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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My friend is wanting to buy a new car so we went to some car dealerships and decided to stop off at the Saturn dealer as I wanted to check out the new Astra and Vue. The last time I was at a Saturn dealership was over a year ago and I have to say a lot has changed in one year.

When I last went to the Saturn dealer the Aura had just come out and was quickly receiving praise and had recently won the North American Car of the Year award. I test drove the Aura and came away impressed - however I felt that it was better suited for for families than young single males. Still, even with new products like the Aura, Outlook and Sky, Saturn was still lagging with the ION, Relay and Vue. The ION, Relay and Vue were not horrible products and the Vue was actually a lot better thanks to its 2006 update, however they didn't have what it takes to beat - let alone meet the competition.

Well fast forward to today and like I said, a lot has changed in one year. The first car I sat in was the new Vue. I have seen photos of the new Vue, however you can't really get a feel for it unless you see it in person. The seat cushions are very comfortable - however the seats themselves are rather unsupportive. The interior materials are great and light years ahead of the Torrent/Equinox and last gen Vue. Everything just has a premium look and feel to it which is definitely refreshing to see in a GM product. The controls are clean and simple and the interior has a nice open feel to it. Overall, I really came away impressed with the Vue and I would certainly recommend it.

Next, I looked at a black 3-Dr Astra XR. The switchblade key is pretty cool and is pretty much like the ones you see from VW and Audi. The doors have a nice heavy, quality feel to them and immediately let you know that this car isn't a typical compact car from GM. Step inside the Astra and that same quality feel continues. The sport seats in the Astra 3-Dr are Euro-firm yet very supportive and comfortable. Just like the Vue, everything inside has a premium look and feel. Most of the controls are easy to use however you would definitely need to read the owner's manual first to understand the DIC and some of the radio controls. The clutch has a nice feel to it and the shifter feels smooth and precise for the most part, however shifting from 2nd to 3rd for some reason is the complete opposite - something Edmunds noticed as well during their test drive with the Astra. I got to start the Astra and was able to experience the RainSense wipers which did a good job during this miserable rainy day. My friend said, "how lazy can you be if you can't turn on your wipers" which is true - however I will admit that I am easily lured by these kind of gimmicky features.

I regret not taking it for a test drive, however I do hope to some time in the near future. Still, based on sitting in it and getting a feel for it, the Astra is one of the nicest compact cars on the market today in my opinion. I've sat in and/or driven most of the compact cars on the market today and most of them do not have the premium look and feel that the Astra does.

I like the Astra a lot and after experiencing it tonight, it is definitely on my top 3 list of cars that I'm considering for my next vehicle purchase when my lease is up on my Grand Prix. It's not perfect, however in my case its main dislikes are not real issues for me. I could care less if I had a sunroof, 138 HP is perfectly adequate for daily driving and while an aux input jack would be nice it's not a deal breaker for me if I don't have one.

Overall I came away impressed with Saturn and have a new respect towards the brand. GM is really making smart decisions with the Saturn brand and I hope they continue to offer Opel or Opel-like products for years to come. Finally, Saturn has what it takes to fight the competition.
 

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Good reviews, but what about your friend who is looking for a new car did he/she come away inpressed?
 

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Would you lease the Astra if your payment is close to $400 per month?

That is the problem with this car. Even though it is a nice little car, no one wants to pay for it. Not when you can lease a Aura xr or Pontiac G6 for less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good reviews, but what about your friend who is looking for a new car did he/she come away inpressed?
No, he could care less - he's a full fledged Honda & Nissan lover. He wants a used 350Z or a Honda Civic Si.

pontiacjs said:
Would you lease the Astra if your payment is close to $400 per month?

That is the problem with this car. Even though it is a nice little car, no one wants to pay for it. Not when you can lease a Aura xr or Pontiac G6 for less.
I don't know what the pricing is in the US, however in Canada it's pretty much on par with most compacts. A fully loaded 3-Dr XR with 5-Spd comes out to be around the same price as a base Aura, G6 or Malibu. So price wise, at least in Canada, isn't an issue with the Astra.
 
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