• Apr 18, 2006



Although the New York Auto Show provided plenty of flash for General Motors' Saturn brand, ranging from the PreVue concept to the Sky Red Line, the missing link in Saturn's future lineup remains a replacement for its soon-to-depart Ion entry-level model.

Back in February, rumors had GM renaming the model the "Evoke" and moving production from Saturn's Spring Hill, Tennessee facility to Lordstown, Ohio-- trading in the Ion's plastic bodywork for steel in the process. The Evoke was said to be based on the Chevrolet Cobalt platform, perhaps with European styling based on Opel models, but that plan has been scuttled.

Given the new-found level of integration between Saturn and Opel championed by GM's product czar Bob Lutz, the latest speculation is that the Ion replacement will be a rebadged Opel Astra (pictured). The Astra, like the Cobalt/Ion, is powered by GM's Ecotec engine family. (Read all about the Astra here.)

Given the delay in making a decision on an entry-level model for Saturn, dealers are already looking at a gap between the end of Ion production and the availability of its replacement. With time running out to make a decision, we're guessing that a rebadged Astra is the odds-on favorite to be the next entry-level Saturn.

[Source: AutoWeek]



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  • 48 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      A really great looking auto, I rally like that back quarter panel. I'm sold send it over.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Love the interior, hope they bring over the sporty two-door...

      http://www.opel.de/shop/cars/astra/gallery/photo/content.act
      (German gallery)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm from Canada, been living in Belgium for 5yrs. I am a total gearhead who owns a couple '60's and '70's musclecars, kept garaged back home, and I long for the day when we can be proud of our own cars again. But alas, I see only gloom on the horizon. I just bought a new Opel Astra 1.7CDTI, and like anyone who has ever seen or drove one, I love it. It looks WAY nicer than it's American counterpart, much sportier, and the interior quality and layout is also superior. For years I've been wondering why why these cars aren't available back home. Ditto for the Ford Mondeo, a very nice looking car with a great motor, looks awesome dressed up with big rims and spoiler kit. Why doesn't Ford sell the Mondeo in N.A.?? I feel sorry for you guys over there in North America- not my dad though, he gets to drive my Nova while I'm over here...
      • 8 Years Ago
      They just have to do it. The Astra would appeal to a wide group of potential customers. They could sell the wagon to families, market the GTC as a hot hatch aimed at Civic (imagine a blown GTC wearing Saturn's Red Line jewelery).

      And if they really had guts, they'd bring over the TwinTop and challenge the VW Eos.
      Tom Bache
      • 8 Years Ago
      In 2001, we came back from Italy after 10 days with an Opel Astra wagon and diesel engine. Terrific car, no complaints. I wrote GM suggesting they just bring the Opel over here and not bother with the current Saturn/Cavelier range of cars. By 2003 the Saturn Wagon was exactly that body-wise. By then we had bought a VW Golf with the TDI and never looked back. Still not too late, and we are looking for another commuter car. GM finaly got the message....
      • 7 Years Ago
      This would be very slick in the US market, IF and ONLY if GM does not dumb it down and gives us the full european version. If they dumb it down, I won't even think about it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      An Opel sold in the U.S. would have to be sold at VW-level prices, or higher. Everyone seems to think they could not change a thing but cut the price by a third. Not happening.

      Visit a Vauxhall/Opel site and check out the prices some time. Last time around people were wondering why we got the Malibu Maxx rather than the Signum. The Signum costs about 50% more, with a starting price around $30,000, that's why.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm in.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It'd be nice if 4door hatches actually caught on here, it's such a space efficient, and IMO attractive shape. We really only get the Mazda 3 and the Golf... the A3 is a bit expensive to compete.
      • 8 Years Ago
      For those arguing that it's too expensive to import (post #20 and others):
      If you do a comparison of cars sold in the U.S. and Europe (Mazda3, Mazda6, PT Cruiser, and dozens more) you'll see that the prices are never just a simple rate conversion. It's just the way things are; European cars are more expensive. So instead of hoping on Google and saying "That car is $30,000!" try to think a little.

      I agree that the Astra would make a great Ion/Evoke. I've lately been thinking about what I would replace my Mazda Protege5 with (if I actually needed to). The only car that honestly appeals to me is the Mazda3. I want a 5-door hatchback for the utility and people-carrying that still maintains good handling and fuel economy. The styling of the Matrix/Vibe/Caliber don't work for me at all. If the Astra were sold (without any dullness added) I would buy two: A five-door for hauling the bikes and gear and the GTC (Red Line) because I'm a sucker for performace 3-door hatchbacks.

      And since Saturn is borrowing cars from Opel, can they please borrow the logo too? I'm sick of the stupid rectangular logo and the Opel lightning bolt is sweet.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This looks spot-on like a Mazda3 5 door. especially from the headlights back. Even the c pillar.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I really like the looks of that car, and it would be nice to have an "American" hot hatch to look into when it's time to replace my GTI.
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