Of the holy thrinity of the middle compact car segment, the Opel Astra H has always been the cheapest and most problematic of the bunch. It’s just that time has shown that competing models aren’t that reliable either. If your driveway deserves an Opel Astra H in 2020, that’s for you to see in today’s article.
First of all, The Astra H comes from a time when Opel was an American brand. This means that the Opel Astra H starts with a penalty right from the bat. Coming from the world of big petrol engines and trucks, GM had to come up with a sensible compact that should also have diesel engines and manual gearboxes. Getting an American to make a compact car with a diesel engine is like getting Tom Jones to sing “Chop Suey.” It’s like going to McDonald’s and asking for Foie Gras and Crepes Suzette. I’d actually pay to see both scenarios.
What has Opel Astra H done to stay relevant in the market?
Thrown in the intense ring of medium compacts, the best-selling cars from 2004-2009, the Opel Astra H had to fight the robust VW Golf V and the sporty Ford Focus II. Just as One Piece, Naruto and Bleach were “The Big 3” of the anime world, so Opel Astra H, VW Golf V and Ford Focus II were “The Big 3” of the compact world.
Ford Focus II was the sportiest of the 3, VW Golf V was the most complete of the 3, and the Opel Astra H was the cheapest and most utilitarian of the 3. This is still seen today on the second market. hand, Opel Astra H being the cheapest of the 3 models.
It’s just that, as with the other 2 models, the configuration of the car means that you can have either an absolutely fantastic car, or a car as good as a beer dropped on the floor. Personally, I have never been a fan of Opel and American cars produced in Europe, which is why I will not talk about the Opel Astra H as if Sarah-Jane Mee herself came to a mud fighting match against Kate Partridge, the match being hosted and commented by Terry Crews.
Opel Astra H engines
- 1.4 MPI Z14XEL and Z14XEP of 90 or 100 horsepower – The smallest engine, which is more powerful than the aspirated 1.4 base on the VW Golf V. A decent city engine, but which does not have enough strength for the roads of the country when carrying more than 2 people and luggage. Devoid of reliability issues, devoid of power.
- 1.6 Twinport Z16XEP 105 and 115 horsepower – Excellent for city and occasional roads, the classic 1.6 aspirated is a simple and reliable choice for anyone who wants a cheap and decent car. Not exceptional or “going beyond” as corporate managers would say, but decent.
- 1.8 MPI Z18XEP and Z18XER of 125, 140 and 170 horsepower – One of the most powerful and fun engines of its kind and size in the entire automotive industry. Quite rarely seen on the Astra H, it is the compromise between reliability, power and consumption.
- 1.6 Turbo Z16LET 180 of horsepower – The same 1.6 Twinport with a connected turbo and added fun. Quite rare because you find it on the upper class versions, expensive and with 2 doors, this engine is hard to ignore and even harder to find. It’s easier to find a clean pub toilet on a Saturday night than to find an Opel Astra H with this engine.
- 2.0 Turbo Z20LEL of 170, 200 and 240-horsepower – If Opel didn’t make cars that turn like bathtubs, then the sensational Opel Astra H OPC would be in high demand. An exceptional engine, linked to a less exceptional car. Sportiness has never been the strong point of the Opel Astra H, because sportiness has never been the strong point of Americans. Bends and the twists – the arch enemy of the american sports car.
- 2.2 MPI Z22YH of 153 horsepower – This one was reserved for the Australian Opel Astra which is actually the Holden Astra H. A fairly reliable, economical and punchy unit however it’s dependent on quality fuel and the high pressure fuel pump will fail from time to time.
- 1.3 CDTI Multijet of 90-horsepower – An Alfa Romeo sourced engine that fits the Corsa better than the Astra. It has no notable problems, you just have to be careful with the particle filter. Great fuel consumption, great reliability, but Big Keith walking is arguably faster than this engine.
- 1.7 CDTI Z17DTL of 80, 100, 110 or 125 horsepower – Alfa Romeo does not provide the legendary 1.7 diesel, but Isuzu does. So this van engine was mounted on the Opel Astra H. The 80-horsepower variant is exceptional, being an extremely reliable engine, with long maintenance intervals and low fuel consumption. The most industrial engine of all by far, and if you combine it with the station wagon version of the Opel Astra H then you have the official car of the novice entrepreneur and freelance plumber, who needs a cheap and sturdy car with which transports a lot of stuff and which is not afraid even of the CEMEX product line. As for the other power variants, there are occasional problems with the turbo, so they are to meh at best.
- 1.9 CDTI Multijet of 100, 120 or 150 horsepower – The classic 1.9 JTD brand Alfa Romeo comes to keep company to it’s little 1.3 brother. Various electrical problems, without anything serious. The only acceptable version is the 120 horsepower version, as the 150 bhp version has some serious reliability issues.