Overall, it's been a dependable car and for a simple way to get to and from work, it does the job well. However, it's just missing a truly fun and entertaining essence that all cars should have.
This car is a dream to drive. It features taut steering, very powerful ABS braking (even on wet roads), decent acceleration (sure, it's no Ferrari!), and simply amazing gas mileage: mine averages 34/35 mpg on highways (I use Texaco 87 gasoline and Castrol Edge 5W-30 synthetic oil) even at 75 mph! It feels solid and well-built all around and is very comfortable. Mine is a manual and the only thing I'd change is adding a 6th gear (it'd make for even better fuel economy on highways by lowering rpm). It does get a bit noisy at higher speeds (65 mph and above), but it's nothing unbearable for me (my wife is much noisier!). The only downside to the taut shocks is that the ride gets somewhat bumpy on rough roads (especially on the backseats), but you can't have it all in life. Overall, it's an amazing car. GM should simply be ashamed of themselves for not adequately marketing and advertising this car back in 2008 and 2009. It breaks my heart to see all those UGLY Nissan Versas, Toyota Matrixs, Honda Fits and all the Mazdas out there (I hate them!), and to see almost NO Astras around. Everlasting shame on GM and all the idiots who run it (they deserve all the bad karma they get). Thank God for the Astra, and thank you OPEL for designing and building this wonderful car!
Pros: Fuel economy, handling, braking, cornering, unique European look, overall quality, price, safety features (abs, 6 airbags, traction control, etc.), comfy front seats, roomy cargo area, overall value. Cons: Leisurely acceleration (0-60 mph in just over 10 seconds with a manual transmission), somewhat noisy cabin over 65mph, cramped backseats for adults taller than 5'11", confusing radio controls and board computer operation (need to be studied carefully before using them becomes second nature), no automaker standing behind the car (once 36K miles warranty is gone) since Saturn no longer exists. Great car for singles or couples (with only 1-2 kids). Great for commutes but only OK for long trips (once again, it's pretty noisy over 65mph). Great gas saver. Solid German quality all around. Perfect for practical, level-headed drivers looking for a fun drive, too. NOT for speed demons, thrill-seekers and insecure people. Not for big people who require a ton of space and who use their car as a restaurant. Get used to the fact that hotheads/losers (usually driving Mazda's, Mitsubishi's and pickups) will constantly be racing you at traffic lights (out of envy maybe?) and on freeways, and you WON'T be winning any contests (other than the higher IQ contest and the most gas saved...). Enjoy your Astra!