Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

Brian Harper from the Canwest News Service: Saturn is on borrowed time as a General Motors brand, jettisoned along with Pontiac, Hummer and Saab by the automotive giant. This is a crying shame because Saturn's lineup, after a couple of decades of corporate indifference, comprises an eclectic mix of interesting and entertaining vehicles. The Astra might be the brand's least expensive product, but it's also one of the most impressive. This European-derived subcompact (thank GM's Opel division) made its debut for the 2008 model year, making enough of an impact to not only take the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's Best New Small Car category last year but also to be a finalist for overall Car of the Year honors. So, why should anyone care about the fate of one little car belonging to a secondary GM brand? How about for no other reason than the enjoyment of driving the XR is far beyond the hatchback's position as a sporty, entry-level product. In other words, take advantage of whatever deal a Saturn store will offer because the Astra's engineering and features make it a real steal.

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It's been more than three years since General Motors announced it was shuttering its "different kind of car" division. At the time, Roger Penske was attempting to purchase the brand and possibly stock it with cars sourced from plants in the US, South Korea, Mexico, or even Europe. Ultimately Mr. Penske couldn't get a deal done within GM's tight timeframes and Saturn was closed. While frantically attempting to keep up with rumors swirling around Saturn that fateful year, I made a decision to rethink the way I was collecting and reporting the news. In the midst of all the uncertainty surrounding Saturn, I began to draw up plans for new and improved version of SaturnFans.com that could not only help visitors track what Saturn news was happening, but where it was happening as it was happening.