Sporty New Saturn Astra XR

Clint Williams from the Cox News Service recently reviewed the 2008 Saturn Astra. While he thought the Astra could use more power, Williams was impressed with all of the uplevel features found in his test vehicle. "The Astra offers rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, a couple of nice features you wouldn't expect at this price," he wrote.

The drawback with most economical compact cars is that they look, well, economical. Or worse, cute. The 2008 Saturn Astra, on the other hand, offers striking styling that will turn some heads. The sportiness isn't just skin deep. The Astra, built in Europe where it's sold wearing the Opel badge, is solid to drive thanks to taut steering and a tight suspension. The interior is well-built, but retains some of the European quirks of the Opel. There is a single front-seat cupholder, for example. And it's stuck on the center console behind the driver's seating position. But, on the plus side, there are two sunglass holders, one above the driver's side front window, one above the front passenger's window.

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GM Frustrates Saturn Retailers, Puts them in a Competitive Bind

Saturn of Denville, New Jersey

Two days after the Wall Street Journal reported that General Motors has been formally discouraging Saturn retailers from touting Roger Penske's planned purchase of the brand, comes word that GM has also pulled funding for a number of popular incentive programs that were previously offered by Saturn stores.