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enzl

Great Astra Review

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The Astra has always been a fine car. The police here love 'em ... but then again, so do criminals.

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it looks so goofy with the little blue light tacked on top :D

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it looks so goofy with the little blue light tacked on top :D

In this country, police cars used for urban work such as the Astra usually have shorter light bars. Motorway patrol police cars have the full-width light bars.

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Weak engine, heavy car, poor fuel economy. But it has European styling!

Wait, I figured out a tag-line GM can use: "The sporty hatchback, with blazing CR-V performance!"

I'm surprised GM has managed to get as many journalists on board as they have.

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138bhp from a 1.8 litre engine isn't weak, especially in a C-segment car in which this sort of power is quite ample. This car isn't designed for use on drag strips. Like most small European cars, the Astra excels in its handling abilities.

Edited by aatbloke
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138bhp from a 1.8 litre engine isn't weak, especially in a C-segment car in which this sort of power is quite ample. This car isn't designed for use on drag strips. Like most small European cars, the Astra excels in its handling abilities.

The strength of an engine is relative to the car it is in. 138bhp is average for a 1.8 liter, however the engine is weak for the Astra, due to the Astra's heft. The Astra's performance might fly as a base model Cobalt, but the Astra is supposed to be sporty, and certainly not slower than the Cobalt. The Astra would really benefit from the 2.2L Cobalt engine, which is something I've said from the start.

European tastes are different of course. A 1.8 liter 118 HP Audi A4 would never fly over here, yet sells well in Europe.

Edited by siegen
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The strength of an engine is relative to the car it is in. 138bhp is average for a 1.8 liter, however the engine is weak for the Astra, due to the Astra's heft. The Astra's performance might fly as a base model Cobalt, but the Astra is supposed to be sporty, and certainly not slower than the Cobalt. The Astra would really benefit from the 2.2L Cobalt engine, which is something I've said from the start.

European tastes are different of course. A 1.8 liter 118 HP Audi A4 would never fly over here, yet sells well in Europe.

They are using what they have available to them.....and the 1.8L is the best bet for right now.

The 2.2L and 2.4L Ecotecs aren't available in the European Astra.....and it's not feasible to just "ship some over there" to install in the U.S.-bound Astras.....

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They are using what they have available to them.....and the 1.8L is the best bet for right now.

The 2.2L and 2.4L Ecotecs aren't available in the European Astra.....and it's not feasible to just "ship some over there" to install in the U.S.-bound Astras.....

I know why GM only offers the 1.8L here, being the only engine offered with both manual and automatic. They could have at least brought over the high-performance 2.0 version, even in small quantities. The 2.2L Ecotech, being such an efficient and good engine, why doesn't GM ship it over there for use in European markets?

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The strength of an engine is relative to the car it is in. 138bhp is average for a 1.8 liter, however the engine is weak for the Astra, due to the Astra's heft. The Astra's performance might fly as a base model Cobalt, but the Astra is supposed to be sporty, and certainly not slower than the Cobalt. The Astra would really benefit from the 2.2L Cobalt engine, which is something I've said from the start.

European tastes are different of course. A 1.8 liter 118 HP Audi A4 would never fly over here, yet sells well in Europe.

138bhp is pretty good for a 1.8; the Mitsu Lancer's 1.8 MIVEC produces 142bhp and that's all-new; the 1.8 zetec in the 1.8 litre Ford Focus produces 122bhp, up from 115bhp when that engine debuted ten years ago. Most 1.6 litres without turbos produce in the range of 100-130bhp these days, primarily in C-segment cars but also in many B-segment and D-segment models. The Astra isn't the heaviest car in its class, either.

The 1.8 Audi A4 flies in Europe because in a number of countries, it is one of the engine capacity dividing lines between different company car tax rates.

