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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just a quick one:

Might be a precursor to something on Saturns horizon?

Dropped into my not so local dealer today as I spotted a tasty little 5 door Astra SRi. Locally, these are available as a 2.2 DI or 2.0 turbo. Standard equipment includes 17" alloys and sport suspension. This example sported comfy leather trim and some seriously well bolstered sport seats.


I must admit, the red certainly caught my eye, and after discussing the not inconsiderable cost of my 240 km daily commute, I was wondering whether or not my bosses response of "we'll have to talk about that", could be roughly translated into a company car accomodation. This certainly would be ideal. Although the ADR sticker says a combined consumption of 8.5, I wouldn't expect it too hard to sit around 7 when driven mostly on the highway as I currently do.

The pro's:

The look! It certainly was a handsome little devil and stood out like the proverbials, amongst the more reserved colours on the lot.

Excellent comfort even though I'm probably on the larger side of typical pilots. I could easily adjust the seats and tilt/telescope wheel for an ideal driving position.

Excellent visibility all round

Attractive cabin with no retina searing graphics.

Great feeling steering wheel felt comfortable under hand and was nice and grippy.

Linear smooth acceleration.

Sweet, well spaced shifter with reasonably progressive clutch.

Solid, adjustable braking.

Suspension was commendable and far more forgiving than the TDI Mondeo that I drove a few months ago. In fact I drove the test road (not my usual haunt so I did a recce before I took my test drive) in the Vectra and found the Astra to be more comfortable whilst still having better poise and control through the long 90kmh sweepers. You would sort of expect that considering the vectra is 10 this year, but still she has 4 wheel independent suspension and is reasonably agile.

Very Quiet cabin is much better than Focus and much much better than Mazda 3 SP23.


The Cons:

The very quiet cabin allowed the intrusion of windnoise (though slight) from the mirrors around 110.

It was a moderately wet day and the rubber dotted alloy pedals looked good but where a bit slippery.

Space saver spare (not good in Commodore Country ;))

Over servoed steering impeded driver connection (way too light compared to what I am used to and expect).

All in all, I was well impressed, not to mention surprised that the 2.2DI is no longer being made. In fact this was the last one on the lot and they were very keen to move it (started with 4k off rrp and were still keen to really drive a deal!). Apparently their latest fast mover is, wait for it....Epica. The sales person (who was great by the way) said she had sold to all demographs from a 19 yo lass and a 20 something couple, to 35 yos, 45 and 55yos. Normally you would put this down to sales yap, but I established my automotive knowledge early and we quickly past the awkward point of customer and salesperson truth balancing. In fact she was honest enough to tell me that she couldn't keep up with all the competitors when I quizzed her on whether or not Mazda 6 CDi has a 5 or 6 speed auto.

So really, it was a very capable, comfortable vehicle with the perfect amount of performance for my type of caper. Just a shame that it doesn't quite suit my circumstances. Of course the boss (I'm not talking about Mrs. Mak) could change that. Considering that this is one of the last ones, I would bet resale would be reasonably strong too. Astras are generally good anyway, but try getting a last gen SRi 2 door. Good luck. 2 thumbs waaay up.

 

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^^^I love the SRi turbos! I think the Astra Redline will be a big hit here if they decide to do it! I think people would have a easier time paying $23ish for a turbo Astra than they would a turbo Cobalt. Not that both of them arnt great cars!
 

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As hard as it is for me to admit this as a muscle car guy, I love the Astra.

I always enjoy reading your reviews mikmak.
 

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In Germany the 2.2 DI was never offered for the Astra. Only for the Zafira and Vectra/Signum. :brick
 

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As hard as it is for me to admit this as a muscle car guy, I love the Astra.

LOL, Me too.

As for the Redline, it's bound to happen. This model was "Americanized" as best they could to get it here sooner. Once Delta II comes out and all it's products designed for global consumption, we'll be enjoying the luxuries of our friends across the pond.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In Germany the 2.2 DI was never offered for the Astra. Only for the Zafira and Vectra/Signum. :brick
You definitely missed out! It certainly addresses my main beef with the 1.8 which IMO is a bit of a mismatch for the Astras size. It also alleviates old fashioned people like me who don't particularly enjoy the power delivery of turbo diesels (plenty of torque but too narrow a band). I would be interested though, to see how it would go on Aussie rural highways with dips and humps that would challenge Five Flags. :D

P.S. Thanks for the compliment Pheonix. And don't worry toom uch. Even though I normally commute in a little 2.2, it's still hard for me to admit that something this puny can be so satisfying. At the end of the day, small cars are finally starting to reach the envelope of useable daily power. Muscle cars are great, sound great look great, but the opportunity to utilise 360HP V8s is becoming less and less.

The market wont die but there is certainly becoming less of a need for them when small light cars can deliver so much.:eek: Makes me wonder how much pressure Alpha will apply to Zeta in the next few years.
 

