DTN Hearts Saturn Astra

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
dtn hearts saturn astra

Anyone who wondered whether Motown's hometown newspaper would smother GM's $100m captive import with literary warm fuzzies needs to have their head gasket examined. Scribe Scott Burgess does the honors, underneath a headline that hails one of the key aspects of the Saturn Astra that our Justin Berkowitz singled-out for criticism: acceleration. " Astra adds zip to Saturn" baldly states "It comes with a 1.8-liter dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. That's plenty for a 2,900-pound compact… The only time the engine felt a little sluggish was when driving the four-speed automatic up a steep mountain road with three American-sized adults in it." (Berkowitz: "Zero to sixty takes… probably between nine and ten seconds, and that’s enough for your small car isn’t it? Perhaps, if someone wasn’t trying to sell it to me as an enthusiasts’ driving machine…") I'll spare you the rest of Burgess' auto-hagiography, and skip to his sole criticism: the lack and placement of cupholders. Of course, it's a bit weird for a Big 2.8 cheerleader to criticize American Euro-snobbery and then laud a car made in Belgium sold by a GM brand born as a domestic "import fighter," but we'll take our humor where we can. "For those Americans who still feel the urge to think something European is better, they can look to the Astra for a fun compact, European built and sold in America.

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4 of 23 comments
  • SherbornSean SherbornSean on Dec 19, 2007

    Lutz said it, not someone who understands numbers.

  • P.J. McCombs P.J. McCombs on Dec 19, 2007

    I'm all for more realistic standards regarding mass-market vehicles' acceleration (Camrys *do not* need to do 0-60 in 6 seconds, Corollas do not need to do it in 7, I don't care what anyone says). That said, the Astra disappointed me. I was initially impressed by GM's foresight in bringing the Astra to market with a 1.8--I thought they might be taking the eco trend seriously. Then I read the fuel-economy estimates--something like 23/31 MPG. Nope. Sigh.

  • Shaker Shaker on Dec 20, 2007

    It's possible (fingers crossed) that the Astra's "real-world" (USA Terrain) mileage will beat the EPA's numbers by a greater margin, thus semi-justifying its weak motor. CU tested the Mazda 3 2.3 with the Auto, and got low 9's in the 0-60... That's who the Astra stickshift owners will be "racing".

  • Dave Ruddell Dave Ruddell on Dec 20, 2007
    guyincognito, One of the better fake ads they ever did.