By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Mike Hanley walks you through the 2008 Saturn Astra hatchback. It competes with the Volvo C30 and Volkswagen GTI.
(upbeat music) Hi, I'm Mike Hanley with cars.com, and I'm here with the 2008 Saturn Astra. The Astra comes from GM's Opel division in Europe, and it's available here in both two door and four door hatchback forms.
The Astra brings Saturn a lot of style and utility, but it also has its share of quirky features. The two door Astra like this model here strikes a much more sporty look then it's four door sibling, which is covered in a separate video by my colleague, Joe Wiesenfelder. You can see here, it has a lower roof than the four door model. And it also has these really sleek tapered side windows. The downside of this small greenhouse on the side and the back is that rear visibility isn't that great in this car. Overall, it's a very sleek look that gives the Volvo C30, another intriguingly designed hatchback, a run for its money. Where the Astra can't match the C30 is under the hood. It's powered by a much less powerful, 138 horsepower, four cylinder. That compares to the C30's 227 horsepower turbocharged, five cylinder. The Astra can have a manual or automatic transmission and it gets better gas mileage than the C30. It's 24 32 with the manual or 24 30 with the automatic. Though it looks small from the outside, the Astra actually has a decent sized cargo area. It measures 12 cubic feet. If you want to expand that, you can even fold the back seats down for more room as well. It's also not that hard to get a decent size bag into the cargo space. As mentioned, the back seat can be folded down if you have more stuff you want to carry. It's split. And when folded down, the backrest of the rear seats are nearly flat, but there's a little incline to them. So it's not quite a flat cargo floor. The front sports seats in the Astra are pretty firm and they can be finished optionally in leather as well as the steering wheel like this model here. Because of the firmness of the seats, along with the very from sport suspension this model has, you might want to take a longer test drive in this car If you're looking at it to see how agreeable it might be for daily drives. Many of its buttons and control layout is completely different than any other car GM sells in the U.S. It has a different center console layout with a different radio design and there's buttons like the ones on the steering wheel that have pretty cryptic icons that don't really give you much clue as to what it does if you press it. The Astra brings a lot of style to the small hatchback market, and with the two door's starting price of about $19,000, it undercuts premium hatchbacks like C30 and Volkswagen GTI by significant margins. Now you don't get the turbo power those models have, and the Astra's cabin has a higher learning curve, but overall, the Saturn's a pretty good value. <v Narrator>For additional information on this car or any other go to cars.com and our blog, Kicking Tires.