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For its March issue, CR reviewed a selection of hatchbacks that it hadn't already tested. (All five-door except the Mini.)

Rankings of all current entry-level hatchbacks and wagons tested by CR: (models tested this month in italics and recommended models (models that tested well and have reliability predicted at average or above) in bold)

EXCELLENT:
1. Mazda5 Touring: 86 points ($22,615)
2. Volkswagen Rabbit S: 86 ($19,725)
3. Toyota Prius Touring: 80 ($24,803)


VERY GOOD:
4. Mazda3 s: 79 ($22,095)
5. Kia Rondo LX V6: 77 ($20,655)
6. Subaru Impreza Outback Sport: 75 ($21,640)
7. Toyota Matrix S 2.4: 72 ($21,180)

8. Scion xB: 68 ($18,360)
9. Toyota Prius Base: 68 ($22,052)
10. Nissan Versa SL: 65 ($16,675)
11. Honda Fit Base: 65 ($15,245)

12. Saturn Astra XE: 64 ($20,025)
13. Mini Cooper Clubman: 64 ($24,700)

14. Suzuki SX4: 63 ($17,994)
15. Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited Turbo: 61 ($23,485)
16. Scion xD: 60 ($16,620)

GOOD:
17. Chevrolet HHR LT 2.4: 55 ($22,055)
18. Dodge Caliber SXT: 49 ($19,015)

FAIR:
19. Chevrolet Aveo LS: 32 ($14,435)

Specific details and ratings of the cars in this month's report:

Volkswagen Rabbit:
Highs: Agility, ride, braking, transmission, controls, solid fit and finish, turning circle.
Lows: Fuel economy.
Acceleration: 4/5 (8.5 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 5/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2190)
Routine Handling: 5/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 55.5 mph)
Braking: 5/5 (128 feet from 60 dry, 138 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 4/5
Noise: 4/5
Driving Position: 4/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 3/5
Rear Access: 4/5
Controls and Displays: 5/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Cargo area: 2/5
Climate system: 4/5
Fuel Economy: 3/5 (24 mpg)

Toyota Prius Touring:
Highs: Fuel economy, low emissions, transmission, ride, hatchback versatility, reliability.
Lows: Steering feel, multifunction display, headlights.
Acceleration: 3/5 (10.6 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 5/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2305)
Routine Handling: 4/5
Emergency Handling: 3/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 53.5 mph)
Braking: 4/5 (133 feet from 60 dry, 140 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 1/5
Ride: 4/5
Noise: 4/5
Driving Position: 4/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 4/5
Rear Access: 4/5
Controls and Displays: 4/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Climate system: 4/5
Fuel Economy: 5/5 (42 mpg)

Subaru Impreza:
Highs: Ride, handling, standard ESC, controls, braking, crash-test results.
Lows: Fuel economy.
Acceleration: 3/5 (9.8 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 4/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2540)
Routine Handling: 4/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 52.5 mph)
Braking: 5/5 (128 feet from 60 dry, 133 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 2/5
Ride: 4/5
Noise: 4/5
Driving Position: 4/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 3/5
Rear Access: 4/5
Controls and Displays: 5/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Cargo area: 2/5
Climate system: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 3/5 (23 mpg)

Toyota Matrix:
Highs: Fuel economy, access, rear seat, versatility, controls.
Lows: Engine noise, driving position, fit and finish, rear visibility.
Acceleration: 4/5 (8.3 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 4/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 1995)
Routine Handling: 4/5
Emergency Handling: 3/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 52 mph)
Braking: 4/5 (132 feet from 60 dry, 142 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 3/5
Noise: 3/5
Driving Position: 3/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 4/5
Rear Access: 4/5
Controls and Displays: 5/5
Interior fit and finish: 3/5
Cargo area: 2/5
Climate system: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 4/5 (27 mpg)

Saturn Astra:
Highs: Agility, composed ride.
Lows: Acceleration, rear seat, controls, cup holders, middling fuel economy, storage.
Acceleration: 3/5 (11.0 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 4/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2560)
Routine Handling: 4/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 54.5 mph)
Braking: 4/5 (134 feet from 60 dry, 150 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 4/5
Noise: 4/5
Driving Position: 4/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 2/5
Rear Access: 3/5
Controls and Displays: 3/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Cargo area: 1/5
Climate system: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 3/5 (25 mpg)

