Saturn Astra test drive coming up.

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That’s right.
I am getting a Saturn Astra to drive for a few days,starting at the end of this week.
Not sure what color, but I know it’s the automatic version (Most popular one)
I chose the 3 door. Just because I really like the way it looks.
I remember seeing pictures of it when it came out in europe a few years ago and thinking it was too bad we couldn’t get it over here.
So now we can. And I’m just curious.

I have to say I was not too impressed with the interior when I sat in it at the Detroit Auto Show. (the 5 door model)
Even if it is a German car, it is after all, an almost 4 year old design. Due to be replaced in Europe next year by an all new car.
(Although the coupe came out a bit later)

I have seen maybe 2 of these cars on the road. And I don’t think this is a hit for Saturn (I’ll get exact figures from them later)
You would think it would at least compete with the Rabbit over here. I guess most people don’t even know it is a German car.

We’ll see. At least I’ll look good driving it ( But I always do, no matter what I drive…)

If you have any questions, go ahead.

Conversation 13 comments

  1. Isn’t the Astra’s platform somehow related to the Cobalt/G5? Whether it is or not, try to compare the differences of those if you have driven them in the past; and compare the Astra to what you have driven that is considered its competition.

  2. Oh no not the 4 speed auto. From the reviews I read, you really need the standard to make this car feel alive.

  3. Vince-
    If it’s an automatic, I heard it shifts to neutral when stopped and idling? Check that out.

    Any lag in the gas pedal?

    If it’s a manual, how does it shift?

    Also I heard the engine is slow in responsiveness and very slow to get to 60mph. Check that out! thanks vince! keep up the good work!

  4. I wonder what kind of mileage this car gets in the real world. Honda dealers around here are adding 1000 bucks to Fit retail due to “Market Conditions”…Autoweek loved the Astra so it might be a decent alternative. But of course as we all know if it’s Burlapp you know it’s right, so I will await your report.

  5. I haven’t seen a single one on the road. Not a surprise, since I haven’t seen any advertising at all for the Astra.

  6. oh boy… the Astra is German designed, German engineered, and manufacturered in Belgium.. I don’t think it has ANY North American parts in it…

    I’m sure a Honda Civic is more American than this car..

    And the interior does look kind of cryptic.. I’m a bit worried about the price, though.. Saturns are still non-negotiable, and its really easy to option an Astra up to almost the $20K mark with few options; thats almost Accord/Altima territory…

  7. hey vince, i drove one of these about 3 weeks ago and liked everything about the car except the powertrain. if your anything like me i think u’ll feel the same way. the toyota 1.8L just doesn’t have enough guts to get the thing moving, especially with the a/c on. other than the motor i thought the car had a very well built interior, a little dull but well built. let me kno what u think of the motor. and also the handling is incredible.

  8. Toyota 1.8? Where did you get that from? The Astra uses GM’s good old fashioned Ecotec II 1.8 unit that’s been available in any number of smaller GM products since the late 90s.

    With regards to the handling, the Astra would be even more fun if you guys could get the chassis settings used by the Vauxhall version (Vauxhall suspension is traditionally tuned by Lotus to suit the sportier drive British drivers favour, and to suit our crappy road surfaces), instead of the slightly softer, more pedestrian Opel setup, which has probably been softened even more to suit American tastes.

    Douchebag obviously can’t seperate the car’s branding from its country of origin. So to clarify for him, the Saturn brand is most definitely American, but the Astra was conceived, designed and engineered in Germany and the UK, with little or no American involvement (apart from financial, as the owner of Opel/Vauxhall).

  9. I rented one of these in Europe (Opel Astra) I would honestly have to say it was the worst vehicle I ever drove. No power, handles like crap, I felt unsafe, and not the greatest gas mileage, small and uncomfortable, loud road noise, poor visability, ect…… GM is really going down hill or should I say not improving or keeping up with others. This is proved by the rapidly declining sales.

  10. Awesome…the doom & gloom about GM people have already posted here;) Now, go buy your loud, ugly Honda or Toyota with crooked panels and trans lag and smile.

    That said, the Astra is an impressive car and largely so in just the regard of overall feel–it has a solid “thunk” substance typical to Euro cars but still very foreign here, with small cars. It is an older design (hence why as soon as the US gets it, the all new model is shown elsewhere), but a great vehicle nonetheless. The 1.8L isn’t a road-burner but people who aren’t addicted to always having surplus power “just because” very much like how it moves and especially so the economy. Little touches like auto shifting to neutral at a stop is just more of the clever thinking.

    These “Euro” GM’s are soon going to take over Saturn completely, and that’s a great thing. The issue right now is that they’re great products, but Saturn as a brand is loosing interest through a lack of advertising and also through the going away of their craptacular plastic cars that so many Saturn loyalists love.

    Vince, your reviews are always great and “real world”, so it will be interesting to see what you think of the overall solidity/refinement, power/economy, and just overall features and comfort of the car. It’s not the typical small econobox, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  11. I don’t understand why you can’t get the cobalt’s 2.4 in this 🙁 I’ve driven one many times and it has adaquate power and would be perfect for the Astra…and it’s still a fuel sipper!

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