2008 Saturn Astra XR 1.8L from North America


Hot Hatchback


Rear gate doesn't close unless given a good push.

Ignition coil needed to be replaced at 80,000 miles.

Red paint chipped very easily from the very beginning. I'm still trying to figure out how I got nicks on the top of the back bumper. The front hood is peppered with chips. It has to be something about the red paint.

General Comments:

Generally it is a nice car. I have all leather and moon roof, so it feels comfortable at least in the front seat for the driver, but when you get some larger sized passengers, they feel a bit cramped, especially in the back seat. It's perfect for a single person, but if you have to haul a few buddies or a family & baby, it's going to be tight.

The car takes a long time to heat up the passenger cabin in the winter time. It warms up faster if you actually start moving, but if you just turn it on and let it sit while you go back inside the house to keep warm, you'll be waiting a long time.

I do like the appearance of the car, especially the front lights and grille. The interior lines are clean and tight. No over-sized cheap plastic buttons.

The car feels much more refined than a Pontiac Vibe, Mazda 5 or Toyota Matrix. It has nice smooth ride and tight suspension.

I've outgrown the car since I now have to haul a baby and wife, but if I was single again, I would buy one again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th June, 2015

9th Jan 2017, 22:45

How difficult was it to locate replacement parts?

26th Aug 2017, 16:08

The Astra shares many of the same mechanical parts as the Chevy Cruze, including the 1.8L Ecotec engine, so parts availability shouldn't be a problem.

2008 Saturn Astra XR 4dr ecotech from North America


Nice car


Nothing yet.

General Comments:

This car is very fun to drive. With the short steering radius, it's real easy to get into tight areas for parking. There seems to be good power for a gas saver.

Has plenty of room inside.

Handles OK in the snow.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th January, 2010

2008 Saturn Astra XR 1.8L petrol from North America


A quality vehicle from a company that knows about customer satisfaction


I needed to have the rear hatch latch adjusted as it required a good slam to close it. Now it closes as it should with a gentle push.

General Comments:

The car is definitely not a rocket on wheels. The engine is a nice simple engine with 138 HP that returns good gas mileage.

It does feel a little more sluggish coupled with the 4 speed auto tranny, as it isn't able to exploit the engines VVT as much. Despite this, it doesn't feel any faster or slower than some of the competition's cars I test drove.

Handling is where this car really stands out. I have the handling package installed (larger wheels, wider tires, lowered stiffer springs) and this car loves to get tossed around the curves. It is nice and predictable, and feels solid and planted. It really is a pleasure to drive this car. (138 HP is still a very functional number). The handling is why I gave this car such a high performance rating.

Despite the handling package, the comfort level remains unaffected. Over long drives the seats never tire you out. The are supportive and comfortable in all the right places. Some people may find them simple as they are manually controlled, ratchet action for height and rotary crank for angle, but they are adequate none the less. A comfortable driving position is always close at hand. Tilt and telescopic steering help in this area as well.

Creature comforts and features are ample as well. Automatic lights and wipers, good choice of stereos, huge sunroof which covers most of the roof of my 5-door. 3 or 4 more inches of glass roof in each direction and I would be driving a glass top targa! Lots of airbags and car seat clips for safety as well.

Overall I like that the car hasn't being completely worked over for the North American market, this means it is simple and easy to drive, does not ride like a soft bowl of mush and gives the driver all the creature comforts necessary and then some.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th January, 2009

1st Jun 2010, 12:56

I have the same issue with the hatch not closing on the first try. I will have to take it back to the dealer to get this fixed. Funny thing is that I remember the dealer demonstrating how easy it was to close the rear hatch. He just let it drop gently on its own and it shut closed.

8th Apr 2011, 14:44

I have the same issue with the hatch not closing on the first try, and the dealer went out of their way to demonstrate how easy it was to close the hatch when I was buying the car!

2008 Saturn Astra XR 1.8 from North America


Outstanding compact car


Nothing. The car seems to be built very well, even though it is imported from Europe.

General Comments:

I cannot believe how good this little car is. No wonder it's the number 1 selling car in Europe. It looks fantastic and handles very well.

I also like the seat comfort on the one long trip I took, and the radio sounded great. The cargo room seems to hold all my stuff well too.

So far my gas mileage is hovering around 28+ MPG. And the dealership experience was outstanding. I have yet to see any others on the road yet, but I think Saturn has a hit on their hands when people start to see it.

I do have a few minor nitpicks: I wish it had more power, I mean it's adequate, but I wish it had around 200hp instead of 130. But it does handle like a dream. Also the radio has no iPod plug and no XM. But it does play MP3 CDs, so I'm OK with that.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2008

24th Jan 2008, 11:15

Drove a friends and was highly impressed. Saturn has come a long way from the SW2, and now they make better cars than Audi, BMW and Mercedes according to the survey.

24th Jan 2008, 12:23

Fill us in with periodic updates on how your car is holding up. It certainly does seem like Saturn is taking a turn for the better. Opels cannot be bought in North America, so this really does mark a change. Seems like an improvement as I think the older Saturns were more regarded as glorified Cavaliers. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with a Cavalier, but I think Saturn may have had trouble deciding what their market was.