Mini Clubman:
Highs: Agility, fuel economy, braking, fun to drive.
Lows: Controls, slight hesitation from a stop, rear visibility, premium fuel.
Acceleration: 3/5 (10.5 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 4/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2440)
Routine Handling: 5/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 56 mph)
Braking: 5/5 (128 feet from 60 dry, 134 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 3/5
Noise: 3/5
Driving Position: 3/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 2/5
Rear Access: 2/5
Controls and Displays: 2/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Cargo area: 1/5
Climate system: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 4/5 (29 mpg)

Scion xD:
Highs: Handling, interior space, access, fuel economy.
Lows: Noise, ride, driving position, fit and finish, rear visibility.
Acceleration: 3/5 (9.7 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 4/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2375)
Routine Handling: 4/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 56 mph)
Braking: 4/5 (136 feet from 60 dry, 140 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 3/5
Noise: 3/5
Driving Position: 3/5
Front Seat Comfort: 3/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 3/5
Rear Access: 4/5
Controls and Displays: 4/5
Interior fit and finish: 3/5
Cargo area: 1/5
Climate system: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 4/5 (29 mpg)

And, as always, ask if you want more.
 

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Astra needs a better engine...
Yeah, I was surprised with the 11 second 0-60 time, and I know Consumer Reports tests acceleration the balloon-foot way.
 

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It's still the group's slowest without getting good mileage. Unless you think they tested it differently than all the others.
I don't follow...I don't think it was tested differently. I was just surprised by how slow the car is when it is tested the way the average Joe would; by stabbing the throttle from a dead stop. That is in comparison to the slower 0-60 times the other cars posted compared to how magazines like Car and Driver test acceleration. The Astra was especially affected by that method.
 

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EXCELLENT:
1. Mazda5 Touring: 86 points ($22,615)
2. Volkswagen Rabbit S: 86 ($19,725)
3. Toyota Prius Touring: 80 ($24,803)

VERY GOOD:
4. Mazda3 s: 79 ($22,095)
5. Kia Rondo LX V6: 77 ($20,655)
6. Subaru Impreza Outback Sport: 75 ($21,640)
7. Toyota Matrix S 2.4: 72 ($21,180)
8. Scion xB: 68 ($18,360)
9. Toyota Prius Base: 68 ($22,052)
10. Nissan Versa SL: 65 ($16,675)
11. Honda Fit Base: 65 ($15,245)
12. Saturn Astra XE: 64 ($20,025)
13. Mini Cooper Clubman: 64 ($24,700)
14. Suzuki SX4: 63 ($17,994)
15. Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited Turbo: 61 ($23,485)
16. Scion xD: 60 ($16,620)

GOOD:
17. Chevrolet HHR LT 2.4: 55 ($22,055)
18. Dodge Caliber SXT: 49 ($19,015)

FAIR:
19. Chevrolet Aveo LS: 32 ($14,435)

Volkswagen Rabbit:
Highs: Agility, ride, braking, transmission, controls, solid fit and finish, turning circle.
Lows: Fuel economy.
Acceleration: 4/5 (8.5 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 5/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2190)
Routine Handling: 5/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 55.5 mph)
Braking: 5/5 (128 feet from 60 dry, 138 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 4/5
Noise: 4/5
Driving Position: 4/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 3/5
Rear Access: 4/5
Controls and Displays: 5/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Cargo area: 2/5
Climate system: 4/5
Fuel Economy: 3/5 (24 mpg)

Toyota Prius Touring:
Highs: Fuel economy, low emissions, transmission, ride, hatchback versatility, reliability.
Lows: Steering feel, multifunction display, headlights.
Acceleration: 3/5 (10.6 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 5/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2305)
Routine Handling: 4/5
Emergency Handling: 3/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 53.5 mph)
Braking: 4/5 (133 feet from 60 dry, 140 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 1/5
Ride: 4/5
Noise: 4/5
Driving Position: 4/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 4/5
Rear Access: 4/5
Controls and Displays: 4/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Climate system: 4/5
Fuel Economy: 5/5 (42 mpg)



