Want a glimpse into an alternate universe where GM never killed off Saturn? Look no further than Opel – the GM-owned European company that has silently created some of the Buick, Chevy, and Saturn cars we see on the road today, here in the States. The current Buick Regal? Actually the Opel Insignia overseas. The Saturn Astra? Try Opel Astra. And the Saturn Aura? Opel Vectra C. Even our beloved Saturn Sky…you guessed it…you can still buy it across the pond as the Opel GT.
There’s nothing new about this practice – companies have been doing it for decades. What makes it interesting now is that ever since GM killed off Saturn, we can get a glimpse as to what the latest Saturns would look like, were Saturn still around.
Opec GTC Paris Concept
Take this sexy little Opel GTC Paris Concept for example, just revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. Opel developed it to show “how Opel envisions the next logical step of a newly shaped line-up.” Muscular and sleek styling, but very doable in terms of being a concept car. They say it has a masculine “bulldog stance,” and is meant to be, as Opel puts it, “The achievable dream car.”
Inside, Opel used leather and microsuede in an interesting pattern for the seats, and a textured black instrument panel for a modern feel.
Under the hood, the GTC Paris is powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline-powered turbo engine producing a healthy 190 horsepower, and controlled by a standard six-speed manual transmission. A start/stop feature, similar to what you’re used to seeing in hybrids, cuts down on fuel consumption and emissions. The GTC Paris also features an adaptive suspension system to make sporty driving sporty, and conservative driving comfortable. Tech like this comes at a cost though, and I could see a lot of the features on the concept being dropped, were this ever to see fruition.
Opel Astra Sports Tourer
Maybe not quite as exciting as the GTC Paris above, but the Astra Sports Tourer is a wagon form based on the Astra hatchback (what we know as the Saturn Astra) – a smaller version of the Insignia (Buick Regal to us.) Normally, the Astra Sports Tourer wouldn’t have ever seen the light of day in the States, but the possibility is slowing increasing now that we’re getting used to sacrificing looks and “cool-factor” for utility.
Boasting an impressive amount of storage space (about 55 cubic ft) for such a small car, the Tourer is powered by your choice of nine engines (it would likely be three here in the States;) anything from a 95 horsepower fuel miser to a 180 motor, some of which powered by diesel. The same start/stop engine technique will be applied to one of the engines available – the 1.3-liter diesel.