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Old 08-02-2008, 10:18 PM   #1
Z Fury
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Default Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Hey guys. I'm new here, and was hoping to get some honest reviews of the 2008 Saturn Astra. My girlfriend is looking to trade in her '06 Ion 2 Quad Coupe on this new Astra, as it comes with all the options she is lacking. Her Ion is pretty base, having neither cruise control nor power windows. The Astra she is looking to buy has those items, plus the power sunroof, which really made her smile when the dealer showed her how to use it. Ultimately, I think she'll be happy with it, but I thought I'd do some research on this vehicle to make sure it was a good thing.

Now I am no mechanic, but I tend to do a lot of my own work on my vehicles, and have learned that the Astra, being originally the Opel Astra, is made in Belgium, and is a completely foreign car. That said, how much higher would maintenance costs be (as somewhat a foreign vehicle) as opposed to her Ion? Any reliability issues? Just for informational reasons, she is looking at the XE 5 door with the auto (she can't drive stick). The car had 17 miles on it when we test drove it this afternoon, and came with the alloy wheels, moonroof, A/C, and the stability control.

Thank you all for your opinions, and your time.

JC

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Old 08-02-2008, 10:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

The ASTRA is built on the proven DELTA platform as is the ION

The ASTRA powertrain has been in use worldwide and has a good record.

The ASTRA is a good looking car in the 3 or 5 door.

So go drive it. Take it on a long drive into the hills, down the country roads, around town and on the freeways. Use all of the controls. Use the radio and the DIC. Adjust the seat, open the roof and load the types of things you may need to in the rear hatch. Use the A/C controls and the door lock/unlock button. Then come back here and tell us why she did or did not buy an ASTRA.

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Old 08-02-2008, 10:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

About maintenance, it is anybody's guess at this time how costly it will be. The Astra is going to get an update for model year 2010...As long as GM dosent scrap the plan, there should be aftermarket parts available like any other car.
I absolutely love this car with my 5 speed . I would hate it with an automatic. But i guess that choice is personal. I have not had any problems so far, considering that i have only put 2K miles on it. I would suggest that she takes the car and goes on a long ride (like saturnsdn suggested).

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Old 08-02-2008, 10:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnSdn View Post
The ASTRA is built on the proven DELTA platform as is the ION

The ASTRA powertrain has been in use worldwide and has a good record.

The ASTRA in the base form is loaded compared to the base ION2

So go drive it. Take it on a long drive into the hills, down the country roads, around town and on the freeways. Use all of the controls. Use the radio and the DIC. Adjust the seat, open the roof and load the types of things you may need to in the rear hatch. Use the A/C controls and the door lock/unlock button. Then come back here and tell us why she did or did not buy an ASTRA.
I love your enthusiasm! Actually, we did drive it earlier today, and it did handle beautifully. The sunroof is simply amazing. She just wanted me to do some homework on the car, cause studying vehicles is what I do in my spare time. I just wanted to make sure she wasn't buying a lemon with a cool view out the top. I doubt the Astra is a bad car - just have to do my homework. Thanks for your reply.

...
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulblighter View Post
About maintenance, it is anybody's guess at this time how costly it will be. The Astra is going to get an update for model year 2010...As long as GM dosent scrap the plan, there should be aftermarket parts available like any other car.
I absolutely love this car with my 5 speed . I would hate it with an automatic. But i guess that choice is personal. I have not had any problems so far, considering that i have only put 2K miles on it. I would suggest that she takes the car and goes on a long ride (like saturnsdn suggested).
I agree with the manual transmission aspect, as I drive a 6-speed Z28. The girlfriend does not know how to drive one, and I love my car too much to teach her on it!

I've also been reading that the '09s are rolling in, and the '08s aren't moving that fast. Does anyone see any incentives rolling out for the '08s any time soon?

...
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

The 09 ASTRAs are not rolling in as of yet.

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Old 08-03-2008, 07:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Re maintenance, check out the schedule in the owner's manual

If I am not mistaken, the Astra needs needs more maintenance than the Ion: 36K spark plug changes (vs 100K)and a timing belt that needs to be replaced (vs a timing chain).

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Old 08-03-2008, 09:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel View Post
Re maintenance, check out the schedule in the owner's manual

If I am not mistaken, the Astra needs needs more maintenance than the Ion: 36K spark plug changes (vs 100K)and a timing belt that needs to be replaced (vs a timing chain).

Mute point on the Spark Plugs. They are right there on top of the engine and EASY to get too. I fully intend to have my 5 year old Grand Son helping with this chore when the time comes.

Z Fury, the thing that you need to understand that this is s European car MADE for EUROPEANS and in that case, it is one of the BEST selling cars in all of Europe. Saturn did the minimums to bring the car here. The feel and handling of the car came with it and didn't get lost in the translation. This is a car meant to be DRIVEN, to have FUN in and also to return good to Great fuel economy.

AS an OWNER of a XR 3 Door, I am loving mine! My only complaint

MY ONLY COMPLAINT....The Horn Sounds pretty wimpy! LOL!

Chris

A HAPPY and PROUD OWNER

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Old 08-03-2008, 11:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

I don't own one but it seems I drive one nearly every day but that does not give me the right to say (on this forum) what I do not like about it. It does not give me or anyone for that matter the right to compare what they are driving now to the ASTRA or to compare any car they have had in the past to the ASTRA. I remember when the ION came out in 2003, if anyone said anything about the hard as rock seats, the transmissions, the road and wind noise or the soft suspension. Or the LACK of power. They were blasted for RAGGING on the ION. In 2005 most of these things were fixed on the ION. 2006 saw evan more good things. I'll not evan bring up what the Enhancded Performance Package brought to the party that turned the ION to one nice driver. Funny thing is, the 2003 ION sold very well. I'll guess that has something to do with price points.

Again I think the ASTRA "as is" will prove to a very good small car in North America with a very small market

Last edited by SaturnSdn; 08-03-2008 at 12:09 PM..

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Old 08-03-2008, 12:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

I've also been reading that the '09s are rolling in, and the '08s aren't moving that fast. Does anyone see any incentives rolling out for the '08s any time soon?[/QUOTE]

I've seen the '08 Astras with GMS pricing for everyone @ Saturn of Ann Arbor this past week.
I personaly like the 5 door 5 speed, it has more interior room than my 2001 SL1. Too bad I'm not in the market for a new car!

Rick

...
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

"Does anyone see any incentives rolling out for the '08s any time soon?"

I'd have to say GMS for everyone is an incentive. That needs to start up nation wide very soon.

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Old 08-03-2008, 01:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Just out of curiosity, what is the typical GMS discount on an Astra? Is it a flat dollar amount, or a percentage?

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Old 08-03-2008, 02:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Robert,

The GM Supplier discount that I received when I bought my Astra was only $732. It was not much but being that most Saturn deals are at sticker, I was happy getting the discount.

I was also able to get a local coupon plus a Dealer match for a total discount of another $1000.

With both of these discounts, I feel that the deal I got was super!

Sometimes you have to search for these and dig for them because they are not advertised.

Right place right time for me.

Chris

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Old 08-03-2008, 03:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

just out of curiosity...what kind of a beating is she taking for selling her car so soon?

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Old 08-03-2008, 03:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Quote:
Originally Posted by nababbo View Post
just out of curiosity...what kind of a beating is she taking for selling her car so soon?
Actually, I'll answer this with 100% honesty, and use real numbers. Her '06 Ion 2 Quad Coupe with 30K miles on it, and very few options above the base package, cost her just over 15K when she bought it new almost 3 years ago (she gets the GMS pricing - her dad recently retired from GM). Anyway, they came back with a 10K trade value on it, and she owes just about 7,500 in payments (she'll have to call for pay-off, but I'm guessing about 6800 or so). Basically, she has just over 3K in equity to apply against the new Astra.

