Consumer Reports Gives Astra 'Very Good' Rating

CR road tested the Volkswagen Rabbit S, Subaru Impreza Outback Sport, Toyota Matrix S, Saturn Astra XE, Mini Cooper Clubman, and Scion xD in the June 2008 issue of its magazine. According to their testers, the vehicles were ranked in the order above with the 5-door Astra coming in fourth place. Nonetheless, the compact Saturn hatchback was rated "very good" for how well it performed.

The Astra has responsive handling, body lean is limited, and steering is quick and direct, although some felt it was too lightly weighted. We recommend the optional stability control. Our ESC-equipped tested car was stable and secure and posted a notably high speed through our avoidance maneuver. The absorbent ride is taut and controlled with a tied-down feel at speed. Noise levels are fairly quiet overall, though road noise is distinct over rough surfaces, and the generally civilized engine sometimes sounds strained. The interior appears simple but is mostly of solid construction. Basic cloth seats and a pleasant rubber steering wheel are paired with some nice soft finishes on the door panels and dash. Drivers have lots of room, and the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel has a good range of adjustment, so most found a very good position. We found the seats quite firm at first, but the lasting support is appreciated on long trips. While there is no lumbar adjustment, most drivers found lower-back support sufficient.

Source: Consumer Reports

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L-Series May be Renamed 'Saturn V'

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In a move that may indicate Saturn has concerns that its three-letter naming convention won't be successful in the ultra-competitive midsize market, SaturnFans.com has learned that the company may be looking into its past for inspiration in naming its upcoming midsize sport wagon. It has been known for quite some time that Saturn will drop the L-Series moniker when the car is redesigned in 2006.