Complete surprise - a real winner!
Owners seem to love their Astra. I can see why, now that I joined them. The buying experience was wonderful. Even the finance manager was a really nice guy! The Astra has unique styling that gets better with time. The '09 Fit looked good at first, but now it looks like a toy to me. The Mazda 3 looks similar, but I prefer the Astra's Euro styling. The interior has high quality materials, is very functional, and it's understated elegance doesn't get old. The intuitive, informative, and easy to use ?driver information center? is a gem. It works just how I'd expect, and requires very little input to access the plethora of functions. The steering wheel controls can access everything with the same minimal input. I think that deserves an award. This car was designed by smart, pragmatic people. The seats are firm but comfortable. The rear seating will be tight for 3 people, but that's not a surprise. It's a small car, so you know what you're getting into. I chose fabric seats instead of leather for various reasons (cost, maintenance, comfort) although the leather really nice, amazing for the price. I got the upgraded sound system. It sounds great. It has some unique and highly useful functions (e.g. optimizing sound for driver, front seats, or all seats). I also got the panoramic sunroof. It's huge and gorgeous. I can't wait for summer. The performance of this car is impressive. Anyone with common sense knows you can't get something for nothing. The 1.8L engine is perfect for this car. A larger engine would be more expensive (as would a turbo), and would decrease fuel economy. This engine is smooth and has a wide power band. I was wrong thinking only Japanese engines were worth anything. The 5 speed manual is a joy to use. The clutch pedal feel is perfect and the shifter is quick and precise enough. The sport suspension is amazing. It's very firm when you want it to be, but seems to soak up rough roads really well. A great feat of engineering. The brakes are outstanding. The modulation and control is excellent. Just about everything about this car is great, including the dealership experience. Make sure you give it a chance to win you over. The sale price for the 2008 makes it an unbeatable value. Now that I own it, I'd be willing to pay more. America needs a lot more cars like this!
I bought the Astra 3-door XR manual transmission two months ago and I just absolutely loved it. The only reason I bought this car because it's an Opel Astra (German Automaker) and it's being selling under Saturn in US. I know Opel cars are really really good and I get the European car feeling while driving this car. I would recommend buying this car with manual transmission rather than automatic because the engine gives better performance in manual than automatic. Pros: Great drive, handling, looks, interior, and styling. Cons: No auxiliary and the mp3 audio in car doesn't support multi session CD's, the engine feels little bit underpowered.
Best Cross Country Drive to Date
This has to be one of the best buys for a car under $20,000, I purchased the 5-door XE automatic and have put about 4,000 miles on it since purchasing it in June. I just finished driving my Astra 2,500 miles cross country and I have to say we went no slower than 75 mph with gas mileage at 35 mpg for the entire trip. The car was fun to drive the entire time and the firm seats were comfortable during a long days drive. I agree with others in that is would be fantastic if there were a place to put a console in the car but that is the worst thing I can say about it. It's a head turner and a good buy for the money.
Excellent value for the money
My car is a 3-door XR 5-speed. Most of the reviews and road test coments were right on the money. The car is well made and solid feeling. The fit and finish are very good. The only problem with the car so far was with delivery. I wanted Silver, with 18" wheels, 6-disc CD player, and leather with a 5-speed and I had to wait 31/2 months. I missed the initial dealer encentives and after taking delivery GM then introduced Employee Pricing; I missed both. I have had the car on a few long trips and the gas mileage is always over 35 mpg at 65- 70 . I don't drive too much faster in cruise because the Ecotec gets a little buzzy. The car also gets quite a few looks because there are not too many on the road. I am very pleased so far.
So far so good.
We just got this car last week. We noticed the ASTRA actually by accident. We were really considering the PONTIAC VIBE. But after we found out it was made in Europe we gave it a second look and decided on buying the XE version. It seems to be very well built, with a good sounding door slam and nice solid ride. I wish though it had a more powerful engine, but we were looking for economy anyway and I feel as though it is fine for our driving needs. After all it is not a Corvette. The buttons on the dash are a little quirky and so are the turn signals but, we will get used to it. We did go for the aftermarket armrest, and believe me it was well worth it. But, pay the price and let the dealer install it. It was well worth it. It is not an easy install for the mechanically challenged. The car really has a lot of features for the money and hopefully the gas milage is as good as they say. It only has a 12 gallon tank, so hopefully it is true. We got it in black and the color is really sharp. If you look at it in the sunlight it seems to give off a purplish tint. A nice touch. The seats are comfortable and you really don't feel as though you are in a small car. The dealer was very nice, but they tried to sell us some useless aftermarket warranties and protection packages. You dont need any of it. I am lookng forward to many good years with the car. If anything else does develop you can be sure I will write again. But for now, so far so good.
A fun ride, superb quality and a great value!
