2008 Saturn Astra XE Four-Door Hatchback Test Drive

From CanadianDriver.com: Saturn sold its first cars, the S-series sedan, wagon and coupe, in 1991. That same year, GM Europe's Opel division debuted its Astra compact. Do you suppose anyone knew that, some 17 years later, the Astra would become a Saturn?

Probably not, but the 2008 Astra is the Saturn that everyone has been waiting 17 years for. Originally conceived as GM's "import fighters," those first Saturns never made the cut against established compacts from overseas.

To say expectations of the Astra were high is a massive understatement. With Saturn finally getting the point that the best way to beat the imports might be to join them, the hope was this might be the car to unseat the Mazda3 as the reigning king of the compact segment. Not because the Mazda3 doesn't deserve to be at the top; rather, because having more good cars for consumers to choose from is better.

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Plug-in Vue Coming 'in 2009-ish'

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Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak told reporters in Frankfurt at the 2007 International Motor Show that progress was moving along "very quickly," and the brand will introduce a plug-in version of its Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid "in 2009-ish."

Lajdziak was in Germany to unveil the production version of the 2008 Saturn Astra hatchback.