Astra a "Solid Addition" to Saturn Stable

Saturn Astra XR 3-Door

Matthew Haase from the Canwest News Service really enjoyed driving the 2008 Saturn Astra. "This Euro-hatch can bring out the sporty driver in almost anyone," he wrote. "The Macpherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension provide a firm, but not jarring ride, allowing drivers to carve up corners with confidence."

My Astra XR tester didn't disappoint. On the outside, the five-door hatchback retains all of its edginess that sets it apart from its Japanese competitors and makes it such a huge hit in Europe. The sharp edges begin at the chrome front grille and carry their way back over the car, with just a hint of curves thrown in at the ends of the bodywork. Flared wheel arches give a slightly muscular look to the Astra. The arching roofline gives a sporty profile while leaving plenty of headroom front and rear. Small flashings of chrome appear along the sides of the Astra's beltline and on the hatch gate. Inside, the European style is apparent. Bits of aluminum-coloured trim carry across the dash into the door panels. A chunky, three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel houses audio and computer control switches.

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Aura Concept Unveiled to Workers at Fairfax Plant

Even though production of Saturn Aura sedan isn't scheduled to start until the summer of 2006, the company unveiled a concept version of the car to UAW workers at General Motors' Fairfax, Kansas assembly plant yesterday. Reaction to the new model was very positive. "We're excited about it," Dave Peterson, president of United Auto Workers Local 31, told the Associated Press.