Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

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Thread: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

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    6.0 Liter L76 V8 CadiEldo67's Avatar
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    Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    I recently went to the dealership and found a 2008 Saturn Astra XR 3 door 5 speed. I test drove it and really enjoyed it.

    I'm considering purchasing it. Anyone have any good things to say about it, or reasons as to why I shouldn't purchase it?

    Oh, and the car has all of 9300 miles on it. For $14,700 I think its a good deal, although I'm more inclined to offer $13,700.

    http://www.cooperkia.com/VehicleDetails/676508063

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    I have a 3 door 5 speed as well, and love it very much. The suspension is fairly firm, and the steering is nicely weighted and doesn't feel artifically and over-boosted like many of the Japanese competitors. Its not going to win any drag races, but I love the handling of the car.

    Fit and finish is superb; even simple things such as the closing of the car door are very satisfying and doesn't have that cheap cost-cutting 'ping' sound.

    Other than a recent issue with Onstar Turn by Turn and Mapquest, which has been fixed, I haven't had a single problem with the car.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    I used to be a Saturn sales associate... I loved the Astras that were equipped with the manual tranny. It makes a huge difference in the performance of the car. The fit and finish of the Astras was fantastic. I would recommend the Astra XR to you.

    What options does this car have? From the photo, it actually looks to be a "base" 3 Door.(All 3 Door models were XR's) Being that this car is not being sold by a GM dealership, there is no GM Certified Used warranty. Check to see the "In Service" date to see how much of the factory warranty is left. These cars did not hit lots until January '08 at the earliest, so you should have at least a year left. Also, many did not sell until well into 2009, so you may have considerable time left on the warranty. Either way, find that out. A Carfax or Autocheck report will tell you the date... Hmmm, $14,700 is still high. I would offer $13k and go from there, if you really like the car that is. I would not pay over $14k for the Astra.

    Best wishes on your purchase!

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    Best small car offering by GM ever. A totally underappreciated vehicle. Nothing but good things to say about it.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    That's a very good deal for the mileage.

    I took the 2009 Canadian model for a test drive and really liked this car -- it's extremely well built and a significant upgrade over its platform siblings.

    The biggest criticisms about the car are the 1.8 litre engine (power is acceptable, mileage is decent) and the European-market instrumentation & ergonomics (quirky by NA standards). Some service people also cringe because the 1.8 is belt-driven.

    With Saturn being decommissioned a number of people speculated that parts and service may be difficult to find but current owners don't seem to be having many problems.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    Quote Originally Posted by CadiEldo67 View Post
    I recently went to the dealership and found a 2008 Saturn Astra XR 3 door 5 speed. I test drove it and really enjoyed it.

    I'm considering purchasing it. Anyone have any good things to say about it, or reasons as to why I shouldn't purchase it?

    Oh, and the car has all of 9300 miles on it. For $14,700 I think its a good deal, although I'm more inclined to offer $13,700.

    http://www.cooperkia.com/VehicleDetails/676508063
    I have an '08 XE 5-door 5-speed. I love it. Fun to drive, economical, great quality. I highly recommend it.

    Just call ahead if you need service work at the dealer level to see if they've got the appropriate parts stocks/database info for the Astra.

    Mine got rear-ended last month and the dealer charged with fixing some of the broken electronics didn't show the Astra as having existed at all, ever. They needed a special download from GM to get their diagnostic systems up to speed on the Astra. At one point, they needed to fly a GM representative out to diagnose the busted fusebox problem from the accident.

    And this wasn't some podunk, tiny dealer, but a major Chevy dealer in an urban center of 1.5M people (Portland Metro Area). It's also the third dealer I've had issues with in recognizing that my car exists.

    So make sure if you ever have to take it to a dealer that they have the information they need to service your vehicle.
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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    Just get a dealer who used to be a Saturn dealer.

    That's over full retail for a manufacturer that is out of business. I'd pass. KBB says full retail is $14,100.

    In the future it may not be fun getting Opel parts here, especially trim. And then there's the $800-1000 timing belt job at 105k miles.

    I'm thinking $12k or less, and not too happy at that price.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    Quote Originally Posted by autoplaybook View Post
    I have an '08 XE 5-door 5-speed. I love it. Fun to drive, economical, great quality. I highly recommend it.

