European Original Poised to be Serious Contender Against Corolla, Civic, Focus (Visit this link)
The Astra's engine, with a full 12-horsepower advantage over the Corolla, is nicely muffled from inside. It felt well-sorted through fast corners, with a responsive small-diameter steering wheel and grippy disc brakes on all four wheels. First gear felt a little limp, and second gear didn't bite into the road like I would have liked, but once the Astra is in motion, it has more than enough get-up-and-go. It's a $20,900 Saturn, though, not a $95,000 Maserati. So I can't complain about a slight lack of oomph early in the power-band. The fuel efficiency of the Astra is on par with the Japanese eco-brawlers. Opt for an automatic transmission and you'll get 24 city/30 highway. The manual does two mpg better in highway driving. That's world class right there. Saturn has finally matured into a cost-effective alternative brand, and the Astra is all geared up to duke it out with the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Ford Focus. It's going to be quite a fight. Place your bets and grab a malted beverage.