for the moment, it's a suitable companion :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to get an update Sayerbloke, often folks post about their first impressions, its how you feel after a year or two that really counts. Not sure that "nothing about it that annoys me" is a rave review, cars might not be a priority as you say, but I hope you feel you've got value for money and something that makes you smile now and then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello.

 

I still have it  :) 

 

It's been five and a half years now, far longer than any other car I've owned (the previous record being the three years, three months that I had the BMW).

 

The Astra has now done 78k miles, about 40k of them with me at the wheel. That's more than twice as many miles as all my previous cars combined. Also it's by far the highest percentage of miles I've ever added to a car’s total.

 

Looking back, I'd say my original review(s) still stand. Whilst it has no real outstanding qualities, it does most things well, without having any real downsides. Of course, I could be saying much the same if I'd bought something more sensible and humdrum like a Toyota Yaris, but the Astra has quite a bit more going for it than that.

 

 

Not sure that "nothing about it that annoys me" is a rave review, cars might not be a priority as you say, but I hope you feel you've got value for money and something that makes you smile now and then.

 

 

 

That’s a fair point. Perhaps rather belatedly, I’ll try and redress things somewhat with my thoughts on the car these days.

 

I still really like the way it looks, certainly preferable to me to a more normal hatchback or family saloon. It doesn't look cutting edge and modern but it's aged quite well, I'd say. Much the same could be said of the interior and it still only has the one intermittent interior rattle, which isn't bad for a 13 year old Vauxhall.

 

With an official 0-60 time of around 8 seconds the performance is brisk rather than outright quick, but it does the job. It corners reasonably well, the gear shift still feels pretty good and it’s nice enough to drive whether you’re just pottering around, stuck in slow traffic or when pushing on. The ride never gets on the wrong side of uncomfortable, it’s pretty much spot on for that car. Fuel economy on the journeys I do these days tends to be mid 30s, which I'm content with, especially as a modern 1.2 litre courtesy car I had a couple of years back whilst the Astra was being repaired after being hit by an uninsured driver only managed about 2mpg extra. Not needed all that much spent on maintenance to date, either. So, all of this is, again, not amazing, but good.

 

In my first review I said “It was a car I could buy with my head, but the looks and performance are just interesting enough to keep me smiling when I see or drive it.”. I’d say I still feel that way, which has to be a good thing.

 

My life has changed a lot over the last five years. I got engaged and then got married. I moved house for the first time, originally renting and then got a mortgage on it. I changed my job, indeed my whole career, after leaving the place I'd been at for over ten years, my entire working life. Most recently, last summer my wife gave birth to our baby boy. As I said, a lot of change... But the Astra has been there throughout and has never put a foot wrong.

 

I said when I got it that I wanted something "low worry" for a while; that cars were not the priority they once were but that I couldn't do completely normal and anonymous. It didn't have to be special in any way, so long as I liked it.

 

It's been the ideal companion  :eclipse: 

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And a picture from last time I gave it a wash... quite some time ago   :roflmao: 
 
post-7019-137914492149_thumb.jpeg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Time you treated yourself to a new motor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations on the life moves and the new member of the house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to hear from you! Congrats on a good five years and all the great things life has thrown your way. :)

 

Always liked that model Astra Coupe. A classy, simple design that has aged well. Glad it has served you so well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Long time no see, congrats on the news bud, glad you are well!  +++

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well hello Mr Disappeared!

 

Congratulations on, well, lots by the sound of things! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Closing thoughts;

 

If you own an Astra coupe, don't drive it through a "puddle" that's about quarter of a mile long and a foot deep in places... It won't thank you for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0