|Compact car; Built in Belgium|
|Good condition price range: $8,000 – $10,000*|
2008 Saturn Astra Front
2008 Saturn Astra Rear
2008 Saturn Astra Interior
2008 Saturn Astra Profile
Astra’s array of standard features and safety equipment, affordable base new-car price, and fresh exterior styling, made it a must-see for compact car shoppers. More stylish and refined than a Dodge Caliber, the Astra promises similar utility. If you can get past quirks like a confounding audio system interface and a sometimes noisy, stiff ride, Astra has the potential to impress those looking for a European-flavored take on compact utility-especially the four-door model.
Introduced for 2008, the Saturn Astra replaced the Ion as this GM division’s new entry-level car. Markedly different from prior Saturn models, the compact front-drive 2008 Astra hatchback shared its basic design with the Opel Astra built by General Motors’ European subsidiary. The base XE came only as a four-door; the top-line XR came as a four-door and a two-door. All used a 140-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. A sport suspension and 17-inch wheels were standard on the XR two-door and optional for the XR four-door.
Standard safety features included curtain side airbags, front side airbags, and antilock brakes. An antiskid system and traction control were optional. Also available was OnStar assistance and, for four-door models, a two-panel sunroof that Saturn claimed was the largest in its class. Available features also included leather upholstery and heated front seats. Astra rivals included the Dodge Caliber, Honda Civic, Mazda 3, and Volkswagen Rabbit. Note that the Astra had conventional steel body panels, not the dent-resistant plastic panels that were once a Saturn hallmark.
No major changes were evident on the 2009 Astra, except for the crucial fact that it would be sold only in Canada.