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Saturn Astra



 
 
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Old February 25th 07, 11:06 AM posted to rec.autos.makers.saturn
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Default Saturn Astra

http://nctd.com/sneakpreview.cfm?Veh...ReviewI D=149

2008 Saturn Astra

By John Rettie

On Sale: Fall 2007
Expected Pricing: $15,000-$20,000


Saturn is launching a new car to replace the Ion compact this fall.
The introduction of the 2008 Saturn Astra, revealed to the American
public at the Chicago auto show, will complete a revamp of the entire
Saturn lineup that began little over a year ago.

The new Saturn Astra is essentially a federalized version of the Opel
Astra. The snazzy looking Astra is a common sight there, and was the
top-selling model in its segment last year, outselling the Ford
Focus.

The new 2008 Saturn Astra will be available as a three-door coupe or a
five-door hatchback.

Both the three-door coupe and the five-door hatchback will follow the
modern European look with a sleek front end and large rear end. The
five-door model has close to a vertical tailgate while the three-door
model has a sloping tailgate with an interesting wrap around taillight
treatment.

Opinions seemed to be equally divided among visitors to the Chicago
auto show as to which version looked best. Some liked the five-door
best, while others thought the sportier three-door with it's lower
roof line and larger wheels was far more attractive.

Inside, there is room for five passengers. The 60/40 split rear seat
folds down for increased storage space. When the seats are in use
there is 12 cubic feet of storage space under the cargo cover. Fold
down the back seats and this grows to 45 cubic feet, measured up to
the ceiling.

The instrument pod is located in front of the steering wheel and
incorporates two large circular gauges for the speedometer and
tachometer with a small analog fuel gauge between them. The center
stack has a smooth faux aluminum finish. The controls are operated by
large knobs.

The Astra will be offered in two trim levels, XE and XR. All models
will be powered by GM's 1.8-liter Ecotec engine with variable valve
timing producing 140 horsepower. Transmission choices are a five-speed
manual or four-speed automatic.

Safety features on all Astra models include dual-stage frontal air
bags, front seat-mounted side air bags to help protect front occupants
and head curtain air bags for front- and rear-seat occupants. Other
safety features include active head restraints, collapsible pedals,
front safety belt pretensioners and load limiters plus OnStar with one
year of Safe & Sound service. StabiliTrak electronic stability control
system with traction control is standard on the three-door, and
optional on five-door models.

The Astra replaces the Ion as the lowest priced model in the Saturn
lineup, although it will likely be priced a few thousand dollars
higher when it goes on sale in the fall.

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