Medium size auto advice - Kingpin
I drive a 16 mile commute each morning into work through heavy traffic, takes between 45 minutes and one hour depending on if school term time congestion a problem. Considering changing to a modest automatic to take away some of the strain. There seems to be a lot of Astra (old shape) automatics available 2003/4 with the 1.6 8 valve engine. I suspect this may be a bit slow coupled with 4 speed auto transmission as it is rated around 75 to 80 hp with a medium size body to lug around. Although not the 16 valve 'Ecowreck' it may be an interference type if the cambelt goes?
An alternative is the Nissan Almera of same vintage with 1.8 chain cam engine. Although worse image and rather 'thin' bodywork it has a durable reputation. Reading the comments on another post about 100,00 mile Civic perhaps this is the way to go. Although tempted by diesel for relaxed driving style and economy the petrol auto is preferred option.
Has anyone else experienced the Astra auto?

Medium size auto advice - edisdead {P}
I've driven plenty of Honda autos and all have been easy to drive and reliable. I can't give a definitive answer on economy in constant heavy traffic but should imagine you would still achieve 35ish mpg in a 1.4/1.5 Civic auto. Not sure about the Astra auto, but I would be leaning in favour of the Almera due to its reputation for reliability. I believe NoWheels has one? If economy is important have you considered smaller cars like Yaris or Micra? These are likely to be nippier in traffic. Perhaps performance is not necessarily the be-all and end-all if you can only average 15-20mph on your commute?
Medium size auto advice - local yokel
How much are you prepared to spend?
Medium size auto advice - Dynamic Dave
Has anyone else experienced the Astra auto?

My dad has a 51 reg 1.6 16v Astra auto Club. Apart from the ecu light coming on after 2½ years of ownership (replacement coil pack & lambda sensor to cure the fault under warranty) he has had no further problems - touch wood.

Gearboxes are pretty well bullet proof (Ask Aprilia's opinion)
The 16v engine is not half as bad as *some* people make them out to be. I beleive the 8v engine will suffer damage if the cambelt snaps, BUT providing you stick to the recommended interval of having the belt & tensioners (ie, a cam belt kit) changed every 4 yrs / 40,000 miles, as well as the water pump every 80,000 miles, then the likely hood of the belt snapping is very slim, regardless of whether it be an 8v or 16v engine.

With regard to your comment "There seems to be a lot of Astra (old shape) automatics available 2003/4 with the 1.6 8 valve engine." These *could* well be mobility cars. They tend to get issued for 3 yrs, before being replaced.
Medium size auto advice - ukbeefy
Yes I think they are. Looking recently with a mate who qualifies for Motability the deals available on Vauxhalls were very competitive especially the Astra. You could even get the 3 door Coupe in a the poshest trim for about the same as a Renault Clio/Honda Jazz.

I would imagine that maybe 50% of mid and smaller size autos are motability originally?

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