2009 Saturn Astra

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I live right by an elementary school and have to drive by it to get home.  The past few days I have noticed this sharp looking white 5-door compact and can’t help but wonder who makes that car.  Turns out it is the new Saturn Astra.

I know yesterday it was mentioned that GM and Chrysler have their work cut out for them. GM, who I think is ahead of the game over Chrysler, deserves major credit when they decided to bring the Saturn Astra over from Europe.  This isn’t a new car for GM as the Saturn Astra is based on a Opel and Vauxhall car that has been selling for years in Europe.

The Astra is available in either a teenager friendly 3-Door or a family friendly 5-door, both equipped with a 1.8 L Variable Valve timing engine capable of a modest 138 HP.  I wasn’t joking about the teenager friendly 3-door,  it is supplied with stiffer suspension, 15 mm lower ride height over the 5-door and a quicker ratio power steering rack.  Both body types can be optioned with an automatic, but come equipped with a 5 speed manual.  With the low horsepower number, one would expect the fuel economy to be high and it is with 24 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway.

Unfortunately,  nothing is terribly superb on the technical side of the car, in fact there are several manufactures that produce significantly better vehicles that have six speeds and higher horsepower for the $16,000 to $19,000 price range.  However, most of the manufacturers, like Toyota and Honda, produce typically bland vehicles that are capable of reaching a wider variety of people without offending them visually.  Not that I think the Astra is capable of offending anybody visually, but I think GM wanted to play it conservatively, so they placed it in the Saturn line-up.  I for one think the car visually stands out from the typical fuel sipping crowd.  I just hope Saturn can make a more performance oriented one. Anyways, the Astra has my attention and I wouldn’t be ashamed to be driving the 3-door version anywhere.

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All Pictures © 2008 General Motors

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Banpei on 01.09.09 at 2:25 am

That’s a rebadged Vauxhall/Opel Astra. ;)
And it is built in Belgium:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opel_Astra

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