All-New Compact Sports European Touches (Visit this link)
The 2008 Saturn Astra brings a markedly European touch to the North American compact car marketplace, offering two different body styles in both a three-door and a five-door body configuration. The body envelops a taut Euro-bred suspension that is capable of serving up crisp, responsive handling. The interior maximizes comfort and space. Attention to detail includes a continuation of the exterior's center hood crease on to the center of the instrument panel, in addition to a V-shaped center stack theme that further complements the exterior's design language. The car's sporting character is conveyed by the thick, three-spoke steering wheel with rake and telescopic adjustments, highly supportive seats and the rounded cockpit binnacle housing a large, three-dimensional gauge cluster, which includes large speedometer and tachometer dials. The three-door Astra's seats are sportier, featuring more aggressive bolsters and lumbar support. The five-door Astra with all of the equipment featured on my test vehicle came across as a compact sport wagon, except in acceleration. It was certainly adequate in most situations, but a little extra oomph would have been appreciated when attempting to pass on a long, steep incline. The Astra offers plenty of comfort, versatility and functionality in a sporty, affordable package.