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Old 05-28-2009, 10:44 PM   #1
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Default Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

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Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

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Brian Harper from the Canwest News Service: Saturn is on borrowed time as a General Motors brand, jettisoned along with Pontiac, Hummer and Saab by the automotive giant. This is a crying shame because Saturn's lineup, after a couple of decades of corporate indifference, comprises an eclectic mix of interesting and entertaining vehicles.

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Old 05-29-2009, 07:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

What a nitt-witt! The Astra is NOT a subcompact. It is not even a compact car. The EPA rate the 2008 Astra as a MID-SIZE car based off the interior volume measurements. Jeessh, if you are going to tout a car's attributes, then at least get the size right first! The Astra was NEVER designed to compete with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Mini Cooper, VW Beetle and Chevy Aveo.

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Old 05-29-2009, 08:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

Your right, it is not a sub-compact. I wouldn't characterize it as affordable either.

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Old 05-29-2009, 09:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

Affordable, yes. The pricing structure has guaranteed that the General will lose money on every Astra they sell. I have not found another car in the Astra's price range ($15,00 - $21,000) that has the level of equipment that the Astra does. VW comes the closest.

Subcompact, no. In Europe the Astra is considered a "C" class car this puts it in the size range of VW Golf, Mercedes C-class and BMW 1 Series.

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Old 05-29-2009, 10:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

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Originally Posted by SaturnRaycer View Post
Affordable, yes. The pricing structure has guaranteed that the General will lose money on every Astra they sell. I have not found another car in the Astra's price range ($15,00 - $21,000) that has the level of equipment that the Astra does. VW comes the closest.

Subcompact, no. In Europe the Astra is considered a "C" class car this puts it in the size range of VW Golf, Mercedes C-class and BMW 1 Series.
C-class is the size of 3-series so how can you compare it with 1 series which is more like a mini.

Astra is not the cheapest car of its size on the market, but if you'd compare n.a. prices with european prices you would be shocked for how cheap we're getting the car here.

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Old 05-29-2009, 10:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

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Originally Posted by darek_dade View Post
C-class is the size of 3-series so how can you compare it with 1 series which is more like a mini.
My mistake. Should have proofed it better.

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Old 05-29-2009, 04:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

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Originally Posted by bdshaffer View Post
Your right, it is not a sub-compact. I wouldn't characterize it as affordable either.
It's affordable when you consider the price *and* features. The 'budget' cars it's often compared to don't even offer many base Astra features as an option.

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Old 05-29-2009, 07:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

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Originally Posted by GM Sky Man View Post
What a nitt-witt! The Astra is NOT a subcompact. It is not even a compact car. The EPA rate the 2008 Astra as a MID-SIZE car based off the interior volume measurements. Jeessh, if you are going to tout a car's attributes, then at least get the size right first! The Astra was NEVER designed to compete with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Mini Cooper, VW Beetle and Chevy Aveo.
Well, to a nation used to driving big gas guzzling SUVs, anything the size of an Astra is a "subcompact".

I would disagree with the statement that the car wasn't intended to compete with the Beetle. The Beetle is built on the same A4 platform as the Golf, and the Golf is definately the Astra's main competitor in Europe. But I would like to add the Mazda 3 as a worthy competitor.

As for whether or not the Astra is "affordable", you have to compare apples to apples -- and that means comparing MSRPs, not what we paid with all of GM's incentives. I almost floored a Mazda salesguy when he walked up to my Astra a couple of days ago and began making comments about the car. He called the interior "cheap". So I played dumb and asked him to show me a few of the new '10 Mazda 3s on display. It would have been more fair to compare the '09s, but we would have had to walk further. To sum up, he rattled off an impressive list of features, to which I replied, "got it" a number of times. He did seem genuinely surprised that my 3XR came standard with electronic stability control and rain sensing wipers. Every time he mentioned something that our Astras don't have (auto climate control, steerable bi-xenon headlights), I'd reply with something that I knew the Mazda 3 didn't have (heated cloth seats, OnStar). I think he was getting a little uncomfortable at that point. At the end I asked him "how much", and then told him that I could have almost bought two Astras for the price he mentioned. That wiped the grin off of his face once and for all. Couldn't do the same with the front facia of the new Mazda, however. Bleah...

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Old 05-29-2009, 09:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

Good Job, Astra!

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Old 05-30-2009, 09:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astra La Vista! View Post
Well, to a nation used to driving big gas guzzling SUVs, anything the size of an Astra is a "subcompact".

