Review of the 2008 Saturn Astra 5-door XR

2008 Saturn Astra Road Test Photos

John Heilig from The Auto Page loved the details surrounding the 2008 Saturn Astra XR 5-door that he drove. "You recognize its European heritage with the 'switchblade' key that looks as if it came form the Audi/VW parts bin," he wrote. "The Astra has projector beam headlights nestled in plastic-covered nacelles. They consist of three units on each side and they're very impressive in a small car. It's what you'd expect in a high-end mid-size for example."

Saturn has always been the GM division that's different. From the beginning, it disassociated itself from GM and went through its early life as almost a separate company. You can do that with GM behind you. Now, however, the division is a true GM division with all the good and bad that entails. Saturn has developed its own cars on non-common GM platforms. It has shared platforms for some vehicles. And it the case of the Astra, it has "raided" GM of Europe for its vehicles. The Astra, which replaces the Ion in Saturn's lineup, is built in Antwerp, Belgium. The car that has sprouted out of this marriage of sorts is a worthy competitor in the newly burgeoning hatchback segment. It is a vehicle that can compete on equal terms with the VW Rabbit, Mazda3 and Honda Civic.

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Video: On the Road to Change with the DC-Bound Saturn Vue Two-Mode Hybrid Caravan

Saturn sent ten two-mode Hybrid Vues on a road trip from Detroit, Michigan to Washington, DC to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The team collected well wishes for the new president at OSU, PSU, and Howard University students along the way.