Saturn Astra:
Highs: Agility, composed ride.
Lows: Acceleration, rear seat, controls, cup holders, middling fuel economy, storage.
Acceleration: 3/5 (11.0 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 4/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2560)
Routine Handling: 4/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 54.5 mph)
Braking: 4/5 (134 feet from 60 dry, 150 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 4/5
Noise: 4/5
Driving Position: 4/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 2/5
Rear Access: 3/5
Controls and Displays: 3/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Cargo area: 1/5
Climate system: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 3/5 (25 mpg)

Mini Clubman:
Highs: Agility, fuel economy, braking, fun to drive.
Lows: Controls, slight hesitation from a stop, rear visibility, premium fuel.
Acceleration: 3/5 (10.5 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 4/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2440)
Routine Handling: 5/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 56 mph)
Braking: 5/5 (128 feet from 60 dry, 134 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 3/5
Noise: 3/5
Driving Position: 3/5
Front Seat Comfort: 4/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 2/5
Rear Access: 2/5
Controls and Displays: 2/5
Interior fit and finish: 4/5
Cargo area: 1/5
Climate system: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 4/5 (29 mpg)

Scion xD:
Highs: Handling, interior space, access, fuel economy.
Lows: Noise, ride, driving position, fit and finish, rear visibility.
Acceleration: 3/5 (9.7 seconds to 60)
Transmission: 4/5 (rpm at 60 mph: 2375)
Routine Handling: 4/5
Emergency Handling: 4/5 (avoidance maneuver max speed: 56 mph)
Braking: 4/5 (136 feet from 60 dry, 140 feet from 60 wet)
Headlights: 3/5
Ride: 3/5
Noise: 3/5
Driving Position: 3/5
Front Seat Comfort: 3/5
Front Access: 4/5
Rear Seat Comfort: 3/5
Rear Access: 4/5
Controls and Displays: 4/5
Interior fit and finish: 3/5
Cargo area: 1/5
Climate system: 3/5
Fuel Economy: 4/5 (29 mpg)

And, as always, ask if you want more.
Please understand that Consumer Reports is once again engaging in their usual shenanigans and that the rest of the motoring world has something entirely different to say about the Saturn Astra.
Edmunds says,
The high point of the Saturn Astra is its well-designed, high-quality interior. The Astra's cabin is covered in soft plastics and tasteful accents. Chrome-ringed dials and piano-black finishes create a more upscale atmosphere than the typical economy car interior. The quality of materials and fit and finish found inside the Astra are worthy of a car costing much more. There are a few minor flaws though, including bizarre European controls, only one awkwardly placed cupholder, no engine temperature gauge and mediocre rear visibility.
While driving the two-door Astra, our editors noted that its well-sorted European handling makes it fun to drive in comparison to other models in its class. Horsepower and torque are adequate, and the five-speed manual transmission has a good shifter feel and easy clutch take-up. We're also fond of the steering. Though a touch dead on-center, it's weighted nicely and properly quick.
And,...
The overall propulsion is pretty good, and the engine has a wide, generous power band, but it's always growling and grows coarse as you approach redline. There's not much snap to this engine, and when you rev it to the power peak, you bounce right off the rev limiter at redline, which lies only a few rpm higher at 6,500 rpm.

At the test track, the slightly heavy 2,814-pound Astra plods to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds and then crosses the 1,320-foot mark in 16.8 seconds at 82.5 mph. (This happened in 3rd gear instead of 4th, a rare occurrence among cars like this.)
What I'd like to know is how did the housewives get a 0 to 60 in 11 seconds, while everyone else is getting it alot faster? Could it be because it's a domestic?
Why didn't the housewives say that the Mini's 0-60 time of 10.5 seconds is a 'Low'? Could it be that it's an import?
Why did they say the Prius's interior has so-so fit 'n finish and bad controls, then give the car 4/5 in that department? Could it likewise be because it's an import?
Etc,etc,etc.

Step away from the car. Step closer to the vacuum cleaner and dishwasher. Thank you.
 