I would disagree with the statement that the car wasn't intended to compete with the Beetle. The Beetle is built on the same A4 platform as the Golf, and the Golf is definately the Astra's main competitor in Europe. But I would like to add the Mazda 3 as a worthy competitor.

As for whether or not the Astra is "affordable", you have to compare apples to apples -- and that means comparing MSRPs, not what we paid with all of GM's incentives. I almost floored a Mazda salesguy when he walked up to my Astra a couple of days ago and began making comments about the car. He called the interior "cheap". So I played dumb and asked him to show me a few of the new '10 Mazda 3s on display. It would have been more fair to compare the '09s, but we would have had to walk further. To sum up, he rattled off an impressive list of features, to which I replied, "got it" a number of times. He did seem genuinely surprised that my 3XR came standard with electronic stability control and rain sensing wipers. Every time he mentioned something that our Astras don't have (auto climate control, steerable bi-xenon headlights), I'd reply with something that I knew the Mazda 3 didn't have (heated cloth seats, OnStar). I think he was getting a little uncomfortable at that point. At the end I asked him "how much", and then told him that I could have almost bought two Astras for the price he mentioned. That wiped the grin off of his face once and for all. Couldn't do the same with the front facia of the new Mazda, however. Bleah...
That is awesome!

My wife has a 2008 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 5 door with every option except navigation. It's a very nice car and it's faster than an Astra in a straight line but it doesn't handle anywhere near as good as it. Her auto gets 25-27 mpg compared to my 28-29. And if you want to talk about a crap 'premium' stereo take a listen to the Bose they put in them. Absolutely horrible. Her heated leather seats are on/off rather than our 3 settings. One big option her car had that ours lack is xenon lights and climate control. As far as pricing goes, hers was $24K out the door. Even without the $2500 back from GM mine would have been $21,500.

You're right on the front of the new Mazda 3...

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Old 05-30-2009, 02:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robor007 View Post
My wife has a 2008 Mazda 3 Grand Touring 5 door with every option except navigation. It's a very nice car and it's faster than an Astra in a straight line but it doesn't handle anywhere near as good as it. Her auto gets 25-27 mpg compared to my 28-29. And if you want to talk about a crap 'premium' stereo take a listen to the Bose they put in them. Absolutely horrible. Her heated leather seats are on/off rather than our 3 settings. One big option her car had that ours lack is xenon lights and climate control. As far as pricing goes, hers was $24K out the door. Even without the $2500 back from GM mine would have been $21,500.
I agree that the 1st gen Mazda 3s are quite nice. Better than a Civic, that's for sure. Choice of engines is one thing that it has over our Astras, but the 3s have been around since 2003 and our North American Astras are five years behind (and with only one engine). I like heated seats but am not a particular fan of leather, so our option of heated cloth seats was a nice touch. I believe the European Astras are available with automatic climate control, which would be an option I would be interested it if it was possible to convert.

Quote:
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You're right on the front of the new Mazda 3...
Tell me about it. The damn car just kept grinning at me the whole time like a Cheshire cat! I think it looked a little nervous towards the end when we started discussing price, however.

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Old 06-01-2009, 09:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

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Originally Posted by Astra La Vista! View Post

The damn car [2010 Mazda 3] just kept grinning at me the whole time like a Cheshire cat!

One contributor on another auto forum I frequent calls it the "Joker face," as in the Joker from the Batman series. That cracked me up!

What a shame, really, given how attractive the previous 3 was, particularly the 4-door-with-trunk. You could have put the Audi 4-ring badge across the front and the public wouldn't have batted an eye.

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Old 05-29-2009, 11:27 AM   #13
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Default Re: Affordable Saturn Subcompact Deserves a Better Fate

Upon further research...

Quote:
Originally Posted by darek_dade View Post
C-class is the size of 3-series so how can you compare it with 1 series which is more like a mini.
Mercedes C300 http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/#/vehi...=C300W&yr=2009

BMW http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...fications.aspx
http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...fications.aspx

1: 104.7" wheelbase/171.7" overall
3: 108.7" wheelbase/181.1" overall

Mini http://www.miniusa.com/?#/learn/FACT...ionsExterior-s
97.1" wheelbase/145.6 overall

Saturn Astra http://www.saturn.com/vehicles/2008/astra/features.do

102.9"wheelbase/170.5 overall

The Astra is much closer to the 1 Series than the 3 Series or C Class, but because of interior dimensions, is frequently considered a C Class car. The Mini is much smaller in every dimension than the Astra, and is a B Class car.

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