Video: Saturn Astra is a Leap in the Right Direction

Amyot Bachand from Canada's Auto123 website recently reviewed a 2008 Saturn Astra 5-door XE and posted both a written and video review of the car. "The interior is surprisingly quiet for such an entry-level car," he said. "It's easy to keep up a conversation and appreciate the sweet-sounding audio system." In addition, the "the front heated seats of our XE 1SB tester were accommodating and nicely supportive."

Offering a rebadged Opel Astra will only help GM's freshly revitalized division. Saturn executives, under the supervision of Bob Lutz, will score a lot of points with this hatchback, the build quality and driving dynamics of which will meet the expectations of compact car buyers. The 1.8L 4-cylinder is a good fit for the Astra. We both liked the precise steering as it improves driving dynamics. Handling is commendable and, despite noticeable body roll due to the smooth suspension, the car is both agile and comfortable on the road. Of course, the standard 16-inch wheels play a huge role, helping the Astra stick to the road in corners and behave predictably, according to Bertrand. As for the brakes, the pedal seemed spongy at first and then progressively firm. It took me 43 meters to stop from 100 to 0 km/h with the 5-door Astra. In the snow, despite the lack of winter tires, the stability and traction control systems delivered the goods without being too intrusive.

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Saturn Flextreme Concept Highlights

According to General Motors, the Flextreme previews new elements of Saturn and Opel design language, including more sculpted surfacing molding, clear style elements such as narrow, boomerang-shaped lights and a sloping feature line in the side graphics. The vehicle also marks the return of a popular Saturn feature from the past: quad coupe doors.