2013 OPEL ASTRA owner review

Ethan Z
  • Nice, outdated exterior styling
  • Cheap for new buyers
  • Great features
  • Outdated centre console
  • Hard to sell and low price
  • No more OPEL in Australia

About the OPEL ASTRA

Ethan Z purchased this OPEL ASTRA new for $25,000 (including all on-road costs). Ethan Z wouldn’t buy this car again because: “This car is a perfect Golf and Focus competitor. With Opel beating Volkswagen in quality, options, and price obviously you would go with the Astra. But with Opel not being here to supply parts and Holden (GM) gone it’s a hard decision. If it was the basic Select I would not buy it due Golf and Focus having spare parts, better servicing and still being in the country. If it was the GTC sport or OPC (VXR Holden’s rebadge) I would buy one due to the performance and the price “

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

With the Astra nearly reaching 100,000km it’s had some small problems. With the previous Astra K (2004-12) having electrical faults, axle and suspension issues which would cost a fortune, the Astra J usually has engine issues that aren’t that expensive to fix.

Here are our issue with our Astra

1. Coolant low: as soon as we bought the Astra from Adelaide Opel it’s always had false readings about coolant level being low. After Opel leaving Australia, Holden would service the car because Opel is a GM car. Holden would “fix” the issue, but the problem persist. When we moved to the UK and Astra being one of the top 5 hatches with heaps of available parts I decided to buy a coolant box because the sensor is attached to the box

After coming back to Australia and the Astra being in storage for 18 months the coolant hose blew after driving it home for the first time. With the hose needed to be replaced it, it was the best time to also replace the coolant box. After the coolant box being replaced the error code hasn’t come up since. The hose probably blew due to the hose ceasing up after no use for 18 months

2. Heated seats. On the Select model heated seats come as standard. A main issue with all Astra J is the heated seats turning off automatically after a few minutes. After five years of owning the car the driver heated seats started to automatically turn off after a 10 minutes. When going to Holden for a service they stated nothing was wrong with it which there obviously was.

After checking online there were thousands of Vauxhall and Opel forums about the heated seats issue. With some dealers replacing the seat and some offering big money to fix, it was really based off the dealer what they would do. After the next service Holden offered to fix the seat but with cost. Because the heated seats still lasted 10 minutes without turning off, there was no point getting them fixed.

But over the years the heated seats got worse and worse which made it last a few minutes now and is now happening on the passenger side.

3. Gear shift knob. This is the last issue and the smallest on the list, but it was still annoying and Holden would not do anything to fix the issue. On the Australian Astra the shift knob would be wrapped in rubber and plastic, but on the European models it was wrapped with soft plastic.

After the first year of owning the car the rubber started to peel off due to heat and sweat. After going to holden they would not replace the gear shift nob because it’s wear and tear. Along the years the shifter turned into hard plastic because all of the rubber came off. When living In the UK I bought an Astra gear shifter with the plastic coating and put it on the car after returning to Australia.

I had a similar issue on my Skoda Octavia RS with the chrome coming off and Skoda replaced it free of charge. Holden’s servicing was quite bad.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

Driving the car has had no issues. Easy steering, nice ride comfort, comfortable seats and more which makes this car very underrated. The car also comes with watts linkage rear suspension which stabilise the rear axle, which makes the car drive smoother around the turns.

With 1.6L and132kW powering the front wheels connected by 6 speed auto (also in manual) it’s quite gutsy, and in fact you can hear the turbo sometimes!

With the unfamiliar German badge driving around Australia with the Astra nameplate you sure get some confused looks.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

The aftercare with serving went uphill then downhill. We bought the car knowing Opel was going to leave Australia which is why we got an huge discount off the car, because they needed to get rid of the cars.

Opel was owned by GM at the time, so the car was getting serviced by Holden. With the Cruze being based of the Astra spare parts were easy to find and servicing was easy. After Holden shutting down the brand could still service the car but they started to charge more than usual which is why I now go elsewhere to service the car along with other people I know.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

The first Astra J was built in 2010, then a facelift in 2013, which it then shows age of the interior but not with the features. With this being the 2013 model, it sure came with a lot bells and whistles such as:

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Auto headlights
  • Hill start assist
  • Dual zone climate
  • Electric parking brake
  • Front and rear parking assist (sensors)
  • Front heat seating
  • AGA Sport seats with front cushion extenders
  • Phone Bluetooth
  • Cruise Control with speed limiter
  • Bi-Xenon headlights
  • Voice assistant/ control
  • Heated steering wheels
  • Adaptive Dampers (sports, tour, and eco)
  • Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • 7’ inch colour infotainment system
  • Satellite navigation system
  • Premium speakers with USB, AUX, and iPod integration

It 100 per cent bet the Golf especially with its price range of $25,000, but this price was discounted because of them leaving Australia. The car was originally worth a whopping $36,000. But this was all of the options that came as standard on the Astra Select Model

The interior showed it age when the Mk7 Golf was released, which was the same year as the facelift came out for the Astra in 2013. With 40 buttons on the centre console, it looks like a mess. But with all 40 of the buttons labeled it’s quite easy to learn and know what each buttons do.

At least it has physical climate control buttons unlike the current Mk8 Golf.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

it doesn’t have 206kW like the sporty OPC that reaches 0-100 in 6.0 seconds, but the 1.6L 132kW does the job with 0-100 in 8.6 seconds which makes it zippy through the streets and is faster than the Golf equivalent. It’s obviously not the fastest in the Opel Astra line up, with it placing 4th, with the Astra J Sport 3rd, GTC Sport 2nd, and the OPC 1st.

With 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres, it’s kinda economical and having to pay around $80 to fill the car to empty to full

What do you think of the technology in your car?

The technology is pretty decent condensing the age of the car and the price of the car. The Select model sure was filled with features, which I listed above. The only thing that the car needs is Apple CarPlay as the GM sat nav hasn’t been updated for years along with a new informative system because the current one is outdated and busy.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

The ride is comfortable even on the bumpy Australian roads which the car wasn’t built for. Handles well around the roads in the hills and when I was test driving the equivalents back in 2013 such as the Golf, Focus, Octavia and Impreza it sure had an equal fight with them and it was hard to pick between them all.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

This is a brilliant car that is sure underrated due to the popularity of the brand. With the door creases and the thrown daytime lights, it sure hasn’t outdated. The GTC sport and OPC looks 100 times better than the usual Select. The OPC back then also was faster than the Golf GTI.

But if you looking a 4-door sporty hatch that is reasonably price and still kind of new get the Astra J Sport. It’s lowered than the Select and has a spoiler . If you are worried of the car not being known, brand is one of the most popular brands in Europe.

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