Talking about the Astra can be a bit confusing these days. The German Opel Astra and the American Saturn Astra are the same, but different. And now, with all the shakeup with car manufacturers, which vehicle will win? Marty Padgett has done a good amount of speculating on his blog at The Car Connection ("The Saturn that Never Was"), and Jonathan McGrew at AllSmallCars.com advocates moving the Astra back to Buick. Maybe the Astra could replace the Rendezvous?
I have a problem in sifting through this information. My burning question: Is this a viable family car? All I have at this point is the promise that the 2010 Opel Astra will show up at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Until then, however, I can look at the Saturn Astra, and hope to get hints of what the Opel Astra (or Buick Astra?) might be. At least I have this stunning picture at the top of this post...
Judging by The Car Connection's review of the 2008 Saturn Astra, the gas mileage will be on par with some of the better gasoline engines, averaging 24-32 miles per gallon. Of course, if the 2010 Astra stays with GM, it may see the Chevy Volt plug-in electric powertrain. Or, at least a great hybrid powertrain. The European Opel Astra has been winning awards for safety. Hooray for lessons learned.
So what of space? The Saturn Astra was listed as a compact car. That means a family of five is gonna be a little cramped. Possibly not a car for long trips. But, the 2010 Opel Astra could be one of those fabulously efficient cars that can carry five people around town, with a good bit of stuff in the back. Remember, Europeans are great at space economy, and this would be considered a solid family car. Think about your driving habits. If you're mostly in car lines and playing taxi, the Astra could be a great option. The Saturn version has been available in either a 2-door or 4-door model. Definitely get the 4-door if you're wrangling car seats or boosters.
Finally, if you're considering an Astra in its future form, check out the comments on the 2008 Saturn Astra. The reviews are wildly positive, including "hidden gem," and "Saturn definitely got this one right." If you prefer a smaller, efficient car for your family vehicle, wait it out a few weeks to see what happens to Astra. Or, you may even want to check out a used Saturn Astra.