Pros

  • So much bang for your buck.
  • Gorgeous design.
  • Loaded with equipment.
  • Arguably one of the most unique choices in hot hatch world.

Cons

  • Holden/Opel no longer exist in Australia so accessing parts can be a nightmare.
  • Underwhelming reputation for reliability and build quality.
  • Many have been abused and poorly modified.
  • Arguably the least engaging of this crop of hot hatches.

Verdict

Before we provide insights on whether you should consider purchasing the 2014-2015 Holden Astra VXR / 2012-2013 Opel Astra OPC, it’s important to note that our research involved discussions with owners in various forums and owners’ groups. These enthusiasts consistently express love for their cars, with the majority indicating they...

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To begin with, the nomenclature of these hot hatches can be perplexing, suggesting that General Motors may have been somewhat disconnected from the Australian market during their release. It appears as though they randomly assigned different names and badges to these vehicles, hoping that something would resonate, but the approach proved unsuccessful.

For instance, in 2012 and 2013, the model was designated as the Opel Astra OPC, while in 2014 and 2015, it underwent a transition to being known as the Holden Astra VXR. Interestingly, in the UK, it is referred to as the Vauxhall Astra VXR. The distinctions among these names are minimal, primarily limited to slight aesthetic variations and differences in Bluetooth features. Essentially, these cars are nearly identical.

All variants share a common foundation, built upon an Astra econobox platform, and are equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine generating 206 kW (276 hp) and 400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft) of torque. Power is directed to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox.

While these power figures may appear impressive within this class, it’s noteworthy that the vehicle’s weight exceeds that of many competitors. Specifically, it surpasses the Mazda 3 MPS by over 100 kg and is approximately 200 kg heavier than the Renault Megane RS.

Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the build quality and reliability of these models. To explore whether these apprehensions hold merit, continue reading for further insights.

To begin with, the nomenclature of these hot hatches can be perplexing, suggesting that General Motors may have been somewhat disconnected from the Australian market during their release. It appears as though they randomly assigned different names and badges to these vehicles, hoping that something would resonate, but the approach proved unsuccessful.

For instance, in 2012 and 2013, the model was designated as the Opel Astra OPC, while in 2014 and 2015, it underwent a transition to being known as the Holden Astra VXR. Interestingly, in the UK, it is referred to as the Vauxhall Astra VXR. The distinctions among these names are minimal, primarily limited to slight aesthetic variations and differences in Bluetooth features. Essentially, these cars are nearly identical.

All variants share a common foundation, built upon an Astra econobox platform, and are equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine generating 206 kW (276 hp) and 400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft) of torque. Power is directed to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox.

While these power figures may appear impressive within this class, it’s noteworthy that the vehicle’s weight exceeds that of many competitors. Specifically, it surpasses the Mazda 3 MPS by over 100 kg and is approximately 200 kg heavier than the Renault Megane RS.

Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the build quality and reliability of these models. To explore whether these apprehensions hold merit, continue reading for further insights.

To begin with, the nomenclature of these hot hatches can be perplexing, suggesting that General Motors may have been somewhat disconnected from the Australian market during their release. It appears as though they randomly assigned different names and badges to these vehicles, hoping that something would resonate, but the approach proved unsuccessful.

For instance, in 2012 and 2013, the model was designated as the Opel Astra OPC, while in 2014 and 2015, it underwent a transition to being known as the Holden Astra VXR. Interestingly, in the UK, it is referred to as the Vauxhall Astra VXR. The distinctions among these names are minimal, primarily limited to slight aesthetic variations and differences in Bluetooth features. Essentially, these cars are nearly identical.

All variants share a common foundation, built upon an Astra econobox platform, and are equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine generating 206 kW (276 hp) and 400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft) of torque. Power is directed to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox.

While these power figures may appear impressive within this class, it’s noteworthy that the vehicle’s weight exceeds that of many competitors. Specifically, it surpasses the Mazda 3 MPS by over 100 kg and is approximately 200 kg heavier than the Renault Megane RS.

Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the build quality and reliability of these models. To explore whether these apprehensions hold merit, continue reading for further insights.

Exterior:

Some owners have encountered issues with water accumulating in the tailgate channel. While there are occasional reports of electronic glitches, such as problems with door actuators and power windows and mirrors, these occurrences are not considered widespread.

A notable complaint from many owners revolves around the standard headlights, which are deemed insufficient for a flagship model.

Reports also indicate variations in fading among body panels as the car ages, particularly noticeable in vehicles kept outdoors. The paint finish, known for its lack of resilience, is prone to chipping and marking easily. To address potential wear, especially behind the front wheel and above the side skirts, protective measures such as clear vinyl wrap are recommended.

It’s worth noting that the Astra VXR/OPC is equipped with high-performance Italian Brembo brakes, although their excellence comes at a cost—both in terms of performance tires for the 20″ wheels and the associated expense. Furthermore, given the relative rarity of these cars and the discontinuation of Holden, obtaining exterior replacement parts, especially for the front bar or body panels, could be a challenging and costly endeavour.

 

Interior:

A common issue reported by owners is the breakage of handles or cables for the backseat entry mechanism, necessitating a challenging repair process involving disassembly of the entire seat back. Additionally, the reclining mechanism in both front seats may experience internal failures.

Other interior concerns include the wear and tear of centre console buttons and issues with the door stoppers, resulting in annoying clicking noises.

Electronic malfunctions, ranging from minor button problems to major HVAC issues requiring dashboard removal for repair, have been sporadically reported.

Complaints about infotainment systems are widespread, with instances of Bluetooth dropping out and overall functionality being subpar. While parts may be more affordable in the UK, shipping costs can offset the savings, leading some owners to spend more on postage than on the parts themselves.

 

Mechanically:

The Astra VXR/OPC is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from the 4-cylinder Ecotec family, known for its unreliable nature. Similar to earlier non-turbo variants, this engine is prone to timing chain failures, oil consumption, and piston issues.

The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, specifically, has its share of challenges, including potential timing chain issues resulting in catastrophic engine failure.

Water pump failures, while not more frequent than in other vehicles, can be troublesome due to their challenging accessibility.

Turbo complications, such as oil supply pipe leaks or blockages, are semi-common, with boost leaks also being reported.

Piston and ring land failures are noted, often attributed to aftermarket tuning. Modified cars are prone to engine and gearbox issues, emphasising the importance of considering only unmodified vehicles with a solid service history.

While unaltered and fastidiously maintained examples

Exterior:

Some owners have encountered issues with water accumulating in the tailgate channel. While there are occasional reports of electronic glitches, such as problems with door actuators and power windows and mirrors, these occurrences are not considered widespread.

A notable complaint from many owners revolves around the standard headlights, which are deemed insufficient for a flagship model.

Reports also indicate variations in fading among body panels as the car ages, particularly noticeable in vehicles kept outdoors. The paint finish, known for its lack of resilience, is prone to chipping and marking easily. To address potential wear, especially behind the front wheel and above the side skirts, protective measures such as clear vinyl wrap are recommended.

It’s worth noting that the Astra VXR/OPC is equipped with high-performance Italian Brembo brakes, although their excellence comes at a cost—both in terms of performance tires for the 20″ wheels and the associated expense. Furthermore, given the relative rarity of these cars and the discontinuation of Holden, obtaining exterior replacement parts, especially for the front bar or body panels, could be a challenging and costly endeavour.

 

Interior:

A common issue reported by owners is the breakage of handles or cables for the backseat entry mechanism, necessitating a challenging repair process involving disassembly of the entire seat back. Additionally, the reclining mechanism in both front seats may experience internal failures.

Other interior concerns include the wear and tear of centre console buttons and issues with the door stoppers, resulting in annoying clicking noises.

