Here's a car that should give the 2010 Mazda3 and current Subaru Impreza a case of the "I wants." The new Astra has a rockin' body and what promises to be solid mechanicals. GM dropped off a current model Astra for me to evaluate last year and I was thoroughly impressed.
What hammered the current Astra here in the U.S. was the fact that it was rushed to our market at minimal cost. Various European touches such as odd graphics on some controls, a military clock and a dearth of cup holders didn't help, but a lack of marketing and a smaller dealer body sealed the deal.
No matter what, we'll major elements of this car underneath the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt. As for the Astra itself? There are some vague rumors that Buick might take a version: more than likely a sedan, coupe or wagon. As for the hatch? I posed this question to GM North America President Troy Clarke back in January at the Detroit Auto Show. I asked Mr. Clarke what role, if any, does he see for a premium hatch offering in the U.S. if Saturn bites the dust? Mr. Clark's answer was more optimistic than I had expected, he said that he thought there was a place at the table for a higher end hatch in GM's U.S. lineup, regardless of Saturn's fortunes. Of course, January was eons ago in GM's continuously changing world, so I'm not getting my hopes too high for a hatch revival.