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2008 Saturn Astra Preview

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Khatir Soltani
Opel, one of GM's many worldwide divisions, provides more than just the basis for the next new Saturn product; it is essentially the same car. The Astra, which is the Opel's original name, replaces the aging Ion and is the final piece in the renewal of the Saturn brand.

Body configurations include 3- and 5-door hatchbacks. As for the powertrain, a 1.8L ECOTEC 4-cylinder engine will be offered. Its output is rated at 140 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque. Selectable transmissions are a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual. Wheel sizes will vary between 16 and 18 inches. Safety features will include ABS brakes and available stability control.

The Astra goes on sale in the 4th quarter of 2007 when it will compete directly with the Dodge Caliber, Volkswagen Rabbit, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Mazda3. An Astra Red Line could be available later on and will sport the same 260-hp supercharged ECOTEC 2.0L found in the Sky Red Line.

According to GM, the Opel Astra sold over 500,000 units across Europe in 2006 alone, and the car is one of the safest in its category. The Saturn version will cross the ocean with very few changes to both the exterior and the interior.

Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada