Saturn Astra Sticks with a Good Thing

Charles Renny from the Star Phoenix walked away very impressed after test driving the Saturn Astra. He enjoyed the car's powertrain, suspension, and use of interior space. "Sitting in the back when the front seat is set for someone my size is much better than I thought," he wrote in his review. "When I looked at the amount of space available, I thought there is no way. Then I got in and found that Saturn has made very good use of space."

After taking the Astra for a drive, I have to agree with GM; there isn't any need to make serious changes. They got it pretty much right the first time. My test unit was a five-door XR model. XE five-door and XR three-door versions are also available. As a five door, the doors are a bit smaller than on the three door, but getting in and out of the front is just as easy as with a three-door. Getting in and out of the back is just about as easy with the three door, but I give the edge to the five-door for convenience. The company claims that the three-door is more oriented towards sport than the five-door, but you would never be able to tell from how much fun I had diving deep into corners and generally playing wonder racer on every corner. Tires were actually the limiting factor is how well I could corner. If I did make a mistake the nose would usually start to go away and it would start to push out gradually with the tire moaning and squealing noises that we expect. Scrub off a bit of speed and everything comes back to normal. Normal is many things to many people and the Astra is no exception. This car will haul a young family, let dad be a boy hero and mom still has a grocery getter. When you need an infant seat, it can be easily installed. Better yet, there is enough space that you can get the kids in and out of their seats without having to go to a chiropractor.

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Safe Outlook: GM Lambda Crossovers Earn Insurance Institute "Top Safety Pick" Award

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General Motors' lineup of award-winning crossovers today adds the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick 2008 to the growing list of accolades. The significant safety award results from the GMC Acadia meeting the Institute's highest rating for performance in its demanding front, side and rear impacts in addition to providing standard Stabilitrak, GM's electronic stability control system. The IIHS test results also apply to the GMC Acadia's sister vehicles: the Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook, and soon to be released Chevy Traverse.