Used 2008 Saturn Astra

2008 Saturn Astra
MSRP Range
$15,875 - $18,375

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale interior design, two-door model's sharp exterior styling, sporty handling.
  • No sedan version available, missing some increasingly common upscale convenience features.

Edmunds' Expert Review

It's the best small Saturn in years, but the 2008 Astra doesn't set any new benchmarks for the small sedan or hatchback segment.

Vehicle overview

Saturn's new tagline is "Rethink American." The idea is to convince shoppers normally set on buying imports to take a second look at Saturn's vehicles. To that end, the brand has completely revitalized its lineup in the past two years. For this year, a key addition is the all-new 2008 Saturn Astra. The Astra replaces the Ion, an unloved small sedan and coupe that, if nothing else, confirmed parent company General Motors' inability to build a really good small car. Unlike the U.S.-built Ion, the Astra is an import, coming directly from the factory in Belgium via GM's German-based Opel brand. (Suggested new tagline: Rethink Belgian.) The Astra has been a very popular nameplate for Opel (and its British sister, Vauxhall) in Europe, and the current-generation model, which has been on sale since 2004, is the car Saturn will be getting with only minimal changes.

There are two hatchback body styles, a four-door and a sharper-looking two-door. Compared to a Mazda 3 hatchback, one of the more established models in the small car segment, the four-door Astra is about 6 inches shorter. There's only one engine available for now, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder making 140 horsepower. (It's likely that Saturn will debut a more powerful Red Line version in the next year or two.) Thanks to its European heritage, the stylish Astra has a considerably better-looking and constructed interior than the Ion's, and its handling, particularly the two-door's, is better than what many other small cars are able to provide.

The new 2008 Saturn Astra is certainly a welcome addition to Saturn's lineup. It's a potentially compelling choice for a small hatchback or coupe, especially for those shoppers smitten by its sporty exterior styling. In terms of overall driving dynamics and interior design, we expect the Astra to match up well to top models like the Mazda 3, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Rabbit. It might not end up being the best in its class, but the new Astra just might make you rethink American…or Belgian.

Saturn Astra models

The 2008 Saturn Astra is a compact car offered as a two-door or four-door hatchback. The four-door comes in a base XE or sportier XR trim level, while the two-door is XR only. The Astra XE comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, a CD player, a trip computer, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and full power accessories. The XR adds alloy wheels, air-conditioning, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, air-conditioning and an upgraded audio system. Most of these features can be added to the XE as options.

The two-door Astra XR is similar to the four-door but also comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, sport front seats, a sport-tuned suspension and a quicker steering ratio. These performance upgrades are optional for the four-door XR. Major options for the Astra XR include a premium audio system and a premium trim package (late availability) that adds leather seating, front seat heaters and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A large sunroof is an option for both four-door trims, and 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires are offered for the two-door XR only.

2008 Highlights

The 2008 Saturn Astra is an all-new model. It replaces the Ion in Saturn's small-car lineup.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive Astra comes with a 1.8-liter engine that produces 140 hp and 126 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional. With the manual, the two-door Astra will go from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds. Fuel economy is 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway for manual-transmission models and 24/30 with the automatic.


Standard safety features include stability control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags, whiplash-reducing front head restraints and the OnStar communications system.


Compared to most economy hatchbacks, the 2008 Saturn Astra is pretty fun to drive -- particularly the two-door -- thanks to its European-influenced suspension tuning. In our instrumented testing, the Astra performed superbly, matching the handling and grip numbers achieved by more performance-oriented nameplates. Its growling four-cylinder may not produce the quickest car out there, but what the Astra lacks in straight-line go, it supplants with twisty-road fun. The car's European feel also extends to the taut steering, which provides plenty of feedback and quick action. In other words, forget everything you ever learned or assumed about Saturn.


The cabin is the Astra's strongest point, with the slam of the driver door alone feeling more substantial than that of some midrange Mercedes models. Like much of the car, Opel clearly had Volkswagen in its sights when it designed the Astra's interior, as the overall design is very reminiscent of the last-generation Golf/Jetta. The audio controls on the steering wheel and the combination of soft-touch materials, piano-black finishes and chrome-ringed dials give the cockpit a more upscale ambiance than almost all other economy cars -- much like the Volkswagen Rabbit. The only minor letdown is that the secondary controls are awkwardly placed and strangely labeled with acronyms and logos unknown on this side of the Atlantic. In fact, looking at the dashboard for the first time is like watching a foreign film without subtitles -- you'll understand what's going on eventually, but it'll take a few viewings. Also, unlike most other GM vehicles, the Astra is missing satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.

Both body styles have a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, and the five-door has nearly 45 cubic feet of space with its rear seats down. However, the three-door's aggressively sloping rear quarters restrict cargo capacity and rearward visibility.


Overallundefined / 5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Saturn Astra.

5 star reviews: 83%
4 star reviews: 11%
3 star reviews: 4%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 2%
Average user rating: 4.8 stars based on 147 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • handling & steering
  • fuel efficiency
  • interior
  • appearance
  • maintenance & parts
  • value
  • comfort
  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • doors
  • transmission
  • driving experience
  • seats
  • engine
  • sound system
  • spaciousness
  • wheels & tires
  • acceleration
  • dashboard
  • road noise
  • climate control
  • brakes
  • safety
  • ride quality
  • steering wheel
  • cup holders
  • technology
  • infotainment system
  • warranty
  • towing
  • lights
  • oil
  • visibility
  • off-roading

Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars, Been Good
Dan R,
XR 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

I bought the car in January 09. I have over 125k on the car. Overall its been a great car. Handling, braking are really good. Off the line it's ok, but get it on a back road and its a blast. Parts availability is ok, most parts store have most things in stock, but I usually order from rock auto and have them put on. They unfortunately haven't held there value, but that just means you can get a good deal on a used one. I would recommend this car to anyone in the market for a car.

4.375 out of 5 stars, Unknown gem

I was looking for an affordable well designed, well made, sophisticated, fun-to-drive SMALL car that got over 30mpg and didn't feel like a Fisher Price toy inside. Amazing how rare that was a couple of years ago. It has mostly fulfilled that expectation. (too bad Saturn went out of business 2 months after I bought it). Every drive feels like an event. This is as much about the overall quality of the interior (design, precise assembly & materials: I have leather), well weighted controls, beautifully damped ride and refinement of response than outright power. Actually the car has plenty of power, it just lacks torque below 1500 rpm, so it feels a bit dead until you learn to drive around that.

4.75 out of 5 stars, Love my Astra

After 2.5 years I still really love this car. Too bad they are no longer available here in the US. If Saturn had sold more cars like this they would still be around. Get comments from people asking what car that is, they love styling. Very firm fun car to drive. I live in Colorado and is great in snow. Have had no problems what so ever with vehicle. Dashboard controls a little hard to figure out as they are European based but not an major issue. A lot of car for the money I think.

5 out of 5 stars, Vroom my Saturn Astra
XR 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

First I want to start off saying I love this car. In 2008 I got my first car straight off the ship from Belgium with 12 miles on her. Eight years she was reliable and mostly unique. No-one knew anything about this car. The lack of finding parts for it was a huge setback for me. It was made for one year. It had many features that you won't find on the road anywhere else. The acceleration was also tricky. Sometimes it would go other times it would take a minute to hiccup. When it went it went fast. The handling was insane. It would hug every corner so smooth. For eight years maintenance became easier as parts started coming around and being more accessible. The thing you need to know. This was my first car. The only car I drove. On a frightfully raining morning last month my car went to the great garage in the sky. I want everyone on this forum to know this car saved my life. The side airbags were amazing. This car took on a full sized F150 and here I sit. The adjuster couldn't believe it and the tow truck driver couldn't believe it. I never had confidence in the safety because it was so small. Do not under estimate this car. On the other side. Yesterday received a paper saying there's a recall on the airbags for not deploying. Deploying too hard. Or spewing metal fragments when deployed. Keep that in mind. The steering wheel airbag never deployed for me. It probably should have. I had five out of ten deploy. Do not overlook this gem. It was and always will be my favorite. I miss it!

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See all 147 reviews

Features & Specs

XE 4dr Hatchback features & specs
XE 4dr Hatchback
1.8L 4cyl 5M
MPG 24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
138 hp @ 6300 rpm

XR 4dr Hatchback features & specs
XR 4dr Hatchback
1.8L 4cyl 5M
MPG 24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
138 hp @ 6300 rpm

XR 2dr Hatchback features & specs
XR 2dr Hatchback
1.8L 4cyl 5M
MPG 24 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
138 hp @ 6300 rpm

See all Used 2008 Saturn Astra features & specs
Is the Saturn Astra a good car?
The Edmunds experts tested the 2008 Astra both on the road and at the track. Edmunds’ consumer reviews show that the 2008 Astra gets an average rating of 5 stars out of 5 (based on 147 reviews) You probably care about Saturn Astra fuel economy, so it's important to know that the Astra gets an EPA-estimated 27 mpg. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that carrying capacity for the Astra ranges from 12.0 to 12.2 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Saturn Astra. Learn more
Is the Saturn Astra reliable?
To determine whether the Saturn Astra is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Astra. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Astra's 5-star average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
Is the 2008 Saturn Astra a good car?
There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2008 Saturn Astra is a good car. Our consumer reviews show that the 2008 Astra gets an average rating of 5 stars out of 5 (based on 147 reviews). Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2008 Astra is a good car for you. Learn more
How much should I pay for a 2008 Saturn Astra?

The least-expensive 2008 Saturn Astra is the 2008 Saturn Astra XE 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $15,875.

Other versions include:

  • XE 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $15,875
  • XR 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $17,425
  • XR 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M) which starts at $18,375
Learn more
What are the different models of Saturn Astra?
If you're interested in the Saturn Astra, the next question is, which Astra model is right for you? Astra variants include XE 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), XR 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and XR 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M). For a full list of Astra models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2008 Saturn Astra

Used 2008 Saturn Astra Overview

The Used 2008 Saturn Astra is offered in the following submodels: Astra Hatchback. Available styles include XE 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), XR 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and XR 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M).

What do people think of the 2008 Saturn Astra?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2008 Saturn Astra and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2008 Astra 4.8 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2008 Astra.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2008 Saturn Astra and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2008 Astra featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2008 Saturn Astra?
Which 2008 Saturn Astras are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Saturn Astra for sale near. There are currently 1 new 2008 Astras listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,994 and mileage as low as 21209 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2008 Saturn Astra.

Can't find a new 2008 Saturn Astras you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Saturn Astra for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $13,004.

Find a new Saturn for sale - 1 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $25,141.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Saturn Astra?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Saturn lease specials