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I love my muscle cars also but would love to have a Redline Astra as a daily driver. I'm not going to pretend it would be as much fun to drive as a new Camaro but would be plenty of fun on the daily commute and not eat a ton of gas. Then when the weekend rolls around park the Astra.

Not sure about a diesel and a 6 speed combo though. Seems like it would be row row row your boat row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row...
 

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I love my muscle cars also but would love to have a Redline Astra as a daily driver. I'm not going to pretend it would be as much fun to drive as a new Camaro but would be plenty of fun on the daily commute and not eat a ton of gas. Then when the weekend rolls around park the Astra.

Not sure about a diesel and a 6 speed combo though. Seems like it would be row row row your boat row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row...

I agree, woulld think the diesel wouldnt need that many gears.
Or is it double overdrive?
 

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I love my muscle cars also but would love to have a Redline Astra as a daily driver. I'm not going to pretend it would be as much fun to drive as a new Camaro but would be plenty of fun on the daily commute and not eat a ton of gas. Then when the weekend rolls around park the Astra.

Not sure about a diesel and a 6 speed combo though. Seems like it would be row row row your boat row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row, row...
More gears means better fuel economy
 

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Good one.
So what is replacing the 2.2di in the SRi? We have now got a black SRi coupe (6sp man) in the fleet, i'll have to check out the badges. A 50+ lady driver that replaced a black Astra CDX 5dr 5 sp man.

On the Epica, we have employed an ex Fleet Sales guy from the dealer I bought the Cappy from (not my guy). Anyway we have the occasional chat and he was saying how good the Eppy is, and that he was selling a bomb of them to one of the car accessory companies (they sponsor a V8 Supercar) as company cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I suppose the low running costs are attractive to those that run fleets and considering their better than average fuel economy, retained values may even be higher than originally projected, especially if they follow up with the diesel, then the expected generational leap from the next iteration. Camry may not be that far off in the future.
 

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My Astra is due for it's 2nd Anniversary (30k) service, $340 yipes!
So I enquired on the next 2 services, $500 for the 45k / 3 yr & then the biggie!
60k / 4yr $1,100 !!!!! Damn Timing belts.........

I hope the 2.2 is back in the range next year.

But seriously, it is a big question. Do I keep the car and just do the work when it comes up? or trade it sometime before the big service is due?
It is an absolutely beautiful car, we love it and don't even have 19k up yet.

I did know about this when I bought it and was actually shopping for a 2.2 (no timing belt change) Vectra at the time but they were finished, and I would have gone for a 2.2 Astra for the same reason but they were not in the range at the time. Mind you I was thinking more like $600 than $1,100. Sheesh.
 

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My Astra is due for it's 2nd Anniversary (30k) service, $340 yipes!
So I enquired on the next 2 services, $500 for the 45k / 3 yr & then the biggie!
60k / 4yr $1,100 !!!!! Damn Timing belts.........

I hope the 2.2 is back in the range next year.

But seriously, it is a big question. Do I keep the car and just do the work when it comes up? or trade it sometime before the big service is due?
It is an absolutely beautiful car, we love it and don't even have 19k up yet.

I did know about this when I bought it and was actually shopping for a 2.2 (no timing belt change) Vectra at the time but they were finished, and I would have gone for a 2.2 Astra for the same reason but they were not in the range at the time. Mind you I was thinking more like $600 than $1,100. Sheesh.
Sorry if it's bad form to quote your own posts.

Anyway, service today - all good, still faultless 2 years in.
Found out the timing belt change is at 90k not 60k as per the TS and earlier AH. A little relief there.

Anyone else confused that Holden offer 1/ A Diesel Astra 2/ A Wagon Astra but not 3/ A Diesel Wagon Astra????????
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nor even the 2.2DI wagon. Something they seriously need to consider with what is bound to be a more pronounced swing to small cars.

As for the V250, I am becoming more convinced that it will come into its own in the next year or two and pave the way for buyers that normally would have steered clear of the lion badge. It seems to have something more than the Camry (though that clearly isn't torque). The interior is far less shrink wrapped surfaces and has a softness to it that the mid size sales king is distinctly lacking.
 

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Nor even the 2.2DI wagon. Something they seriously need to consider with what is bound to be a more pronounced swing to small cars.

As for the V250, I am becoming more convinced that it will come into its own in the next year or two and pave the way for buyers that normally would have steered clear of the lion badge. It seems to have something more than the Camry (though that clearly isn't torque). The interior is far less shrink wrapped surfaces and has a softness to it that the mid size sales king is distinctly lacking.
Agreed.
Re the Epica, I asked the mechanic about them. He had just finished dissing the Viva, loves the Epica (I guess he'd be late 50's). Said they (Hunter Holden) use them as the loan cars because they are "nice". So thats a couple of trade people giving a little praise to the Epic Car.
It's almost a Triumph 2500 without the 'sporty' intent.
 

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Oh and 19k in 2 years? I've already done 13 since feb!
Yeah, but I don't get to drive it often (enough).
The Cappy is up to 48k in 17months, so it makes up for it. The Vacationer has done about 1k in the last 12 months.
 
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