The Astra here has a choice of five petrol engines ranging from the base 1.4 to the 2.0 turbo in the VXR. In addition, you can also choose from four turbodiesels, ranging from 1.3 litres to a 150bhp 1.9. I've driven many 1.6 litre (for example) Astras over the years and they're perfectly fine motorway cruisers. They get up to 70mph quickly enough and you can spend all day at 90mph on the M6 in one quite effortlessly. Real-world freeway driving conditions in the States are no different (aside from the lack of lane discipline but that's another story) and acceleration requirements are certainly no greater.

Much of the problem in my opinion is US perception of small engines and small cars in general, which I find as irksome as the general US perception of Japanese cars does to GM fans.

Europeans don't define "sporty" only by top flat-out speed; handling plays a vital part too. The Astra 1.8 doesn't set the world alight, but it has terrific handling (like all Astras) and decent enough performance for most needs.

Edited by aatbloke
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I know why GM only offers the 1.8L here, being the only engine offered with both manual and automatic. They could have at least brought over the high-performance 2.0 version, even in small quantities. The 2.2L Ecotech, being such an efficient and good engine, why doesn't GM ship it over there for use in European markets?

Probably they don't use them overseas because, for Europe, a 1.8L is already relatively large for a petrol L4......bigger Ecotecs' increased performance probably wouldn't justify the mpg and CO2 increases.....

Also, bringing over the VXR powertrain would probably have been too cost-prohibitive for certification purposes....considering they probably wouldn't have sold enough of them.

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138bhp is pretty good for a 1.8; the Mitsu Lancer's 1.8 MIVEC produces 142bhp and that's all-new; the 1.8 zetec in the 1.8 litre Ford Focus produces 122bhp, up from 115bhp when that engine debuted ten years ago. Most 1.6 litres without turbos produce in the range of 100-130bhp these days, primarily in C-segment cars but also in many B-segment and D-segment models. The Astra isn't the heaviest car in its class, either.

The 1.8 Audi A4 flies in Europe because in a number of countries, it is one of the engine capacity dividing lines between different company car tax rates.

The Astra here has a choice of five petrol engines ranging from the base 1.4 to the 2.0 turbo in the VXR. In addition, you can also choose from four turbodiesels, ranging from 1.3 litres to a 150bhp 1.9. I've driven many 1.6 litre (for example) Astras over the years and they're perfectly fine motorway cruisers. They get up to 70mph quickly enough and you can spend all day at 90mph on the M6 in one quite effortlessly. Real-world freeway driving conditions in the States are no different (aside from the lack of lane discipline but that's another story) and acceleration requirements are certainly no greater.

Much of the problem in my opinion is US perception of small engines and small cars in general, which I find as irksome as the general US perception of Japanese cars does to GM fans.

Europeans don't define "sporty" only by top flat-out speed; handling plays a vital part too. The Astra 1.8 doesn't set the world alight, but it has terrific handling (like all Astras) and decent enough performance for most needs.

In the European market, the Astra does fine, but over here it needs more power to be competitive or class leading. No one "needs" 414 hp in an RS4, but it certainly makes for a more entertaining car.

There's nothing wrong with the Astra having a 1.8, but in the US, we already have powertrains (many of them 1.8 liters, too) that offer more performance, lower highway revs, less noise, and better fuel economy.

From a C&D small car comparison test... 0-60, mpg (2008 EPA city/highway), dB at max acceleration, and mph/1000 rpm

3: 7.3 sec

Rabbit: 7.6 sec

Civic: 7.7 sec

Elantra: 7.9 sec

xD: 7.9 sec

Focus: 8.1 sec

Sentra: 8.3 sec

Corolla: 8.6 sec

Astra: 9.3 sec

Corolla: 27/35 (1.8L)

Civic: 26/34 (1.8L)

xD: 27/33 (1.8L)

Focus: 24/35 (2.0L)

Elantra: 25/33 (2.0L)

Sentra: 25/33 (2.0L)

3: 24/32 (2.3L)

Astra: 24/32 (1.8L)

Rabbit: 22/29 (2.5L)

