Like many of the world’s best-known automotive companies, Saturn has a unique history. Saturn came about in the 1980s, making it a relative newcomer in the auto industry given that most well-known car companies have much earlier beginnings. In 1982, the VP of GM’s advanced engineering staff called a meeting of some of his most skilled engineers. The purpose was to work on a new innovative small-car project. Within a month, the project was named Saturn in honor of the Saturn spacecraft that carried the United States to glory during the space race against the USSR. The hope was that the new Saturn from GM could compete with Japanese auto makers in the small-car race.
More on the Saturn Astra
Saturn Astra Origins
In 1985, Saturn was made a subsidiary company and was given the name the Saturn Corporation. While still working closely with GM, especially until its first plant was completed, Saturn could finally start creating the concepts that would lead the company’s first line of cars for the American public.
Saturn quickly became known for changing the way automakers made and sold cars. The Saturn Corporation has from the beginning seemed to appeal to the American consumer in a way few companies have. The automaker continued to offer popular cars and vehicles to the consumer until 2008. Among Saturn’s many popular options, the Astra line is an example of the company’s small-car design beginnings. About the Saturn Astra
The Saturn Astra is known for its stylish design and respectable under-the-hood components. This car was conceived to replace the unpopular Ion series in 2008. Buyers found the more European design of this model to be a good choice over some of the other American-made small-car options available.
While the Astra’s appearance was popular with buyers in the compact-car market, it did have some drawbacks that negatively affected sales. Many industry experts felt the powertrain left a bit to be desired. The consensus was the Astra would be better served with a more impressive engine and transmission system. Especially in the financial downturn of 2008, many people simply felt the car was priced too high. In many cases, consumers opted for other comparable small-car options over the Astra based on price alone. Saturn Astra Features
The 2008 model year was the only year Saturn released the Astra to the American market. This particular car was only offered in one body style, which was the compact hatchback. The hatchback was offered in two- and four-door options. The two-door option was offered in one trim level, while the four-door was made in the base XE and the sportier XR. Both trim options offered a 60/40 split rear seat, which upped the amount of cargo space in the Astra significantly.
While not everyone was impressed by the powertrain on the Astra, it did have some good points. These cars were equipped with 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine capable of 138 hp. The four-cylinder motor was paired with a five-speed manual transmission that’s offered standard. A choice of an automatic four-speed transmission is also available.
The Saturn Astra was certainly well equipped and offered plenty of features. The XR trim level featured a sport-tuned suspension system and quicker, more efficient steering. Both trim levels offered a total of six airbags as part of its safety package. Buyers were also treated to rain sensing windshield wipers and a CD player.
Due to bankruptcy, Saturn stopped manufacturing all of its vehicles in 2008. There are no previous models of the Astra.