Saturn Astra RIP

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Chris Paukert got his start here at The Truth About Cars. He was, in fact, our first freelance contributor. Since then, it’s been a winding road for Chris. When I heard he was joining Autoblog, I didn’t know to be happy for Autoblog or sad for Chris. Since joining AB, Paukert’s posts have been press release compliant. But, while you can take the boy out of TTAC… Today, Paukert (or one of his eagle-eyed spies) spied the fact that Saturn pulled the “Build Your ’09 Astra” function from their website. Yup, one of GM’s endless stream of Hail Marys has shuffled off this mortal coil. Chris did the right thing and called Saturn for confirmation. “We spoke with Steve Janisse, group manager for Saturn communications, this morning, and he confirmed that while there will be no 2009 model, a 2010 is scheduled and on track for a spring roll-out. Given this unfortunate economic environment and GM’s rude health, of course, we’ll wait to ‘call the ball’ until 2010s are on dealer forecourts.” Aside from the fact that rude health means good health and the glaring lack of the word “bullshit,” it looks like AB might finally have a writer with a pair of stones. We look forward to the competition.

[Read Justin Berkowitz’ review of the Saturn Astra here]

Robert Farago
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  • GrandCharles GrandCharles on Jan 29, 2009

    Was in the market for something like that in last april. I am a former saturn owner (2000 LS). I did not even went to see that car because it was priced too high in comparison of the competition. The 3 door coupe was over 20 000$!!! Yeah now they give you a 6000$ cash rebate, sish! Too late Saturn...and too bad....

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jan 29, 2009

    That yellow mess you saw seeping out of the fenders was likely a waxy undercoating that some car makers use. My VW had problems with that but it just wipes off and eventually it stops. I worry that means there is nothing coating the inside of the body of course... I still want an Astra and still can't let go of the cash. I'll take a 5-door with the higher end wheels. A five door only because we have these short people that go everywhere with us and will for the next decade at least.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jan 29, 2009
    No, that’s the European Turbo Ecotec, which is not direct injected and only makes 240 hp. And it makes the Astra an understeering mess. As I understand it, it's a close cousin of both the DI Ecotec in the Kappas and the 2.0L in the Saab 9-3 (same displacement and dimensions). Other than the Saab's being aluminum, the three are effectively identical, and the DI model would still render the Astra an understeering pig. No, there’s the 6-speed automatic 150hp diesel Astra. Although I’m sure that model makes too much sense. Powertrain certification is expensive, and the testing is slow. Spending more to pair the North American Ecotecs with the four-speed wasn't an option; bringing a powerplant and transmission that have never seen the light of day in North America would never happen. Thusly we got the cheapest, quickest option. I agree that, had GM done their homework and started testing the Astra with the North American 2.4L. But they didn't, and the only way we were going to get the car at all would be as it stands now.
  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Jan 29, 2009

    threeer-Opel fan myself. Had a Manta (as did my Dad and brother) and a 1900 wagon. Still have fond memories. Bunter