Saturn Astra, 2008

Saturn Astra, 2008

Saturn announced the addition of the all-new 2008 Astra to its lineup, bringing a decidedly European flavor to the North American compact car market. It is packed with a wide range of standard equipment and safety features, and delivers sporty performance with very good fuel economy.

Product highlights

Saturn offers two trim levels (XE and XR) for five-door models, and a single trim (XR) in the three-door configuration, which was created with more enthusiastic drivers in mind.

The standard powertrain combination in all models is the 1.8L Ecotec DOHC four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The Ecotec engine is enhanced with variable valve timing to optimize power output and fuel efficiency. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional on all models.

The Astra technologies provides an agile, yet comfortable, driving experience. StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control is standard on all three-door Astras, and available on five-door models. The system works in concert with the standard four-wheel, antilock disc brakes to help the driver maintain control during adverse road conditions or during sudden emergency driving situations.

5-door Astras come with standard 16-inch wheels, but can be upgraded to 17-inch aluminum wheels. Three-door models come standard with 17-inch aluminum wheels, which can be upgraded to 18-inch aluminum wheels and performance tires.

Design details

The Astra has a clean, contemporary design that is infused with Saturn's signature styling cues, including a bold, bright grille bar with prominent Saturn logo. Both the three-door and five-door models are distinguished from their European relatives with unique front and rear fascias that conform to North American bumper standards.

Interior design and features

Bold design, refinement and precise execution are the hallmarks of the Saturn Astra's interior, which envelops passengers in a contemporary environment that maximizes space and comfort. Details include a continuation of the exterior's center hood crease on to the center of the instrument panel, as well as a V-shaped center stack motif that also complements the design language of the exterior.

Additional interior highlights include:
  • Illuminated glove box with damped door actuation
  • A large, two-panel sunroof: the largest in its class (available on five-door only)
  • Available heated seats in cloth or leather surfaces
  • Auxiliary 12-volt power outlet
  • Easy-to-remove rear cargo cover
  • Power door locks (with central locking feature) and power windows with express down feature
  • Standard six-speaker AM/FM/CD radio and available seven-speaker sound system; multi-disc and MP3-capable radios available
  • Steering-wheel mounted audio controls (on XR models)

Astra's bold proportions, including a long, 103-inch (2,614 mm) wheelbase and 80-inch (2,033 mm) width, provide exceptional roominess and generous storage capacity. The 60/40-split folding rear seat also folds flat with the touch of a single, high-mounted lever. When the rear seat is folded, the five-door Astra offers 44.8 cubic feet (1,270 L) of storage space.

Occupant protection features

The 2008 Saturn Astra features a comprehensive list of safety systems to help protect occupants in the event of a crash.
Highlights include:
  • Rigid body structure with safety cage
  • Six standard air bags, including dual-stage frontal air bags; roof rail head curtain air bags and thorax/pelvic air bags (front-seat passengers)
  • Active head restraints
  • Collapsible pedals
  • Front safety belt pretensioners and load limiters
  • OnStar with one year of Safe & Sound service

Body structure: The unitized body structure is designed with a safety cage around the passenger compartment, and features optimized front and rear crush zones that absorb energy and help maintain the structural integrity of the passenger compartment. High-strength steel is used strategically throughout the body structure.

Air bags: All Astra models feature dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted thorax/pelvic air bags to help protect front occupants and head curtain air bags for front- and rear-seat occupants. Also standard is an automatic passenger sensing system for the front passenger seat; it suppresses the activation of the passenger-side frontal air bag if it detects a child or smaller-stature person in that seating position.

Active head restraints and collapsible pedals: Standard active head restraints instantly move forward if a rear-end crash is detected, reducing the risk of neck injuries. Similarly, the collapsible foot pedals move during a crash to reduce the risk of leg or ankle injuries.

Safety belt pretensioners and load limiters: When a crash is detected, the safety belt pretensioners immediately reduce the slack in the front safety belts, helping limit the movement of passengers. The load limiters permit a small amount of movement in the front safety belts, thereby reducing peak chest loads in a more severe crash.
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