Anyone who has spent time in Europe knows that European roads are filled with small, sporty, fuel-efficient cars. For the 2008 Saturn Astra, Saturn has basically hijacked the Opel Astra from Europe and rebadged it for sale in America. Accordingly with the Astra, Saturn has left intact the smart European small-car styling.
The 2008 Saturn Astra is available as either a two- or four-door hatchback. Both versions are very small cars, with Motor Trend saying that the "Astra is a true subcompact" at "167.3 inches long for the five-door." For those who love European styling, Car and Driver brings good news, saying that "the only differences between the Astra built by GM's German subsidiary for sale in Europe and this new Saturn edition are its badges [and] minor exterior trim" changes.
That distinctly European exterior styling on the 2008 Saturn Astra is generally well received in reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. Kelley Blue Book feels that it will be hard to get lost in the crowd in the Saturn Astra because "the car looks substantial from all sides, bolstered by big wheels and tires." Taking that sentiment one step further is Mother Proof, whose reviewer feels that the 2008 Saturn Astra is "sportier, sleeker and just plain cooler than you ever thought." However, not all reviews were positive, as Cars.com notes that "the four-door looks a bit awkward." Overall, though, reviewers generally agree that the aggressive body styling on the four-door Saturn Astra will allow it to "match up well to top models like the Mazda 3, Honda Civic, and Volkswagen Rabbit," according to Edmunds.
Revamped styling for the brand doesn't stop on the outside of the Astra; Saturn’s interior sports a fine design that Road & Track claims "exudes an aura that is definitely not of this continent." Edmunds raves about the interior, claiming that "the cabin is the Astra's strongest point" and noting that "Opel clearly had Volkswagen in its sights when it designed the Astra's interior." ConsumerGuide takes a more middle-of-the-road approach, adding, "While Astra's interior does nothing to impress in terms of style and design, it's pleasant overall, if a bit bland." Coming down harder on the Saturn Astra is Kelley Blue Book, which feels that "noticeable shortcomings, such as the sole front seat cup holder awkwardly positioned behind the parking brake...don't mesh with the segment leaders." Other gripes about the interior include Automobile's feeling that "the Astra is a bit too foreign" in terms of the "marking and operation of its switchgear."