    Just call ahead if you need service work at the dealer level to see if they've got the appropriate parts stocks/database info for the Astra.

    Mine got rear-ended last month and the dealer charged with fixing some of the broken electronics didn't show the Astra as having existed at all, ever. They needed a special download from GM to get their diagnostic systems up to speed on the Astra. At one point, they needed to fly a GM representative out to diagnose the busted fusebox problem from the accident.

    And this wasn't some podunk, tiny dealer, but a major Chevy dealer in an urban center of 1.5M people (Portland Metro Area). It's also the third dealer I've had issues with in recognizing that my car exists.

    So make sure if you ever have to take it to a dealer that they have the information they need to service your vehicle.
    I'm really confused. Did this place not have GM Service Info, or just not know how to use it? Sorry, they just sound incompetent.

    There's enough commonality between the Astra and Cobalt and Cruze that I'm not that concerned, now that the 1.8L engine is going into the Cruze.

    I think it's a great car, and despite some people not liking the price at $14.7k there was a bunch of people who paid $20k+ for that car 2 years ago. I'd try to get them down to $13.5-14k, but I think that's a really solid price. I'd feel ok paying $14k.

    I paid ~$15.5k for 5-door, 5-speed XE in Aug '08, while I really could have gotten a better deal had I waited 6 months, at the time they were doing employee pricing for everyone, Saturn wasn't going out of business, and the '09 models were going to be priced ~$500-1000 higher than the outgoing model. Oh, and there was only 2 5-door manual transmission cars in a color I liked within something like 500 miles of me. I wish I could have saved another grand or two by waiting, but I really don't feel ripped off by any means. It's worth every penny over what I would have paid for a Cobalt.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    There is no competitive cross-line model for the Astra. If you weren't a Saturn dealer, you have no trained techs familiar with an Astra. Plus you don't have the special tools to work on them properly.

    I have no doubt it's a good car, I'm just telling you the book value. If anyone wants to pay big bucks for one, be my guest.

    An Astra has zero in common with a Cobalt.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCritical View Post
    There is no competitive cross-line model for the Astra. If you weren't a Saturn dealer, you have no trained techs familiar with an Astra. Plus you don't have the special tools to work on them properly.

    I have no doubt it's a good car, I'm just telling you the book value. If anyone wants to pay big bucks for one, be my guest.

    An Astra has zero in common with a Cobalt.
    Tools, I'll grant you, but if you're a dealer tech, you should be able to use GM Service info you should be able to diagnose things. You shouldn't need to be familiar with a specific car in order to read a schematic.

    Case in point, just a couple weeks ago my driver-side door light was flashing and wouldn't go off. I opened and shut the door multiple times, to know that that wasn't it. I called the dealer to make an appointment (as it's under warranty). After talking with him, he put me on hold for a few minutes to check GMSI. He said it might be tricky because the door lock circuit is involved or something like that.

    I have access to GMSI, because I'm taking an automotive class at a community college. In the same amount of time he put me on hold, I discovered that the hatch is on the same circuit as the driver side door ajar, and if the hatch isn't closed properly the driver-side door ajar light will flash. That was the problem, I closed the hatch properly and the light went away. This is a Saturn dealership by the way.

    The more stories I hear about GM dealerships (other manufacturers have this problem I'm sure as well), the less faith I have in them to correctly use GMSI to figure something out. Maybe I expect too much, but I don't do for a living, I'm just taking a class so I really don't think so.

    I could be wrong about the Astra and Cobalt, but both being on the Delta platform, surely they share SOME components (obviously not the engine/tranny or suspension)? Brakes, sensors, exhaust?
    Last edited by jaydee; 04-29-2010 at 09:39 AM.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    As much as I like the Astra, with saturn shut down and so many pats specific to what amounts to a rare car, I'd stay away.

    What killed it for me (I was looking at them before Saturn tanked) was the timing belt. I can't believe anyone makes a timing belt engine these days.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    You don't want a trained technician who isn't trained on an Astra putting his hands on your car for anything but routine maintenance. Hands on experience is worth 10x what you can read online.

    Parts folks chime in, but I seriously doubt there are any interchangeable parts between an Astra and a Cobalt. If they are, they're few and far between. An Astra is basically an Opel.

    There's a million miles between being able to read a schematic and having hands on experience with the vehicle. Astra wiring and domestic GM wiring have very little if anything in common.

