2008 Saturn Astra

2008 Saturn Astra Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Saturn Astra was new.

The brand-new 2008 Saturn Astra is a class-competitive cruiser with superior style and a classy interior, but speed junkies might find its performance lacking compared to other small cars or hatchbacks.

6.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.5
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 6.9
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Sleek exterior styling
  • Upscale interior for its class
  • Impressive amount of standard safety equipment for a small hatchback
  • Outdated transmissions
  • Rear visibility issues due to three-door hatchback's sloping roof

2008 Saturn Astra Overview

New for the 2008 model year, the Saturn Astra gets reviewers' attention with its chic exterior, and keeps them interested with its swank cabin. Called the Opel in Europe, the 2008 Astra has been introduced in the U.S. market to replace the unpopular Ion in Saturn's lineup, and most experts report its style and adequate performance is enough to shift some people's lowering opinion of the Saturn brand. Other reviews favorably compare the Astra to the Mazda 3, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Rabbit.

The Astra is a front-engine, front-wheel drive hatchback that will be available in three trims: the five-door XE, the five-door XR and the three-door XR. If you're in the market for an affordable small car, you should also consider the highly-ranked Honda Civic or Honda Fit.

  • "Brewed correctly, the Saturn Astra has the potential to be the best American-branded small car on the market. Otherwise, it'll be another close-but-no-Cohiba attempt to knock the Civic off its mantle." -- Motor Trend
  • "A budget-minded European car? Especially a car that handles well, has good build quality, style and usability? Of course they exist in Europe, but now we in the States get one too." -- Road and Track
  • "Ultimately, the Astra is a bit of a tweener: a high-end compact in styling, appointments and engineering, but not a hot hatch as the high-performance cars in the class are called." -- New York Times
  • "The Astra also offers a forgiving ride, smooth and reasonably quiet cruising, firm seats and a businesslike cabin with good-quality plastics." -- AutoWeek
  • "Not only does Saturn need the Astra, but North American buyers need it too. This is a market that could use more well-engineered, well-built vehicles that don't swill fuel yet are economically viable at the onset of purchase and enjoyable to drive every day from that time forth." -- Automobile.com
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