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Old 06-14-2016, 06:59 PM   #1
velleguy73
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2002 SL
Default Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

Greetings from a long te SL forum participant. I'm looking at an 08 Astra 5 door XR stick to share commuting duty with my SL. I like the look and can appreciate an European hatchback style vehicle. Looking at one with 36k miles. Survivor barely used other than about town.

Any recommendations or warnings I should be concerned about with these cars? Thanks for the input.

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Old 06-14-2016, 10:44 PM   #2
lmmoquin
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

I drive an XR 3 door, and I love the car. The 5 speed will make the car a bit more fun to live with versus the 4 speed automatic. No matter what though, these cars are NOT fast or quick. The 1.8l Ecotec does not provide a lot of torque, so try not to pass on the highway unless you know you have enough of a safety gap between you and the car in the next lane behind you. The curvy back roads are where this car shines. It takes a little bit to get up to speed, but once you do, you can maintain it through the corners pretty well (especially the XR 5 door with the optional sport tuned suspension or the XR coupe which got that standard). Parts will get harder and harder to find as time goes on, so that will be a headache in the future. I love my Astra though, and I am very happy that I bought it. It's been a great little car.

...
2008 XR Coupe
Twilight Blue
Wonderful Daily Driver

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Old 06-15-2016, 09:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

It is a nice euro coupe similar to a VW Golf in size, performance, and quirks. It is fun, practical and economical.

I have owned several Golfs and found both the Golfs and Astra to be relatively high maintenance cars. If you want low maintenance, Honda may be a better choice.

The Astra probably has a dozen + engineering defects that can generally dealt with by an "intermediate" DIY owner. Look around the site to get a feel for them. My 48k mile Astra seems to have an issue every few months but some people claim virtually no issues. The people on this site are incredibly helpful. However, if you need a mechanic to change your spark plugs (which need to be changed every 25k miles or the coilpack seems to die) then maintenance will be expensive in my view...

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Old 06-15-2016, 11:31 AM   #4
Tom S2
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

my Astra was virtually trouble free for 61,000 miles. The throwout bearing went when I was on the highway and I needed to downshift. I did the "money shift" and totaled the drivetrain.

Had that not happened on the highway I would still be driving the car. Look up the issues which are a crank sensor, flex pipe, ignition coils. You will want to change the wiper jets too.

I just bought a used 128i to replace the Astra. From the pan into the fire.

...
Astra XR-3-5 HP - Hamster Powered!
Dealer added options, & Infinity speakers.

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Old 06-15-2016, 06:06 PM   #5
Astra08
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

Parts and knowledge on repairs will be the biggest hurdles. My '08 XR 3 door just turned 128K miles. a couple of issues, but nothing I couldn't handle the work on myself. The car still handles great and has been very reliable.

Remember, it's an "orphan" vehicle so there will always be some challenges on things, but the price should reflect that as well.

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Old 06-15-2016, 11:14 PM   #6
velleguy73
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Default Re: Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

Thanks for the great input. I've swapped engines and done extensive work on several SL's so maintenance is just fine by me. Rear disc brake swap and factory foggers are surprisingly easy on them. The SL side of this forum is A+.

Glad to know about the plugs. Several I saw local have new coil packs.

The 5 door XR I'm looking at has leather, sunroof, and is pretty loaded, loaded as these came anyway. Any way to tell if it has the sport suspension package? It does have the nice factory rims. looks really clean in the dark blue.

I miss the days in the 80's and 90's where everybody had a small hatchback. Not as common anymore. I can handle a spartan European interior.

I'll drop that orphan line if I end up making an offer on it.

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Old 06-29-2016, 05:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

Great car. I've owned an 08 and currently own an 09. The only odd ball thing that has happened to both of them is the stupid front bumper flap keeps coming loose and hangs down scrapping the road.

The ghetto solution that worked for me is using zip ties to hold it in place. This solution has survived harsh winter, gravel roads, and rough weather without a problem. Literally a $1 fix that takes 15 minutes lol

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Old 06-30-2016, 10:18 AM   #8
goob
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Default Re: Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

Get the VIN of the car and plug in at this website:
http://www.saturnforum.com/forum/vindecoder.php

It should tell you if it has the sports suspension or not.

...
08 Salsa Red Astra XR 5dr 5spd
Spt Pkg, Prem. Aud. and Sunroof

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Old 07-05-2016, 12:32 AM   #9
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Looking at buying an Astra. Thoughts?

I'm both late to owning this car and responding to this thread. I took the attached photo on Saturday, knowing I planned to respond here.

My car before the Astra was an Impreza WRX wagon that I had purchased new in 2005 and had 150k miles on. I spent close to $6K on it to keep and get another 50-60k miles on it before getting something else, but it was totalled 3-4 months later.

The Astra is only about 250 lbs. less and down over 90 HP compared to what I was used to and I would be a liar not to say I miss that performance as the turbocharger spools up, but the Astra is such a sweet handling car and that goes a long way to negating that. The geometry of the XVR is good, has huge tires, and I appreciate the very good mileage. Photo is of my avg. mpg from Monterey to Oakland and back at 80 MPH on a very warm day (broke 90 F part of the way home).

Not bad.

https://goo.gl/UrzwFy

I have had 5-6 problems with the car, but really thankful the fixes mostly cost $45-85 and some time.......With one exception, which I plan to write about. Most of the "fixes" involved my not wanting to wait for some of the better known quirks to happen to the car and my preemptive nature to cut off the chances of piddly and nagging failures before happening.

Parts have not been a problem, especially thanks to information provided by the contributors here and Mr. Bezos and Amazon Prime.

Last edited by JFS; 07-05-2016 at 12:41 AM..

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