Nimble, Compact '08 Saturn Astra Hatchback Ready to Shine

From the Calgary Herald: There has been a renaissance in the Saturn lineup, starting with the boldly styled Sky roadster, the Aura sedan and the Outlook and redesigned Vue crossovers. Ironically, the Sky is now the oldest product wearing the Saturn badge, while the compact Astra is the youngster in the family.

Already, the Astra is making such a splash with critics that it will surely spark that rush of shoppers Burton and his dealers are seeking. Not only did the Astra top all entries in the tough small car category at the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada annual Car of the Year competition, it earned enough respect to be a finalist for Canadian Car of the Year. It was in the hunt with a pair of hot Audis - pretty heady company for an upstart compact. Ultimately, the underdog Astra was swept aside by the voters' overwhelming love affair with the ultra-impressive R8 sports car. But there was some solace in knowing one could have a new Astra for every day of the week - plus one to spare - for what it would cost to put that R8 in the driveway.

The reason behind all the praise for the Astra is that it's a small car that does most things well - and it does them with a touch of panache.

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Plug-In Vue Hybrid Previewed at "Plug-In 2008" Convention

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Saturn Vue Green Line Plug-In Hybrid

GMnext contributor Matt Kelly talked to Larry Nitz, GM's executive director of powertrain engineering, at "Plug-In 2008" in San Jose, California last month about the upcoming Saturn Vue Plug-In Hybrid. He was excited by what he heard and saw. "The vehicle's lithium-ion battery will allow it to double its fuel economy for about 20 miles," Kelly wrote on the GMnext blog.