For years, the only way to drive a European built econobox with a manual gearbox (other than something from VW) was to hop on jet for the continent and head to the nearest rent-a-box…BUT starting in the 2008 model year, GM imported the Opel Astra into the USA and badged it as a Saturn, which was great until they threw the Saturn brand into the GM dumpster liked a used Cobalt ignition cylinder. Another brand bites the dust, but a shooting star always burns the brightest right before it bursts into combusted space dust. Find this 2008 Saturn Astra XR offered for $4,200 near Boston, MA. Tip from Jeff L.
Magazine reviewers were excited when the Astra XR was imported to the USA in 3-door trim — particularly because it was something different, but also because the promise of European style/fit/flair is hard to beat. The 1.8 liter Ecotec 4-banger shoved a measly 138 horsepower and 125 ft-lbs of torque (what is this…1996?) into a 5-speed manual box. If you want more info on the Astra, read this 2008 Road and Track article.
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