Rabbit: 74 dB

Focus: 74dB

Sentra: 75 dB

3: 75 dB

Elantra: 76 dB

Corolla: 78 dB

Civic: 79 dB

xD: 79 dB

Astra: 84 dB

Rabbit: 25.6 mph

Sentra: 23.7 mph

Focus: 23.6 mph

3: 23.4 mph

Corolla: 23.0 mph

Civic: 22.9 mph

xD: 22.7 mph

Elantra: 21.9 mph

Astra: 20.3 mph

A constant 4000 rpm at 80 mph makes for tiresome and frantic long-distance traveling, and with the sensitive throttle response at higher revs, a slight twitch of the foot instantly increases fuel consumption.

Edited by empowah
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In the European market, the Astra does fine, but over here it needs more power to be competitive or class leading. No one "needs" 414 hp in an RS4, but it certainly makes for a more entertaining car.

There's nothing wrong with the Astra having a 1.8, but in the US, we already have powertrains (many of them 1.8 liters, too) that offer more performance, lower highway revs, less noise, and better fuel economy.

From a C&D small car comparison test... 0-60, mpg (2008 EPA city/highway), dB at max acceleration, and mph/1000 rpm

3: 7.3 sec

Rabbit: 7.6 sec

Civic: 7.7 sec

Elantra: 7.9 sec

xD: 7.9 sec

Focus: 8.1 sec

Sentra: 8.3 sec

Corolla: 8.6 sec

Astra: 9.3 sec

Corolla: 27/35 (1.8L)

Civic: 26/34 (1.8L)

xD: 27/33 (1.8L)

Focus: 24/35 (2.0L)

Elantra: 25/33 (2.0L)

Sentra: 25/33 (2.0L)

3: 24/32 (2.3L)

Astra: 24/32 (1.8L)

Rabbit: 22/29 (2.5L)

Rabbit: 74 dB

Focus: 74dB

Sentra: 75 dB

3: 75 dB

Elantra: 76 dB

Corolla: 78 dB

Civic: 79 dB

xD: 79 dB

Astra: 84 dB

Rabbit: 25.6 mph

Sentra: 23.7 mph

Focus: 23.6 mph

3: 23.4 mph

Corolla: 23.0 mph

Civic: 22.9 mph

xD: 22.7 mph

Elantra: 21.9 mph

Astra: 20.3 mph

A constant 4000 rpm at 80 mph makes for tiresome and frantic long-distance traveling, and with the sensitive throttle response at higher revs, a slight twitch of the foot instantly increases fuel consumption.

Good post.

I'm gonna :deadhorse: here......

If GM had the foresight many years ago to develop an Astra (and Corsa?) that could have been built over here (or Mexico...whatever) and could have been certified with bigger and more powerful engines to accommodate the U.S. market, but still provide those tangible and intangible assets that makes European GM products so seemingly desirable, GM might be in a much different situation.

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If GM had the foresight many years ago to develop an Astra (and Corsa?) that could have been built over here (or Mexico...whatever) and could have been certified with bigger and more powerful engines to accommodate the U.S. market, but still provide those tangible and intangible assets that makes European GM products so seemingly desirable, GM might be in a much different situation.

Mexico offers the Astra with the 2.0L (200 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 193 @ 4,200 rmp) and 6M. Is it not assembled in Mexico? If the Astra is manufactured in Mexico, then why don't ours come from there too? Certification?

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Good post.

I'm gonna :deadhorse: here......

If GM had the foresight many years ago to develop an Astra (and Corsa?) that could have been built over here (or Mexico...whatever) and could have been certified with bigger and more powerful engines to accommodate the U.S. market, but still provide those tangible and intangible assets that makes European GM products so seemingly desirable, GM might be in a much different situation.

Agreed... like the PZEV (Tier 2 Bin 3), 25/36 mpg, 148 hp/152 lb-ft 2.2 in the current Cobalt. The ASTRA, btw, only weighs 100 lbs more than the Cobalt.

