Spy Photos: Opel Astra Caught Testing In Death Valley

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

We know Saturn's bringing the Opel Astra stateside as a 2008 model to replace the Ion, so it makes sense for the General to be putting the hatchback through its paces in the worst conditions 'merica's got to offer. Guess we'd agree the 108-degree temperature of Death Valley's got to be one of those places — especially as we hear it was out there doing "stop and go" testing. But it won't be a full tour of the worst our great nation's got to offer until the three-door and four-door hatch is able to do a day in Juneau, Alaska in mid-Winter (for cold), Naples, Florida during Hurricane season (for rain) and Camden, New Jersey (for, you know, people with guns). [Hat tip to Peter for the camera phone shots!]


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@profmathers: the Astra VXR has perhaps a little more power than it can handle. Lots of torque steer and unpredictable handling in high speed cornering. Granted, Saturn could choose to remedy those issues in its own version, if indeed one is in the works.

"It's exciting in the same way that being shot at is exciting." - so I guess testing in NJ will make sense, after all.

Btw, Clarkson leveled much the same complaint against the Vectra VXR. However, he did recently give the thumbs up to the new Corsa VXR. Afaik, there are no plans to bring the Corsa stateside, though.