Road Test: Kiss My Astra

Jill Ciminillo from the Chicago Sun Times: The exterior lines of the Astra are very sleek and smooth, both in the five-door and three-door models. I liked the bold Saturn grille, but it's the taillights that seal the deal. As another journalist passed me in the fast lane, I had a moment to ponder the (cough) Astra, and it was stunning. The chromed outline on the taillights connected by the chromelike bar create a very nice posterior profile. With a plethora of standard features and a fun-to-drive sensibility, the Astra hits the market at a time when buyers are looking for more car at a lower price. The hatchback makes it utilitarian and the Saturn styling makes it attractive. While Astra doesn't hit the sub-$15K mark, I think it's worth it for the extra $1K. Overall, I thought this new entry from Saturn was kick (cough) Astra.

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Breaking News: Auto Industry Bailout Plan Dies in the Senate

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Associated Press: A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts. The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the UAW union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers.