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Old 06-21-2008, 08:57 AM   #1
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Default USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5

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USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5

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James Healey from USA Today road tested the 2008 Saturn Astra XR 5-door in yesterday's newspaper. "What a great time for General Motors to have a sweet-driving, decent-looking small car like the Saturn Astra," he wrote in his review. While he felt his well-equipped test car was "a bit pricey," he thought that the Astra deserved serious consideration from small car shoppers.

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Old 06-21-2008, 09:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5

You really have to nit pick to find something you don't like about this car. You get down to cupholders as the only substantial beef. Okay, the switches take some getting used to. And the radio/DIC set ups...yeah that takes some study in the manual. But once you're over that, you can really enjoy the car.

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Old 06-21-2008, 09:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5

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Originally Posted by Gerry Proctor View Post
You really have to nit pick to find something you don't like about this car. You get down to cupholders as the only substantial beef. Okay, the switches take some getting used to. And the radio/DIC set ups...yeah that takes some study in the manual. But once you're over that, you can really enjoy the car.
And what are most car reviews about other than nitpicking? I'm surprised he didn't point out a few more things but he probably missed them himself.

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Old 06-21-2008, 10:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5

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And what are most car reviews about other than nitpicking? I'm surprised he didn't point out a few more things but he probably missed them himself.
I think on*star is worthless, real navigation and bluetooth would be far more attractive to young, tech savvy buyers, that and an axillary input for the radio.

I thought the shifter was a bit vague at first but it is starting to feel a lot better after the first 3.5k miles. Also, there should be an XE model 3 door...

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Old 06-21-2008, 11:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5

The best part about On Star is the fact that they can notify local emergency officials if you are involved in an accident. The navigation is ok but would be better if they had a screen that showed roads and maps.

Personally the shifter feels just fine to me. The only thing I really have to compare it to is an older honda civic(what I learned to drive to stick on), my previous saturn a 94 SC, and a 94 corvette ZR1. Compared to those its the same.

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Old 06-22-2008, 08:23 AM   #6
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Default On*Star rant

Realistically tho, do you even know your On*Star phone number ? Would you ever consider purchasing minutes like a 1990s cell phone ? On*Star may have been high tech in 1994, but it is absolutely pointless on a 2008 vehicle, and the navigation is crap. It told me to make a U turn when I was staring straight at my destination. Another time, when the turnpike was closed , I asked for a course to get to the Saturn dealership not using RT 476. It literally took 45 minutes for three On*star associates, one of which hung up on me, to come up with what I was asking. Their original response (after 20 minutes of silence) was simply "follow the detour", and then after accidentally disconnecting the call, instead of coming back with the directions I asked for, they waste my time by telling me that they had no notification of the turnpike closing, as if I was lying to them. I can't be the first person to ask for directions excluding a major roadway in response to a road closing. I can only imagine if I wasn't sitting in traffic for three hours and didn't have the time to kill for these unintelligent, untrained monkeys to push random buttons until they came up with something resembling what I was looking for. On*Star is trash.

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Old 06-22-2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5

When navigation software isn't updated every six months or annually, it becomes just as pointless as your OnStar calls for directions were. No map is perfect, whether it's on a screen or on paper.

Actually, I do know my OnStar telephone number and I do buy minutes to replenish those I use. I'm not like most everyone else in the civilized world; I abhor mobile phones. I have no need to be accessible 24/7, wherever I go. I use the phone portion of OnStar sparingly; urgent or emergency calls only. I kept OnStar after my free year of service ended because I value its other functions - accident notification, the ability to unlock my doors if I manage to be thoughtless enough to lock my keys in the car, vehicle theft-tracking and the monthly e-mail status reports I receive on my car's various systems.

IMO, like mobile phones, in-vehicle navigation is just another distraction so folks don't have to deal with the horrendous chore of driving. They find it mind-numbing, so there must be something handy to take the edge off.

Since Bluetooth is coming for MY 2009 to GM and more and more models will have on-screen navigation in the future, your experience with OnStar operators is less likely to be the norm.

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Old 06-22-2008, 12:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5



The display does remind me of the one used in the IBM Laptops of the mid 1980's

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Old 06-22-2008, 01:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: USA Today Drives the '08 Saturn Astra XR5

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Originally Posted by Tethys View Post
When navigation software isn't updated every six months or annually, it becomes just as pointless as your OnStar calls for directions were. No map is perfect, whether it's on a screen or on paper.

Actually, I do know my OnStar telephone number and I do buy minutes to replenish those I use. I'm not like most everyone else in the civilized world; I abhor mobile phones. I have no need to be accessible 24/7, wherever I go. I use the phone portion of OnStar sparingly; urgent or emergency calls only. I kept OnStar after my free year of service ended because I value its other functions - accident notification, the ability to unlock my doors if I manage to be thoughtless enough to lock my keys in the car, vehicle theft-tracking and the monthly e-mail status reports I receive on my car's various systems.

IMO, like mobile phones, in-vehicle navigation is just another distraction so folks don't have to deal with the horrendous chore of driving. They find it mind-numbing, so there must be something handy to take the edge off.

Since Bluetooth is coming for MY 2009 to GM and more and more models will have on-screen navigation in the future, your experience with OnStar operators is less likely to be the norm.
just FYI, the Astra does not have email diagnostic, unless the two On*Star reps I spoke to were equally clueless. I work in the software field (bug fixes and enhancements), so I fire up the laptop as soon as I get home to see what blew up during my commute. I am glad you like On*Star, but I think your feelings towards mobile communication devices are the exception, not the rule, and certainly not indicative of the market Saturn is catering to with the Astra.



I could live without the piano black finish, but I would prefer the full color GID screen to the old monochromatic Apple IIe monitor we get here in the states.

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