Freewheeling in a Buyer's Market

Evelyn Kanter from Motor Matters "selected some desirable models priced at less than $20,000 to put on your radar screen" if you're in the market for a new car. The Saturn Astra made her list, along with the Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen New Beetle, Nissan Versa, Jeep Patriot, and Toyota Tacoma. "While fuel prices have skyrocketed," she wrote, "the cost of a new car still remains affordable." Read what she had to say about the Astra.

The Saturn Astra has been popular in Europe for several years, under GM's Opel brand. Introduced to North America this year, it replaces the unpopular Saturn Ion. The Astra has smart styling inside and out, with an interior that feels more upscale than other vehicles in this price range, including contoured seats with real side bolsters that feel solid. Maybe it's the European heritage. The five-door model has more trunk space than the three-door, and in both models the rear seats fold down for additional cargo space. Suggested retail is $15,875 to $18,375.

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E-Flex Opel May Preview Upcoming Saturn Concept

Automotive News reports that General Motors' European Opel brand will unveil a new diesel-powered electric concept vehicle at the Frankfurt Auto Show next week. The magazine also says the futuristic Opel Vectra will also provide a preview of a similar diesel-powered Saturn Aura that's expected to be showcased at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this winter.