Few weeks ago, I drove my Passat 1.8T (~3500 rpm at 75 mph) from LA to SD, and the day after I did the same trip in my parents' 528i (~3000 rpm at 75 mph). On the freeway the extra torque and lower revs of the I6 made the trip so much calmer and more relaxing. It's a shame there are so few diesels that meet Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standards... I'm hoping the upcoming BlueTDI Jetta is reasonably priced.

edit - With all that said, I'd still take the ASTRA over a Cobalt or Vibe. You're right about those "tangible and intangible assets"; I test drove a base XE 5-door, and even with the plastic wheel covers and plastic steering wheel, it still feels German and "premium", better than the Cobalt or Vibe. The turn signal stalks are nice and chunky, the steering feel is nicely weighted, the brake feel is excellent, and the ride felt solid and substantial. Around town it seems quieter than the Rabbit, though the Veedub still beats it in door slam "thunk" quality... :lol:

Edited by empowah
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Good post empowah, I was going to reply but there's really no reason because all the data is right there. Those appear to be specs for the manual transmission models. Except I see at least one discrepancy: The manual-trans Corolla is rated to 26/35, and 27/35 is for the automatic model.

The Astra falls behind even further when you equip them all with automatics.

The Astra suffers from being a bit over-weight and having a 4-speed automatic.

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yes, like the boys above intimate, 4000 rpm at 80 mph is useless in America. Americans want more than 138hp, even in small cars.

9.3 o-60? not good enough. look at the focus......it even is over a second quicker. wow its sales are up to, way to get in sync.

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yes, like the boys above intimate, 4000 rpm at 80 mph is useless in America. Americans want more than 138hp, even in small cars.

9.3 o-60? not good enough. look at the focus......it even is over a second quicker. wow its sales are up to, way to get in sync.

Peak horsepower figures can be misleading, because very rarely do Americans rev past 6000+ rpm in everyday driving; it's almost as if its poor motoring etiquette. Doing so will attract unwanted glares, and the police will probably fine you for "display of speed" or "intention of speed contest" or some other BS. Torque is what matters... it's nice to have an engine that can pass without having to rev its brains out.

138 hp is enough, if you've got, say, 236 lb-ft at 1900 rpm.

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In comparing Astra stats, here's the situation in the market here with 1.6 and 1.8 litre C-segment rivals, along with a 1.5 in the Subaru Impreza since there are no other engines offered in the range here other than those that are 2.0 litres and more. The first figure is highway mpg in imperial gallons (4.4/3.78 of US gallon), then the official 0-60 time, and then its brake horse power rating. All of these cars score pretty equally and the Astra's 1.8 weighs in near the top of the bhp rankings, outflanked only by Mitsubishi's latest MIVEC, Peugeot's superb new 1.6 and VAG's excellent 1.8 TFSI unit. I have not included any 2.0 litre versions of these cars for comparison, or rivals with 2.0 litre units and larger, such as Chrysler's PT Cruiser.