Electronic malfunctions, ranging from minor button problems to major HVAC issues requiring dashboard removal for repair, have been sporadically reported.

Complaints about infotainment systems are widespread, with instances of Bluetooth dropping out and overall functionality being subpar. While parts may be more affordable in the UK, shipping costs can offset the savings, leading some owners to spend more on postage than on the parts themselves.

 

Mechanically:

The Astra VXR/OPC is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from the 4-cylinder Ecotec family, known for its unreliable nature. Similar to earlier non-turbo variants, this engine is prone to timing chain failures, oil consumption, and piston issues.

The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, specifically, has its share of challenges, including potential timing chain issues resulting in catastrophic engine failure.

Water pump failures, while not more frequent than in other vehicles, can be troublesome due to their challenging accessibility.

Turbo complications, such as oil supply pipe leaks or blockages, are semi-common, with boost leaks also being reported.

Piston and ring land failures are noted, often attributed to aftermarket tuning. Modified cars are prone to engine and gearbox issues, emphasising the importance of considering only unmodified vehicles with a solid service history.

While unaltered and fastidiously maintained examples could be considered as generally reliable, the scarcity and costliness of certain parts pose significant challenges for owners and mechanics in the absence of Holden and Opel in Australia.

Exterior:

Some owners have encountered issues with water accumulating in the tailgate channel. While there are occasional reports of electronic glitches, such as problems with door actuators and power windows and mirrors, these occurrences are not considered widespread.

A notable complaint from many owners revolves around the standard headlights, which are deemed insufficient for a flagship model.

Reports also indicate variations in fading among body panels as the car ages, particularly noticeable in vehicles kept outdoors. The paint finish, known for its lack of resilience, is prone to chipping and marking easily. To address potential wear, especially behind the front wheel and above the side skirts, protective measures such as clear vinyl wrap are recommended.

It’s worth noting that the Astra VXR/OPC is equipped with high-performance Italian Brembo brakes, although their excellence comes at a cost—both in terms of performance tires for the 20″ wheels and the associated expense. Furthermore, given the relative rarity of these cars and the discontinuation of Holden, obtaining exterior replacement parts, especially for the front bar or body panels, could be a challenging and costly endeavour.

 

Interior:

A common issue reported by owners is the breakage of handles or cables for the backseat entry mechanism, necessitating a challenging repair process involving disassembly of the entire seat back. Additionally, the reclining mechanism in both front seats may experience internal failures.

Other interior concerns include the wear and tear of centre console buttons and issues with the door stoppers, resulting in annoying clicking noises.

Electronic malfunctions, ranging from minor button problems to major HVAC issues requiring dashboard removal for repair, have been sporadically reported.

Complaints about infotainment systems are widespread, with instances of Bluetooth dropping out and overall functionality being subpar. While parts may be more affordable in the UK, shipping costs can offset the savings, leading some owners to spend more on postage than on the parts themselves.

 

Mechanically:

The Astra VXR/OPC is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from the 4-cylinder Ecotec family, known for its unreliable nature. Similar to earlier non-turbo variants, this engine is prone to timing chain failures, oil consumption, and piston issues.

The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, specifically, has its share of challenges, including potential timing chain issues resulting in catastrophic engine failure.

Water pump failures, while not more frequent than in other vehicles, can be troublesome due to their challenging accessibility.

Turbo complications, such as oil supply pipe leaks or blockages, are semi-common, with boost leaks also being reported.

Piston and ring land failures are noted, often attributed to aftermarket tuning. Modified cars are prone to engine and gearbox issues, emphasising the importance of considering only unmodified vehicles with a solid service history.

While unaltered and fastidiously maintained examples could be considered as generally reliable, the scarcity and costliness of certain parts pose significant challenges for owners and mechanics in the absence of Holden and Opel in Australia.

