Holden Astra 2003-2007 used car review

By NRMA Motoring on 10 February 2008
Holden Astra 2003-2007


Priced from $11,000
Engine 1.8-litre
Transmission Four-speed auto
Fuel Economy
ANCAP rating

The AH Astra has proved to be quite a popular vehicle given its size and manoeuvrability. Holden reintroduced the Astra in 1996, after a seven year absence.

The Astra is available as a sedan, hatchback, coupé and wagon. Models available are CD, CDX, CDXI, Classic, Equipe and City with features depending on the year of manufacture.

The CD coupé is the entry level and comes with airconditioning, power windows, heated mirrors, cruise control, 15" alloy wheels, CD with stereo controls on the steering wheel, four airbags and ABS. The mid-range CDX adds 16" alloy wheels, six-disc CD player, heated leather sports seats, leather sports steering wheel and trip computer.

General fit and finish is fine, and the interior's simple, clean design is nicely assembled.

The AH Astra CD and CDX scored a four star ANCAP safety rating while the CDXi scored five stars. Standard features on the CD and CDX include ABS, dual front and side airbags, load limited front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and breakaway pedals (clutch pedal only on manual models) which help lower leg injuries. CDXi adds head-protecting side curtains.

The seats in the Astra are initially firm however you do get used to them, especially over longer trips. While the short cushion lacks support, the backrest is fine, with sports style bolsters holding you in place. Lacking any lumbar adjustment, the backrest might be too firm for some drivers.

The instrumentation is well laid out making operation easy. The MFD (Multi Function Display) above the centre console shows audio and ventilation settings.

All round vision is good and even though the rear screen is quite shallow the car's minimal rear overhang makes parking a straightforward affair.

The 1.8 litre, 4 cylinder, DOHC 16 valve motor delivers 13L/100km around town and 9.3L/100km on the highway which is pretty much on the mark for a car weighing 1291kg.

The four-speed automatic transmission is designed to shift into neutral when the car stops and the brakes are applied which can make the car stumble when moving off. The auto's changes are smooth and in 'sport' mode it holds the gear longer making the motor work harder, giving a sportier feel.

When cornering, the Astra feels slightly heavy in the front but its solid feel is reassuring on country roads and gives the car a great sense of grip.

Shopping guide

There are no vehicle recalls listed for the AH Astra but, as with all used vehicles, make sure the timing belt has been changed within the manufacturer's recommended period as repairs can be very expensive if it breaks. The ignition key barrel on earlier models can be a problem with the key being unable to turn to the 'on' position. Also rear brake callipers can stick causing the premature wear of brake pads.

With such a wide range of models, prices vary considerably. But as a guide expect to pay from $11,000 - $17,900 for a CDX 1.8 litre, five-door hatchback.

Cost of parts



 Tyres 205/55R 16 

 $171.00 (each)

 Oil filter


 Air filter 


 Front Brake Pads


 Rear Brake Pads 




 Tail light


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