The Saturn Astra hasn't even hit production, but Car and Driver has already named the three-door version of the small hatch the safest car in the US under $25,000. This point becomes interesting when considering that NHTSA hasn't even crash tested Saturn's still unreleased model, but the European NCAP has. While the NCAP testing is worth precisely zero here in the States, the Opel version of the Astra was named the safest small car in all of Europe, beating, among others, Volkswagens that scored a Five Star NHTSA rating for side impact collisions. Since the Opel and Saturns are identical save for different badges and tires, the General has scored a PR victory before the first Saturn Astra left the assembly line.
The stylish and fun to drive (based off the Opel) Saturn Astra has almost been a forgotten launch for GM, with the release of the updated CTS and Malibu, but this small car represents a huge win for GM and its customers. It also magnifies the fact that we still can't get the European Focus Stateside.
[Source: Car and Driver]