Body Styles

  • 3 door Hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 206kW / 400Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Manual

Fuel Consumption

  • 6.6 – 10.5 / 100km

Length

  • 4466mm

Width

  • 2020mm

Height

  • 1482mm

Wheelbase

  • 2695mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1586kg

Towing

  • Not listed

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars (VXR)
  • 5 stars, tested 2013 (VXR)

Body Styles

  • 3 door Hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 206kW / 400Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Manual

Fuel Consumption

  • 6.6 – 10.5 / 100km

Length

  • 4466mm

Width

  • 2020mm

Height

  • 1482mm

Wheelbase

  • 2695mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1586kg

Towing

  • Not listed

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars (VXR)
  • 5 stars, tested 2013 (VXR)

Body Styles

  • 3 door Hatchback

Engine Specs

  • 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol, 206kW / 400Nm

Transmission

  • 6-speed Manual

Fuel Consumption

  • 6.6 – 10.5 / 100km

Length

  • 4466mm

Width

  • 2020mm

Height

  • 1482mm

Wheelbase

  • 2695mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1586kg

Towing

  • Not listed

Ancap Ratings

  • 5 stars (VXR)
  • 5 stars, tested 2013 (VXR)

Warranty

  • 3 years / 100,000 km

Servicing

  • 15,000 km / 9 months

Model range, pricing & features

Opel Astra OPC-1

VXR

Price when new: $39,990

Price used: $16,600 - $22,300

Equipment

  • 12V Socket(s) – Auxiliary
  • 20″ Alloy Wheels
  • 6 Speaker Stereo
  • ABS (Antilock Brakes)
  • Adjustable Steering Col. – Tilt & Reach
  • Air Cond. – Climate Control 2 Zone
  • Airbag – Driver
  • Airbag – Passenger
  • Airbags – Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • Airbags – Head for 2nd Row Seats
  • Airbags – Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front)
  • Ambient Lighting – Interior
  • Audio – Aux Input Socket (MP3/CD/Cassette)
  • Audio – Aux Input USB Socket
  • Audio – MP3 Decoder
  • Bluetooth System
  • Body Colour – Door Handles
  • Body Kit – Lower (skirts
  • F & R Aprons)
  • Brake Assist
  • CD Player
  • Cargo Tie Down Hooks/Rings
  • Central Locking – Remote/Keyless
  • Chrome Exhaust Tip(s)
  • Control – Electronic Damper
  • Control – Electronic Stability
  • Control – Park Distance Rear
  • Control – Traction
  • Cruise Control
  • Cup Holders – 1st Row
  • Daytime Running Lamps
  • Disc Brakes Front Ventilated
  • Disc Brakes Rear Solid
  • Door Pockets – 1st row (Front)
  • EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution)
  • Engine – Stop Start System (When at idle)
  • Flip/Fold Out Key
  • Floor Mats
  • Fog Lamp/s – Rear
  • GPS (Satellite Navigation)
  • Headlamp – High Beam Auto Dipping
  • Headlamps Automatic (light sensitive)
  • Heated Seats – 1st Row
  • Hill Holder
  • Illuminated Vanity Mirror for Front Passenger
  • Leather Seats – Nappa
  • Leather Seats – Perforated
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Leather Trim (Incl. Seats
  • inserts)
  • Multi-function Control Screen – Colour
  • Multi-function Steering Wheel
  • Park Brake – Electric
  • Pedals – Sports
  • Performance Brakes
  • Power Door Mirrors
  • Power Door Mirrors – Heated
  • Power Steering – Electric Assist
  • Power Windows – Front only
  • Power Windows – Remote Control Open/Close
  • Radio – Digital (DAB+)
  • Rain Sensor (Auto wipers)
  • Rear View Mirror – Electric Anti Glare
  • Scuff Plates (on door sills)
  • Seat – Bolsters Adjustable for Driver
  • Seat – Bolsters Adjustable for Front Passenger
  • Seat – Driver with Electric Lumbar
  • Seat – Passenger with Electric Lumbar
  • Seatbelt – Load Limiters 1st Row (Front)
  • Seatbelt – Pretensioners 1st Row (Front)
  • Seats – 2nd Row Split Fold
  • Spare Wheel – Space Saver/Temporary
  • Speed Limiter
  • Spoiler – Rear Roof Mounted
  • Sports Seats – 1st Row (Front)
  • Sunvisor – Illuminated Vanity Mirror for Driver
  • Tail Lamps – LED
  • Trip Computer
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring – with logging/display
  • Voice Recognition

