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Vauxhall Astra (1998 - 2004)

Last updated 9 September 2019

Decent, honest family car. Estates particularly well equipped and thought out.
Nondescript looks. Petrol engines are designed to use oil, so this needs regularly checking.
Updated 1 May 2002
Turbo added

187bhp turbo from May 2002. 147 bhp 2.2 litre chain-cam four available from September 2000, plus uprated 125 bhp 1.8 petrol and uprated 85 bhp 1.6.

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If the third generation Astra felt a bit stodgy to drive, the Mk4 was positively nimble by comparison. Launched in 1998, the body boasted increased rigidity to help make the most of the range of 8v and 16v petrol engines.

As well as a better point-to-point driving experience, the added stiffness brought with it improved safety at crash-test time with EuroNCAP giving it a four-star rating.

Word has it that Lotus was able to sprinkle some fairy dust on the chassis, which might explain why it wasn't as dull as ditchwater to drive. In fact, on its day the Mk4 Astra was a pretty decent car to drive. 

But this was 1998 and Ford was just about to launch the Mk1 Focus - a car that obliterated the competition when it came to... well, everything. 

Today the Mk4 Astra is all but forgotten, which makes it a decent modern classic to hack around in - just don't expect anyone to notice you.

Next: Model Timeline

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