I bought this Astra in February 2013 as my daily driver. It has been pretty flawless in the time I have owned it, needing only normal servicing and very little else. When I bought it, the criteria were economy (diesel), manual gearbox, but without the liability of the modern dual mass flywheel to fail. It has been a good solution and a few times topped 60mpg averaged over a tank, but more commonly around 50mpg. It also still drives ‘like new’, and I mean it – I drove a lot of these as brand new hire cars from work.
This was the first Vauxhall I owned with the CAN bus architecture, which Tech2 provides excellent access to. I took advantage by buying the more upmarket DAB radio, Bluetooth gateway and the graphic information display, which were connected by a home-made (plug in) extension loom, which was designed to be easily removable. The difference in the sound from the standard speakers was surprising, with the CDC30 head unit significantly better in quality (and power) than the standard CD30MP3.
I also added cruise control, which on this model (being a diesel) is as simple as buying the stalk, fitting it and then enabling the options in the Column Information Unit (CIM) and Engine Control Unit (ECU). Other easily configurable items are anti-hijack locking, which automatically locks the doors as the car starts moving and then unlocks them as either a door is opened from the inside or as the ignition is switched off and ‘follow me home’ headlamps, which stay on for a few seconds while you get out, lock the car and walk to (presumably) your front door.
The following photos were taken on the 8th February 2015 as I prepared to sell it after 20,000 easy miles. It always feels odd to me that I buy cars, get to the bottom of them, rectify everything and get them into long-term ‘keeper’ condition and then decide I want something different. I rarely see the buyers again, but the few I do have evidently enjoyed their (trouble free) ownership.
And then it was sold – to a nice chap called Paul. I was a little sad to see it drive away as it occurred to me that I’ve owned this one for a little longer than average. Ah well.