MY16 update

  • Cargo Cover
  • Grab Handle – Drivers Side
  • Grab Handle – Passengers Side
  • Headlamps – Electric Level Adjustment
  • Leather Look – Steering Wheel
  • Leather Seats – Partial
  • Leather Trim – Partial
  • Smart Device App Display/Control
  • Tyre Repair Kit

Before we provide insights on whether you should consider purchasing the 2014-2015 Holden Astra VXR / 2012-2013 Opel Astra OPC, it’s important to note that our research involved discussions with owners in various forums and owners’ groups. These enthusiasts consistently express love for their cars, with the majority indicating they would willingly choose the model again.

Setting aside potential future issues, the Astra proves to be an impressive vehicle. However, the caution against buying one is not directed at the car itself; rather, it stems from the challenges associated with ownership.

The absence of Holden and Australia’s apparent low priority for General Motors raises significant concerns when it comes to obtaining spare parts. The cost of these parts, coupled with maintenance expenses, contributes to a substantial and concerning level of depreciation.

For those who are true and dedicated fans, acquiring one of these vehicles and taking the necessary steps to keep it on the road is a viable option due to its inherent greatness.

However, if the allure of high performance and practicality at a seemingly unbeatable price is what tempts you, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the deal may be too good to be true. Considering the potential difficulties in sourcing parts, the associated costs, and the depreciation factor, it may be advisable to explore alternative options.

Before we provide insights on whether you should consider purchasing the 2014-2015 Holden Astra VXR / 2012-2013 Opel Astra OPC, it’s important to note that our research involved discussions with owners in various forums and owners’ groups. These enthusiasts consistently express love for their cars, with the majority indicating they would willingly choose the model again.

Setting aside potential future issues, the Astra proves to be an impressive vehicle. However, the caution against buying one is not directed at the car itself; rather, it stems from the challenges associated with ownership.

The absence of Holden and Australia’s apparent low priority for General Motors raises significant concerns when it comes to obtaining spare parts. The cost of these parts, coupled with maintenance expenses, contributes to a substantial and concerning level of depreciation.

For those who are true and dedicated fans, acquiring one of these vehicles and taking the necessary steps to keep it on the road is a viable option due to its inherent greatness.

However, if the allure of high performance and practicality at a seemingly unbeatable price is what tempts you, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the deal may be too good to be true. Considering the potential difficulties in sourcing parts, the associated costs, and the depreciation factor, it may be advisable to explore alternative options.

Before we provide insights on whether you should consider purchasing the 2014-2015 Holden Astra VXR / 2012-2013 Opel Astra OPC, it’s important to note that our research involved discussions with owners in various forums and owners’ groups. These enthusiasts consistently express love for their cars, with the majority indicating they would willingly choose the model again.

Setting aside potential future issues, the Astra proves to be an impressive vehicle. However, the caution against buying one is not directed at the car itself; rather, it stems from the challenges associated with ownership.

The absence of Holden and Australia’s apparent low priority for General Motors raises significant concerns when it comes to obtaining spare parts. The cost of these parts, coupled with maintenance expenses, contributes to a substantial and concerning level of depreciation.

For those who are true and dedicated fans, acquiring one of these vehicles and taking the necessary steps to keep it on the road is a viable option due to its inherent greatness.

However, if the allure of high performance and practicality at a seemingly unbeatable price is what tempts you, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the deal may be too good to be true. Considering the potential difficulties in sourcing parts, the associated costs, and the depreciation factor, it may be advisable to explore alternative options.

Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of Jan 12, 2024.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

Read our full terms and conditions here.

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