Alfa Romeo 147 1.6 44.1 10.6 120

Audi A3 1.6 50.4 11.9 101

Audi A3 1.8 48.7 8.0 158

BMW 116i 1.6 58.9 10.1 122

Chevrolet Lacetti 1.6 47.8 10.7 108

Chevrolet Lacetti 1.8 no data 9.8 141

Citroen C4 1.6 49.6 10.6 110

Dodge Caliber 1.8 47.1 12.2 148

Ford Focus 1.6 51.4 11.9 98

Ford Focus 1.8 50.4 10.3 123

Honda Civic 1.8 52.3 8.6 138

Hyundai i30 1.6 54.3 11.1 120

Kia c'eed 1.6 52.3 10.9 124

Mazda 3 1.6 49.6 11.2 104

Mercedes B170 1.7 48.7 11.3 116

Mitsubishi Lancer 1.8 46.3 9.8 142

Peugeot 308 1.6 47.1 9.3 140

Proton Gen-2 1.6 50.5 12.6 110

Renault Megane 1.6 50.4 10.9 108

Seat Leon 1.6 47.1 11.7 101

Skoda Octavia 1.6 52.3 11.2 115

Skoda Octavia 1.8 47.9 8.1 160

Subaru Impreza 1.5 44.8 13.7 106

Toyota Auris 1.6 47.9 10.4 122

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 54.3 11.5 105

Vauxhall Astra 1.8 48.7 9.5 138

Volkswagen Golf 1.6 51.4 10.8 113

Volvo C30 1.6 49.6 11.2 99

Volvo C30 1.8 48.7 10.2 123

All of these cars can - and do - handle motorway acceleration and cruising speeds quite adequately, and all have comparable weights given the extra weight required by safety features in modern cars. I disagree that 138bhp in cars of this size and weight isn't enough. While fuel economy in the Astra's 1.8 isn't class-leading, it has superior chassis dynamics and handling than both the Toyota Corolla/Auris and Honda Civic, and VW-like solidity compared with the Japanese rivals, too.

The new generation of turbocharged engines in 1.4 litre petrol cars cars are interesting too, which the next Astra will also get an equivalent of. A selection of those on the market so far in this segment are as follows:

Audi A3 1.4 53.3 9.8 123

Fiat Bravo 1.4 48.7 8.5 148

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 48.7 7.9 168 (supercharged & turbocharged)

Edited by aatbloke
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9.3 o-60? not good enough. look at the focus......it even is over a second quicker. wow its sales are up to, way to get in sync.

Assuming you don't mind the 1990's chassis.

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In comparing Astra stats, here's the situation in the market here with 1.6 and 1.8 litre C-segment rivals, along with a 1.5 in the Subaru Impreza since there are no other engines offered in the range here other than those that are 2.0 litres and more. The first figure is highway mpg in imperial gallons (4.4/3.78 of US gallon), then the official 0-60 time, and then its brake horse power rating. All of these cars score pretty equally and the Astra's 1.8 weighs in near the top of the bhp rankings, outflanked only by Mitsubishi's latest MIVEC, Peugeot's superb new 1.6 and VAG's excellent 1.8 TFSI unit. I have not included any 2.0 litre versions of these cars for comparison, or rivals with 2.0 litre units and larger, such as Chrysler's PT Cruiser.

Alfa Romeo 147 1.6 44.1 10.6 120

Audi A3 1.6 50.4 11.9 101

Audi A3 1.8 48.7 8.0 158

BMW 116i 1.6 58.9 10.1 122

Chevrolet Lacetti 1.6 47.8 10.7 108

Chevrolet Lacetti 1.8 no data 9.8 141

Citroen C4 1.6 49.6 10.6 110

Dodge Caliber 1.8 47.1 12.2 148

Ford Focus 1.6 51.4 11.9 98

Ford Focus 1.8 50.4 10.3 123

Honda Civic 1.8 52.3 8.6 138

Hyundai i30 1.6 54.3 11.1 120

Kia c'eed 1.6 52.3 10.9 124

Mazda 3 1.6 49.6 11.2 104

Mercedes B170 1.7 48.7 11.3 116

Mitsubishi Lancer 1.8 46.3 9.8 142

Peugeot 308 1.6 47.1 9.3 140

Proton Gen-2 1.6 50.5 12.6 110

Renault Megane 1.6 50.4 10.9 108

Seat Leon 1.6 47.1 11.7 101

Skoda Octavia 1.6 52.3 11.2 115

Skoda Octavia 1.8 47.9 8.1 160

Subaru Impreza 1.5 44.8 13.7 106

Toyota Auris 1.6 47.9 10.4 122

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 54.3 11.5 105

Vauxhall Astra 1.8 48.7 9.5 138

Volkswagen Golf 1.6 51.4 10.8 113

Volvo C30 1.6 49.6 11.2 99

Volvo C30 1.8 48.7 10.2 123

All of these cars can handle motorway acceleration and cruising speeds quite adequately, and all have comparable weights given the extra weight required by safety features in modern cars. I disagree that 138bhp in cars of this size and weight isn't enough.

