Tirekicker Reviews the Saturn Astra XR

Michael Hagerty is the self-proclaimed "Tirekicker," and he recently took at look at the Saturn 3- and 5-door Saturn Astra XR. "They both feel like they're carved out of solid blocks of steel," he wrote. "GM deserves to be rewarded for leaving well enough alone with the Astra."

GM should be applauded for what it's done with the Saturn Astra. It has taken the car known as the Opel Astra in Germany, put it on a boat and shipped it to the States. Period. Yes, that means you actually have to read the owner's manual to find out what the symbols on the controls represent. But it also means that the controls haven't been switched out for cheaper plastics, that the suspension pieces haven't been traded for ones giving a softer ride at the expense of control and that stuff the Europeans get standard can't be made optional. The Astra is exceptionally well-equipped. The 5-door XR comes with a 1.8 liter 16-valve four cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitor, a theft deterrent system, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, power door locks, a seven-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system and 16 inch alloy wheels. The 3-door comes with all that, but with 17 inch alloy wheels.

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General Motors to Auction Near-Classics from Corporate Museum

Flashback Friday: 1,000,000th Saturn

Jalopnik.com reports General Motors will auction off a number of vehicles from its vaunted Heritage Center museum collection in an effort to raise cash to help offset the huge losses the company is faced with due to the global financial crisis. There are about 1000 vehicles of historical significance in storage that GM uses for the displays at the museum, but only about 150 to 200 of those vehicles can be featured at one time. On the list of vehicles to be auctioned are several notable Saturns from the past. The website says they will be sold at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson auction held January 13-19 in Scottsdale, Arizona.