New Astra Represents a Giant Leap for Saturn

 Climbing into the Saturn Astra, which replaced the ION sedan, I admire the seats. They actually have firm side bolsters and a firm, supportive feel. They’re perfect for the weekend autocross enthusiast. The Astra also has a firm ride. A very firm ride. Although it is no speed demon the 1.8L 4CYL engine with 138 horsepower gets 30.3 miles per gallon.

This saturn comes with a standard 5 speed manual transmission and a four speed automatic is optional. The hatchback version is sold as a two-door and also as a four-door. The interior lives up to its heritage with a unusually large cargo area with a split rear seat that folds for cargo carrying. The two door version options include a upgraded sound system with MP3 player, handsome 18-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

Today, many buyers still prefer European cars because of the suspension, tuning, handling, and design rather than snob appeal. European cars have a better feel than their American and Japanese counterparts. Now we have the Saturn Astra, a German-designed hatchback from GM. It’s the best small car GM has sold in the United States in decades. If you’re considering a Mazda3, Volkswagen Rabbit or Honda Civic, try this one out before you buy.


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