I have owned my Astra XR 5 speed Coupe for a month. I have 1,000 miles on it, mostly in town city driving. I have not had an opportunity to take it on a road trip. This is the best compact car I have ever driven! It has all of the upscale features I wanted at a better price than I expected. I shopped every compact out there. None came close to the value and quality the Astra offers. The materials GM used are what you would expect in a luxury car. I have the leather interior which has great eye appeal. The seats are comfortable and supportive. I bought the six CD changer upgraded stereo. I would put this stereo up against any automotive sound system in the market. It has concert hall sound. I was concerned about the 138 hp engine not being able to take the foothills of Colorado here where I live. The steepest grade that I travel several times a week has a 75 mph speed limit. The Astra takes this hill in 5th gear at 80 mph with plenty of additional power to give. I have yet to find a hill where I have had to down-shift. With the 5 speed manual, you get all the power you need. And, the 5 speed has a good solid feel to it as you shift through the gears. The standard safety features on this car were very important to me - Anti-lock brakes Stability control Daytime running lights Traction control Six airbags On Star I did not find another compact car on the market that measured up in respect to safety. This car is fun to drive and looks great. It is the kind of car where you look forward to driving the twisting U.S. mountain highways. You feel like you are glued to the road. I have yet to see a posted speed limit on a curve where you could not safely exceed the posted speed by 20 mph. Last but certainly not least -> The gas mileage is outstanding. My first tank of gas returned 29 mpg in town. My last tank of gas was good for 36.5 mpg. In between I had 32 and 34 mpg. I could not be happier with this car. I would recommend the Astra to any auto enthusiast who wants a great upscale compact. The Astra is a great value for this quality of a car. This car is FUN!
Fun to drive and great on gas
This car has more than adequate pep for everyday driving. I didn't even need to downshift going up a 2000 ft mountain pass and I've spun out the front wheels a number of times when accelerating from a stop. The handling is superb, it eats corners for breakfast. This car is so much fun to drive that my favorite part of the day is now my commute. The radio controls are different, but very intuitive once you realize how it works. It has a nifty feature where it can automatically pick out and preset the nine strongest stations available, making for the possibility of radio channel surfing on long trips. The car also has a nifty feature where if you hold the unlock button on the remote, it rolls down the windows to vent hot air. Slightly disappointed by the lack of aux input jack, though. The car is very comfortable. However, some of my friends have said getting in the rear seat is awkward, though it's comfortable once inside. The interior is high quality. It's fairly quiet on the inside, even though the engine revs a bit at highway speeds (3100RPM at 65mph with the 5 speed). First tank of gas was 28.5 MPG in a 40/60 mix of city and highway driving. Trip computer said my average mileage was 37 when driving conservatively on the highway.
1995 ford contour
the saturn is a great car, good milage and handles well. really hugs the corners. the snow mode is a nice addition and helps a lot. My only complaint is the cup holder. There is one that is almost in the back seat and you have to be somewhat of a contortionist to reach it while driving. Maybe this isn't a problem for taller people but us short folks it just doesn't work. It has a nice sounding steroo system and a surprising amount of room for its size. Mine is a four door, well I guess they call it a five door, with the sun roof with sun screen. except for the cup holder it is a fine car and I would recomend it to others if they want a dependable car that is realy good on gas.
Best compact car in it's class!
There is a reason this is the number one selling car in Europe. Valleydrive does not know ,he drove a preproduction model. The saleable units just got on the lots. Some of it's excellent features include: superb handling, spacious well designed and well built interior, very cool stereo system, huge dual sunroof, beautiful exterior, Onstar, nice shifting transmission(drove a manual) full safety features, good gas mileage. My one and only complaint is that the engine could be more powerful. For most people it will be fine, but they should add the turbo and desiels from Europe. If you want a compact car, buy it.
1965 Chevy Nova
Got a chance to drive the car at one of the Saturn 'early introduction' events. Not a bad car, but I was expecting it to be a bit more exciting, with some pizzazz. While there's the novelty of a European car being imported to the US, it's nothing more than that. If you're going to bring a car over from Europe, I think you would want to make some accommodation to the American market. So, I was disappointed to note that a few 'standard' features on American cars haven't been added - I'm not talking about expensive things, but 'convenience' things. For example, the cup holders are mediocre, in fact it's 'a cup holder' for the two people in the front seat. I know this is a European/American thing, but it can't be that difficult to adapt a feature like this. There's also no driver's side arm rest for the driver's right arm. I'm guessing that for Europeans most models are sold with standard transmissions and this isn't such a big deal. But here in Southern CA where this car is going to be purchased with an automatic transmission and we sit in a lot of traffic, you want to be able to adjust your body and lean to the right. Lastly, call me whiny, but there's no input for an iPod or other MP3 player. I'm driving a Honda Element now and it came with an iPod input. (I know not all cars do; I'm surprised that my wife's Lexus 330 doesn't have one either.) These are just three things that struck me as a lack of attention to detail or localization. And while I imagine these things would add to the cost of the vehicle, I can't imagine they would be thousands, let alone hundreds, of extra dollars. When I took a look at the Mini Clubman at the LA Car Show the Mini people said there was either a simple iPod input for 'free,' or as an add-on, an input that would use the Mini's installed sound system to stream the band/song info. That's cool!