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It's still the group's slowest without getting good mileage. Unless you think they tested it differently than all the others.
tThe housewives didn't test the Astra any different than the imports, they just once again printed fraudulent numbers for the domestic, that's all.
When the housewives are getting a 0-60 time of 11 seconds for the Astra, everyone else is getting a 0-60 time of 8 seconds or so.
Since the housewives didn't include city/highway miles per gallon, I can't dissect their data and prove to the message board community that the housewives faked the MPG numbers for the imports, either.
The only way we can prove that is if we have the issue in hand. Just go to their "city/highway" MPG test numbers and compare them to teh EPA's city and highway MPG numbers. In all instances, the domestic numbers will be lower than the import numbers with respect to the EPA's numbers.
 

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You guys can cry foul all you want but that won't help the FACT that the Astra needs a better engine.

They said all of these vehicles were five doors besides the Clubman. If you think about it isn't the Clubman also a 5 door.
 

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What I'd like to know is how did the housewives get a 0 to 60 in 11 seconds, while everyone else is getting it alot faster? Could it be because it's a domestic?
Automatic vs. Manual

The others I can't help you with.
 

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I do agree that with a better engine the Astra could get much better reviews and seem a lot better in everyones eyes. I am happy with the engine that is in it, but I think the 2.2 would have been an improvement, but unfortunately with how quickly they brought this car over that couldn't happen. Actually if they could have brought this over with the 1.9 diesel there would have been no if ands or buts, thats what I would have gotten. Its is a very nice car and the power train is very adequate, some of the numbers I have a hard time believing, if they are using the auto then it could be, but I have the manual. I get 32 mpg+ on my daily commute with is basically all city, and when I hit the gas it moves as fast as I need it to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
disappointing. I really wonder IF (not when due to bias) the day when a American vehicle beats out the Imports for a top test/recommended over Japan Inc. by a Gm/Ford will EVER occur???

CobaltSS
The Ford Focus was CR's top-scoring small car from 2000 through 2006. The Silverado is currently their top pick for large pickups, and the previous-generation Avalanche also picked up that designation for a couple of years.
 

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The Astra only comes with the 1.8L?
i was under the impression that the 2.2 was available....
 

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tThe housewives didn't test the Astra any different than the imports, they just once again printed fraudulent numbers for the domestic, that's all.
When the housewives are getting a 0-60 time of 11 seconds for the Astra, everyone else is getting a 0-60 time of 8 seconds or so.
Since the housewives didn't include city/highway miles per gallon, I can't dissect their data and prove to the message board community that the housewives faked the MPG numbers for the imports, either.
The only way we can prove that is if we have the issue in hand. Just go to their "city/highway" MPG test numbers and compare them to teh EPA's city and highway MPG numbers. In all instances, the domestic numbers will be lower than the import numbers with respect to the EPA's numbers.
I hope I'm euthanized before I get that crazy...

"I have to prove it to the message boards! They NEED TO KNOW!"
 

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The Ford Focus was CR's top-scoring small car from 2000 through 2006. The Silverado is currently their top pick for large pickups, and the previous-generation Avalanche also picked up that designation for a couple of years.
IFCAR, I think our forum member wanted to know about a winning domestic car from a source other than Consumer Reports.

2008:
CTS and Malibu win Car and Driver's 10-Best.
CTS wins Motor Trend's Car of the Year.
Malibu wins NACOTY award.
Corvette wins Car and Driver's 10-Best.
Silvarado wins Car and Driver's 5-Best Trucks.
Hybrid Tahoe wins Green Car of the Year award.

So there we have it. Total domination from General Motors in the sedan, entry-level sport sedan, truck, sportscar and dual-mode hybrid sectors. No other mfr has come close to the General so quit crying like a baby or you can do the losing thing like buy a BMW 3-Series which didn't win anything xcept in M trim from C&D.
Toyota is a 100% losing company with no awards whatsoever and STIIIILL no sportscar in their lineup.
Honda Accord won but only because of past rep -- the Malibu (and let's face it) is still the better car.
The Nissan GT-R is a really good sportscar but the Z06 still gives it a run for its $$$ despite being like over 3 years old.

Quit crying. GM is numero uno.
 

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"I have to prove it to the message boards! They NEED TO KNOW!"
Correct. There are a lot (and I mean alot) of dumb, dumb people out there who have to be shown the way.
 
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