The new generation of turbocharged engines in 1.4 litre petrol cars cars are interesting too, which the next Astra will also get an equivalent of. A selection of those on the market so far in this segment are as follows:

Audi A3 1.4 53.3 9.8 123

Fiat Bravo 1.4 48.7 8.5 148

Volkswagen Golf 1.4 48.7 7.9 168 (supercharged & turbocharged)

Hm, it seems the only same-engined US vehicle we have to compare is the Civic 1.8, and even those figures are not perfect, since the European Civic hatch weighs more than the global Civic sedan, despite not having independent rear suspension.

But it is consistent with the data we have, in that the 1.8 Civic is quicker and more fuel efficient using both the US C&D comparison specs and the manufacturer specs.

Honda Civic 1.8 52.3 8.6 138

Vauxhall Astra 1.8 48.7 9.5 138

Honda Civic US 26/34 7.7 140

Saturn ASTRA 24/32 9.3 138

In the US, the Civic (1.8l), Corolla (1.8l), and Focus (2.0) are the three best-selling small cars, and all beat the ASTRA in fuel economy, engine noise, and 0-60.

Edited by empowah
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Hm, it seems the only same-engined US vehicle we have to compare is the Civic 1.8, and even those figures are not perfect, since the European Civic hatch weighs more than the global Civic sedan, despite not having independent rear suspension.

But it is consistent with the data we have, in that the 1.8 Civic is quicker and more fuel efficient using both the US C&D comparison specs and the manufacturer specs.

Honda Civic 1.8 52.3 8.6 138

Vauxhall Astra 1.8 48.7 9.5 138

Honda Civic US 26/34 7.7 140

Saturn ASTRA 24/32 9.3 138

In the US, the Civic (1.8l), Corolla (1.8l), and Focus (2.0) are the three best-selling small cars, and all beat the ASTRA in fuel economy, engine noise, and 0-60.

The Civic is indeed quicker to 0-60 and slightly more economical, but neither the torsion beam hatch, or independent rear saloon (which we in the UK only get in hybrid and Type-R forms; other European countries get a larger range) handles as well as the Astra. I'd rather lose the couple of mpgs - which don't break the bank even at $8/gallon - to the way in which you can throw it around windy country roads with much greater poise and enjoyment. The Astra's handling abilities are widely acknowledged as some of the best in class. But that's ancillary to my original point - 138bhp is quite ample for cars of this ilk.

In Europe, the Golf, Focus and Astra were the top three selling C-segment cars in 2007.

Edited by aatbloke
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The Civic is indeed quicker to 0-60 and slightly more economical, but neither the torsion beam hatch, or independent rear saloon (which we in the UK only get in hybrid and Type-R forms; other European countries get a larger range) handles as well as the Astra. I'd rather lose the couple of mpgs - which don't break the bank even at $8/gallon - to the way in which you can throw it around windy country roads with much greater poise and enjoyment. The Astra's handling abilities are widely acknowledged as some of the best in class. But that's ancillary to my original point - 138bhp is quite ample for cars of this ilk.

In Europe, the Golf, Focus and Astra were the top three selling C-segment cars in 2007.

Unfortunately here in the US, there are few windy country lanes, and most of our twisty bends are far away in the mountains, where few Americans actually live. Just as the Freelander diesel is more competitive across the pond than the LR2 inline-six is in the US, as you have mentioned, the ASTRA isn't as effective in the US environment because much of American driving is done on straight, wide, boring roads at highway speeds. My point is that relative to its local competition, the ASTRA is deficient in performance and ill-suited for American roads, as evidenced by being slowest to accelerate from 0-60 and having the highest engine revs at highway speeds, all while offering no fuel economy advantage.

It would be perfect if we could have the Astra's driving dynamics and style, and the fuel economy and power of, say, a 2.2 liter Cobalt.

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The Astra has always been a fine car. The police here love 'em ... but then again, so do criminals.

irv1.jpg

I'll take one of those... 8)

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