Monday, February 5, 2007

Saturn Takes the Wraps off Euro-Flavored 2008 Astra

CHICAGO — Saturn is hoping to erase the memory of its poorly received Ion with the rollout of the 2008 Astra, an Opel-based entry that will be offered in three-door and five-door models. The five-passenger Astra, which butts heads with the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Rabbit, will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Saturn 2008 AstraSaturn 2008 Astra 2Saturn 2008 Astra 3The standard powertrain in all Astra models is a 1.8-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine that delivers 140 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 126 pound-feet of torque at 3,800 rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission; a four-speed automatic is optional on all models. Saturn said fuel economy numbers for the Astra are not available at this time but will be released closer to the start of production.

The Astra is right on top of the 2007 Honda Civic sedan in engine specifications. The base Civic comes with a 140-hp inline-4 engine that makes 128 lb-ft of torque. The 2007 Rabbit is equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-5 that makes 150 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque.

Saturn said a StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control is standard on all three-door Astras and optional on five-door models. An electrohydraulic rack-and-pinion steering system is standard on all models.

Five-door Astras come standard with 16-inch wheels and have optional 17-inch aluminum wheels. Three-door models come standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels and have optional 18-inch aluminum wheels and performance tires.

The Astra deviates slightly from its European sibling, the Opel Astra, most notably in the front and rear fascias that have been modified to conform to North American bumper standards.

In the cabin, details include a three-spoke steering wheel and a gauge cluster that includes a tachometer. The three-door Astra gets sporty seats with more aggressive bolsters and lumbar support.

The Astra rides on a 102.9-inch wheelbase and has an overall length of 171.1 inches. In comparison, the Civic sedan rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase and has an overall length of 176.7 inches. The VW Rabbit rides on a 101.5-inch wheelbase and has an overall length of 165.8 inches.

Prices on the Astra have not yet been announced.

© Source: article on insideline

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