2007 Chicago Auto Show

February 9 - 18, 2007
Chicago, IL


2008 Saturn Astra
2008 Saturn Vue
2008 Pontiac G8


Pontiac G8 Architecture


CHICAGO 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.

The Saturn Astra will be offered in three-door and five-door models, each underpinned by a taught, European-bred suspension that delivers a sharp, responsive driving experience. Power comes from a 1.8L Ecotec four-cylinder engine that is both energetic and economical, delivering 140 horsepower (104 kW) and up to 34 mpg** on the highway.

“In Europe , the Astra’s combination of style, performance, safety technology and fuel efficiency have made it a hit with owners and auto critics alike,” said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn general manager. “Now, Saturn is bringing the newly restyled Astra to North America and marrying it with our celebrated customer experience.”

The Astra will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. It is the fifth product in a complete revamp of Saturn’s product lineup. In fact, when the Astra hits showrooms, the “oldest” vehicle in Saturn’s portfolio will be the Sky roadster, which debuted in March 2006. Other new models include the all-new Aura sedan, the redesigned Vue compact crossover – including the Vue Green Line hybrid – and the Outlook crossover.

“It’s not a stretch to say Saturn is all-new,” said Lajdziak. “The Astra rounds out our portfolio with a smart-driving, well-equipped small car that shares the European designs evident in all our new vehicles.”

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 offers technologies to provide 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. This 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.

An electro-hydraulic, rack-and-pinion steering system is standard on all models. It provides the solid, linear feel of a hydraulic power steering system, but improves fuel efficiency by operating the power steering pump only when necessary. The system has two available configurations: the standard 15:1 ratio on five-door models and a 14:1 Sport ratio (standard on the three-door; optional on five-doors).

Five-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.

Rear-end styling also features a bright trim bar, with large, wraparound taillamps and clear lenses. The center high-mounted stop lamp uses LED technology for fast and crisp illumination.

Proportions on both body styles suggest an enthusiastic driving experience, with the wheels pushed to the corners and subtle fender flares wrapped tightly around the tires for a tailored stance.

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.

All models convey the Astra’s sporting character through firm, well-supported seats and a thick, three-spoke steering wheel with rake and telescopic adjustments. Ahead of the steering wheel is a rounded cockpit binnacle that houses a large, three-dimensional gauge cluster – including large speedometer and tachometer dials. The sporty Astra three-door receives specific seats with more aggressive bolsters and lumbar support.

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.

OnStar: Astra comes with the latest-generation OnStar system, including available Turn-by-Turn Navigation. The system also includes advanced automatic crash notification (AACN). With AACN, an OnStar advisor is immediately contacted by the vehicle when a crash occurs; the advisor can determine the appropriate emergency help required and assist in sending it to the scene of the crash. Astra buyers will receive one year of Safe & Sound Service provided by Saturn.




three-door (XR) and five-door (XE or XR)

Body style / driveline:

5-passenger, front engine, front-wheel drive


unitized body/frame

EPA vehicle class:

compact car

Key competitors:

Honda Civic, Volkswagen Rabbit, Mazda 3


Ecotec 1.8L


1.8L DOHC I-4

Displacement (cu in / cc):

110 / 1796

Bore & stroke (in / mm):

3.16 x 3.47 / 80.5 x 88.2

Block material:

cast iron

Cylinder head material:

cast aluminum


overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder w/ variable valve timing

Ignition system:

electronic direct

Fuel delivery:

sequential multi-port fuel injection with electronic throttle control

Compression ratio:


Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm):

140 / 104 @ 6300*

Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm):

126 / 170 @ 3800*

Recommended fuel:

regular unleaded

Maximum engine speed (rpm):


Exhaust system:

stainless steel with aluminized coating on the muffler and tailpipe

Emissions controls:

close-coupled catalytic converters; Quick-Sync 24X ignition system; returnless fuel delivery system; fast-response O 2 sensor

Estimated fuel economy
(mpg city / hwy):

27 / 34**



five-speed manual

four-speed automatic

Gear ratios (:1):

















Final drive ratio:





independent strut-type suspension with stabilizer bar


semi-independent torsion beam with stabilizer bar

Steering type:

electro-hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion; variable-assist available

Steering ratio:

15:1 (std on 5-door)
14:1 (std on 3-door; opt on 5-door)

Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock:


Turning circle, curb-to-curb (ft / m):

34.4 / 10.5 (w/ standard 16-in wheels)



four-wheel disc, power-assisted w/ std ABS; vented front disc rotors, solid rear disc rotors

Front rotor
(diameter x thickness, in / mm):

12.13 x .98 / 308 x 25

Rear rotor
(diameter x thickness in / mm):

10.39 x .39 / 264 x 10

Front total swept area (sq in / sq cm):

124.8 / 805

Rear total swept area (sq in / sq cm):

93 / 600


Wheel size and type:

16-inch steel (std on XE)
16-inch aluminum (std on XR five-door; opt on XE)
17-inch aluminum (std on three-door XR; opt on five-door XR)
18-inch aluminum (opt on XR three-door)


205/55R16 all-season touring
225/45R17 all-season performance
225/40R18 high-performance, summer only





Wheelbase (in / mm):

102.9 / 2614

102.9 / 2614

Overall length (in / mm):

171.1 / 4346

171.1 / 4345

Overall width (in / mm):

80.0 / 2033

80.0 / 2033

Overall height (in / mm):

53.8 / 1366

55.2 / 1401

Track, front and rear (in / mm):

58.6 / 1488

58.6 / 1488

Curb weight (lb / kg, with manual trans.):

2833 / 1285

2921 / 1325

Weight distribution (% front / rear):

63 / 37

62 / 38








Seating capacity:





Headroom (in / mm):

39 / 988

38.5 / 977

39 / 988

38.5 / 977

Legroom (in / mm):

42 / 1064

36 / 907

42 / 1064

36 / 907

Shoulder room (in / mm):

54 / 1370

53 / 1346

54 / 1370

53 / 1346

Hip room (in / mm):

51.3 / 1304

51 / 1296

51.8 / 1315

51.4 / 1307


Cargo volume (cu ft /L, 5-door):

12.5 / 355 (rear seat up; up to cargo compartment cover)
44.8 / 1270 (rear seat down; up to ceiling)

Trailer towing maximum (lb / kg):

1388 / 630

Fuel tank (gal / L):

12.2 / 46.0

Engine oil (qt / L):

4.5 / 4.3

*Pending SAE certification. A new voluntary power and torque certification procedure developed by the SAE Engine Test Code committee was approved March 31, 2005. This procedure (J2723) ensures fair, accurate ratings for horsepower and torque by allowing manufacturers to certify their engines through third-party witness testing. GM was the first auto manufacturer to begin using the procedure and expects to use it for all newly rated engines in the future.

** Fuel economy estimates based on 2007MY EPA test cycle. Final numbers will be announced closer to availability.

Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.