Also, regarding GMS pricing, the dealer told her that the GMS discount on that Astra would drop the price roughly 8.5%. This is NOT a fixed percentage, as it varies by car, and how much the dealer has inflated the sticker price on the lot. That said, this car was on the lot for 19,900, and she is looking at a GMS adjusted price of 18,200 (rough estimates - the numbers aren't in front of me). After trade in, she should walk out of there with a well equipped Astra XE-5 for right around 15K, or slightly higher.

Just an update, I've told my girlfriend that the car looks to be a solid buy, and that it would be a nice little upgrade from her base package Ion. That said, she should be the proud owner of a 2008 Astra by the end of the week! I know she is pretty excited.

...
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:36 PM   #16
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

My big complaint... the sun visors are microscopic. Completely useless, especially when rotated to the side window.

Other than that, I love the car, even 6 months and 26,000 miles later.

...
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:52 AM   #17
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

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Originally Posted by L200Pilot View Post
My big complaint... the sun visors are microscopic. Completely useless, especially when rotated to the side window.

Other than that, I love the car, even 6 months and 26,000 miles later.
For me, I don't find that the Visors are a problem. I have a large torso and that puts me pretty high in the car to begin with. Now my wife on the other hand does have a problem with the smaller visors. Not a huge issue to us as we both wear Polarized Sunglasses when the need arises.

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Old 08-04-2008, 07:48 AM   #18
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel View Post
Re maintenance, check out the schedule in the owner's manual

If I am not mistaken, the Astra needs needs more maintenance than the Ion: 36K spark plug changes (vs 100K)and a timing belt that needs to be replaced (vs a timing chain).
If you follow the oil life monitor, you will find that the oil changes are less frequent. Our's resets @ 11k. (which I believe is a little too much.)

However, as with most Ecotec's, the oil changes are easy to do. The oil filter is a cartridge type which is easy to remove & change. Both my oil changes were done by myself in less than 20 min. each.
The downside is the filter cost: $11.32. But if you figure by changing it less, the cost evens out.
Like cschmidt1956 has said, the spark plug changes look fairly easy,too.

My wife has put over 7500 on her Astra and she loves it. The Astra handles very well, gets great gas mileage (32-36mpg), and is comfortable on a long trip.

...
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:05 AM   #19
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

I really like the Astra a lot, the interior, and controls are so cool

I only have two problems with it:

-The Astra with an Auto tranny is SLOW
-Lack of sedan/convertible/coupe versions

I'm thinking that my problems with it will most likely be resolved in the next few years.

Very nice car however, nicer interior quality (IMO) than anything else from GM right now.

...
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:46 AM   #20
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Default Re: Opinions on the Astra - From Owners

[QUOTE=HotIonDrvr89;1294124]I only have two problems with it:

-The Astra with an Auto tranny is SLOW
-Lack of sedan/convertible/coupe versions
[QUOTE]

OK... so I've been hearing over & over from the people who have just test driven the Astra or already own the stick that the Auto is slow. I don't own one (yet ), but I drive one just about every day.

My 1st impression was like may posters'... that I'd prefer the 5-Speed. However after EXTENSIVELY driving both, (something most of you don't have the opprtunity to) I've concluded that mine will be the Auto. I'm not thrilled with the additional $1325. That said, I find the Auto to better fit my overall driving style. Yes, it is a little slower off the line. The gearing is a little tall when the RPMs aren't up there yet.

However, short of the standing start, I find that the Astra with the Auto is a more enjoyable drive on the highway. Merging is easy... you just give the throttle a quick "blip" & the gearing drops, then away you go! This isn't a six cylinder, so you need the revs to get things moving.

Once I got used to a slightly different driving style, I fell in love with the Auto. Also, I find that the taller gearing makes it more enjoyable (for me) on the highway. I don't drive with the radio blasting, so I really tend to notice the higher revs on the 5-speed when you get abobe 65 MPH.

So... when I add the Astra to my stable. it will be a 3-Door with premium trim (I just love the leather wrapped steering wheel compared to the base trim's) and an Auto. There... I said it! Now bring on the counterpoints, 'cause that's what this forum is all about!

...
Shawn

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