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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my review. I first caught wind of the Astra on a trip overseas a few years ago. When GM announced that they were importing the car to the states I became interested in acquiring one. First the fall was announced as a initial sales date them Nov then Dec.

The wait was long and when I finally noticed one in the local Saturn dealers lot in mid- January we stopped by and drove a slush box Astra that they had on hand. The slush-box was okay but the dealer would not let us drive far so I could not get much of a impression on the car. Also the dealer would not let us test drive the 5 speed. Nevertheless we wanted one anyway. The stock on hand was thin and I wanted a 5 door absolutely loaded, the dealer had only stripped down XE models on hand. So we put in an order for the car we wanted and we waited and waited. Two months went by without even a call from the dealer. When we called to inquire about what was taking so long they were some somewhat nasty with us and informed us about how screwed up the Astra deliveries have been from Belgium.

We ended up going to another local dealer who seemed to be on their game. They let us test drive the 5 speed and it was light years ahead of the slush box. This dealer hustled and found a car almost exactly like we ordered at a dealer a few hundred miles away. After waiting over two months this other dealer was able to have our car here in 3 days. We canceled the original order and purchased from the 2nd dealer. The car has a 5 speed, silver paint, sunroof, leather, heated seats, performance handling and 17 inch five star alloy rims.

After taking delivery of the Astra it has actually exceeded every expectation. The fit and finish of this car is suburb and the materials are exceptional for a compact car. Close the door there is a thud which says quality. Every knob, and door is quality built. This car feels more like a Luxury car than a economy car. The truth is is that this is a small luxury car a marriage of quality and economy. There is talk about the hard to learn radio and complicated controls. Yes it did take 1 or 2 days to become familiar with the radio. Anyone that can not figure the radio out must be so technology challenged that they have to call their grandchild to use a microwave oven. Another thing that is unique with the radio is that the time is only shown in 24 hour format, me and my wife work with the 24 time format all day for many years so this is not a problem for us. If some person is too stupid to figure out the 24 hour clock well perhaps the Saturn is doing them a favor teaching them something new. There is only one cup holder for the front seat which is no big deal for us as we purchased a automobile and not a dining room table.


The handling is tremendous and this thing makes one catlike move after another when driving around the local mountainous terrain. The car is sporty in every situation and as nimble as a cat. This is a drivers car and it a ton of fun to drive. Before I we accepted delivery of the Astra we heard much talk about it being slow and underpowered. I do not agree, the engine is very smooth for a four banger and provides adequate acceleration in every situation. We prefer economy over power and this engine is a good compromise. We average 36 MPG on the highway and 24 in the city.


Not is all perfect though the Airbag sensor light has been on since we took delivery of the car. The car will have to return to the dealer to have that addressed. We hope that this problem can be quickly fixed. The dealer should have addressed this before delivering the car.

Overall the Astra has exceeded our expectations. It is a exciting little car with quality and a unique personality. It is a shame that we have not seen one on the road except for the one we purchased. This Astra is the best kept secret in compact cars. However I am not so sure the car will be a success here. It may just be too much car for an American public obsessed with cup holders and too stupid to figure out the 24 hour clock. It is really a shame because the masses are missing out on a great car named Astra. Whoever at GM decided to import the Astra to the States is a good person and I thank them for letting us enjoy this car here in the States.
 

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Welcome, another happy Astra owner :clap:

I completly agree with everything you have said, this car is really nice and people are letting just a few small thing getting in the way of a great car. I hope yours serves you as well as mine is serving me.
 

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Welcome to GMi! Nice choice of a car as well.
Something I heard of the other day was that the Astra's engine was a little weak, is this true?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The engine is not weak. The acceleration on the highway and in traffic is more than adequate. The power is greater or equal to most every stock base economy car I have ever driven and I have driven them all. The strength of the 1.8L ecotec is that it is a smooth engine that produces a pleasing sound, a little noisy +3000 rpm but noisy in a good way. You really have to go drive this car in a five speed to appreciate it. My old car was a Acura Integra and this engine provides a favorable impression to the Acura 1.8L engine.
Welcome to GMi! Nice choice of a car as well.
Something I heard of the other day was that the Astra's engine was a little weak, is this true?
 

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Congrats on the Astra! I'm just waiting to see if a RL version is released...

The Astra XR has amazing handling! It actually went through the slalom .2s slower than the new 260hp LNF Cobalt SS so I can only imagine the feeling of going around mountains!

How is the room in the back seat? Enough leg room?
 
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