    Look at it the way it is. You're buying a rebadged Opel.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    Quote Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
    Tools, I'll grant you, but if you're a dealer tech, you should be able to use GM Service info you should be able to diagnose things. You shouldn't need to be familiar with a specific car in order to read a schematic.

    Case in point, just a couple weeks ago my driver-side door light was flashing and wouldn't go off. I opened and shut the door multiple times, to know that that wasn't it. I called the dealer to make an appointment (as it's under warranty). After talking with him, he put me on hold for a few minutes to check GMSI. He said it might be tricky because the door lock circuit is involved or something like that.

    I have access to GMSI, because I'm taking an automotive class at a community college. In the same amount of time he put me on hold, I discovered that the hatch is on the same circuit as the driver side door ajar, and if the hatch isn't closed properly the driver-side door ajar light will flash. That was the problem, I closed the hatch properly and the light went away. This is a Saturn dealership by the way.

    The more stories I hear about GM dealerships (other manufacturers have this problem I'm sure as well), the less faith I have in them to correctly use GMSI to figure something out. Maybe I expect too much, but I don't do for a living, I'm just taking a class so I really don't think so.

    I could be wrong about the Astra and Cobalt, but both being on the Delta platform, surely they share SOME components (obviously not the engine/tranny or suspension)? Brakes, sensors, exhaust?
    The Astra was built in Belgium. The Cobalt in Ohio. Different parts suppliers and different parts. They had to ship mine from Europe.

    The electronics are different, the engines are different, the transmissions are different, the length, wheelbase, ride height, track, and feature levels are different. The bodies and interiors are completely different, with totally different switchgear and trim. Mine came standard with rain-sensing wipers, but a/c was optional. Mine has an MP3 CD system, but no AUX jack available at any price. You can't even get rain-sensing wipers on the Cobalt, but it comes with an AUX jack standard.

    And what I'm saying is that these 3 dealers I've dealt with didn't have the Astra listed in their systems at all. They didn't have the schematics available to read. They showed '08 Outlooks, Vues, Skys, and Auras. But their computer programs and diagnostic tools were not compatible with the Astra.
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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    Quote Originally Posted by autoplaybook View Post
    And what I'm saying is that these 3 dealers I've dealt with didn't have the Astra listed in their systems at all. They didn't have the schematics available to read. They showed '08 Outlooks, Vues, Skys, and Auras. But their computer programs and diagnostic tools were not compatible with the Astra.
    I don't understand how this is possible. GMSI is GMSI is GMSI. How can a dealership not have access to something that I (as someone is taking one night class at a community college), not have access to?

    You don't want a trained technician who isn't trained on an Astra putting his hands on your car for anything but routine maintenance. Hands on experience is worth 10x what you can read online.
    I don't care if you can replace the intake manifold gasket on a 3800 series II with your eyes closed over and over again. If you're a tech at a dealership, you should be able to follow directions on GMSI to get a job done on a car you've never worked on before (obvious exception being if there's some physical tool required that you don't have).

    Is it preferred to have someone who's worked on that particular model to handle a job? All else being equal, yes absolutely. But I'll take a guy who's able to figure stuff out on the fly (even if he hasn't been "trained" on this vehicle) because he knows cars and can read schematics, over a guy who can just do the same U/L IMG repair over and over because there's a million 3800's out there and he's done it 25 times but can't read a schematic.

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    Re: Thoughts about 2008 Saturn Astra

    Found this in service info:
    Seperate Stand Alone Tech2 Card Needed For Communication
    The Astra requires its own separate 10 or 32meg Tech2 card loaded with its own software. It does not use NAO software used for other Saturn vehicles. This software CANNOT be loaded on the dealer's existing card with the existing software. You must use a NEW and/or another separate 10 or 32meg card. The software can be found on Tis2Web. Please use the latest version available. If the dealer can locate their older 10meg card they should be able to load the software on it. If they cannot locate their 10meg card a newer 32meg card can be used. A Candi module will be needed.

    Is it different? Ya! Should it take more than 5 minutes to figure this out when it shows up in service info as a "preliminary service information document"? I sure hope not. The customer shouldn't even be told that "our tech 2 said your vehicle doesn't exist" and make a big deal about downloading something special from GM... It's right there!

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