Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
First unveiled at the 2007 edition of the Chicago Auto Show, the Saturn Astra was officially introduced in January, 2008.
This car model is available in two hatchback configurations, with 3 and 5 five doors, as well as with a 5-speed manual transmission. A 4-speed automatic transmission is available as an option as well as a couple of other interior upgrades. In contrast to the main version of Opel Astra 2008 which could be found in multiple engine configurations, the Saturn Astra comes with a single 1.8 liter engine which could develop 140 horsepower and a maximum speed of 130 mph.
General Motors tried to save the Saturn brand and took the European Opel/Vauxhall Astra, brought it to the U.S. and rebadged it.
The world economic crisis was already on, and the carmaker knew that it had to sell more cars, with a lower price and a higher profit. To do that, it needed a new model, which was already developed. And it needed it fast. From its tall building from the dying Detroit, the GM executives looked over the Atlantic and spotted a successful, compact-sized vehicle: the Astra. The rest is history, including the Saturn brand.
The Saturn Astra sported a specific grille, and that was the only chance for the badge-engineered car. It was available with three or five-door bodywork. The sportier version came with a very raked windshield and a sloped back that made the car look like a coupe rather than a hatchback. The narrowed rear triangular windows and the big tailgate transformed the otherwise dull Astra into an eye-catcher for the Europeans, but the Americans were not that impressed.
The interior sported a rounded instrument cluster with red needles and lettering for the dials. A pair of sport bucket seats were fitted as standard for the front passengers. There was a good amount of space for two adults in the back, but the center tunnel was too tall to fit three passengers in there. Thanks to its 60/40 split-folding seatback, the Astra offered plenty of trunk space and, even with the seats up, it provided decent storage space.
Saturn offered the Astra with only one engine option to simplify the manufacturing process and cut costs. GM paired the 1.8-liter Ecotec engine with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.