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Saturn ION



  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Ok man. Golf to ION. Mangos to Mangos, eh?
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Obviously a Golf to Ion comparison would make more sense than a Golf to Vue. The Vue has additional steel in its frame, heavier and larger springs, shocks, struts, etc., all of which cost more money.

    To price the Vue as low as it is, Saturn had to make compromises. Saturn compromised on appearance (and frankly, when I checked out the interior of the Vue, I saw nothing that said to me this piece or that will break before a similar piece in the Golf. So we are only talking about appearance, not durability.) Certainly when Saturn brings out the upscale version of the Vue next year, it should have the interior bells and whistles so important these days.

    And, Teo, I am not arguing with you about the importance of appearance. You are right. A substantial portion of the market cares more about how their car looks than how it is actually made (thus the ES300). Personally, I would want Saturn to concentrate on the space frame, ride and handling, and many other things before how its interior plastic looks. But that is me.

    For example, when I bought my Miata, I got the base model (cloth seats, so-so stereo) with the sport suspension. I added some trick anti-sway bars for a couple hundred in parts and labor. I also upgraded to Dunlop high performance tires. Final bill was about the same as I might have paid for a Mazda LS with all the pretty leather and the better stereo. Know what? I do not regret what I got at all. I want to drive, not look pretty.


    I know you have to buy before the ION is available. But wouldn't a hatch with the Ecotec be a great alternative to the Vibe/Matrix? There is a lot to like about the V/M twins. But going with the Toyota Celica engine and drive train seems a mistake in what by all appearances should be a practical machine.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    After looking at the specs of the 2003 Saturn Ion, I think this is now the replacement for my 1998 Honda Civic HX CVT coupe. :-)

    The fact the Ion will use the 2.0-liter Ecotec engine from the European Opel models (which means a reasonably quiet engine that can be revved easily) plus the VTi CVT automatic transmission means it's EXACTLY the car I've long waited for.

    Ditch that funny-looking steering wheel and it WILL be my next car.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I have the ecotec in my L. I can say with confidence that it is a very nice 4 cyl. Saturn may be on the way back with this pleasant package.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Saturn on its way back???
    With that steering wheel and that
    central-gauge placement?

    When I'm driving, I'm looking out on the road
    [ahead of driver]... and the gauges should be there too!

    Yuck... GM's trying to compete with the ECHO now...
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I honestly don't see what everyone is raving about here. Is it just because Saturn loyalists finally have a completely new small car to talk about? I mean Saturn fans have been starved for a new look for a long time, but this car isn't that great. The Ion definitely has more character looks-wise then the Civic and Sentra, but it's by no means a real pretty car. The front, as Vocus points out, looks almost exactly like the 99 Sentra: same headlight shape, squareish face, and painted plastic above a strange shaped grille opening. The rear looks like a Neon with a bloated bumper. The side could do without the character line curving up in the middle of the door (looks totally tacky and ruins the car's clean lines), and what's with the odd way the rear door ends in a large flat spot behind the rear window where most cars are curved (which also forms an unusual out of place triangular looking piece)? It also is way too big for an entry level small economy sedan. The front and rear overhangs are huge and yet the interior space is only 93 cubic feet, the same as the Focus and Lancer. Why have all that added length unless it translates into class leading interior space? The Ion won't be mistaken for anything but a Saturn, which I suppose is a good thing for Saturn loyalists, but its not a good way to attract new buyers. The interior, as I said before, completely ruins the car. Ugly, ugly, ugly! I'm definitely not impressed and will have no reason to shop the Saturn store.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    You ignore trunk space that is equal to mid-size cars. Larger sized compacts is the trend of the market. Given that Saturn will discontinue the L at the end of its run, it makes sense to have the ION come closer to the L in size. The NA market buys more trucks than cars. Smaller cars are not a good way to find market.

    I do not understand your comment that the ION will be mistaken for anything else but a Saturn. Are you saying that the ION should fool people into thinking it is some other car? Makes no sense to me. I suppose if I wanted to waste the time, I could make a component by component critique of the Hyundai. Frankly, I never really notice Hyundais, so I cannot be bothered.

    The ecotec matched with the Saab manual alone will be reason enough to consider the ION. I have also read very positive things about the Delta platform's road manners. But, as I have stated above, it does appear as many of you enthusiasts in this segment are more enthused with interior prettiness than road manners, however.

    As for the center guages, as stated above, the driver needs only a few minutes to adjust. They do not effect the driver's ability to see the road. The Echo is not the only car to have them, by the way. The Cooper does as well.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    teo : You were comparing the VUE to the Golf (post 85). I can't make that stuff up.

    logic1 : ION hatch would be a great alternative to the Vibe. Nice to see hatch back type cars coming back a little. Always thought they were convenient. I agree with you on the drive train, the 2.2L Ecotec is one of the better 4 bangers out there, better than the 1.8L Toyota in the Vibe for sure. Center gauges are no big deal either. People say they don't like them, but they likely have never driven a car with them either. Get used to it after a day or two, big deal.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    After getting some good pictures about the Ion, I think I know what the Ion reminds a lot of: a reduced size 2002 Nissan Altima.

    It's not the most beautiful car, but I think given its shape the car might actually be successful in Japan, where "surface excitement" is a major selling point of cars there.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Looking at the close up shots of the interior, it certainly looks better than I initially thought.

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Yes, larger compacts are the new wave, but Saturn takes it a bit too far. The small sedan is what made the company and is what it has survived on all these years. Abandoning it wouldn't be a smart move, regardless of what happens to the L series. So, your statement regarding small cars not being a good way to find market doesn't make sense. Small cars always has been Saturn's market. Increasing size to increase interior room is fine and dandy (to a certain extent), but 185" in length is a bit too long for an entry level car, especially considering its actual interior space. The car doesn't need to be so long to have good interior and trunk space. The new Aerio has almost the exact same large trunk (14.6 cu ft) and 90 cu ft of interior room with an overall length of only 171.3". So what did the extra 14" of length get you, a measly 3 cu ft of extra space. See my point? The car's packaging and use of space could have been much better.
    As for the center gauges, it is a big deal to a lot of people. I read the GM article and it stated the gauges are in the same line of sight as your side view mirrors. Well, for someone like me, who almost never uses those mirrors, it would not be in my normal line of sight. It's not natural to look to your side constantly. I shouldn't have to get "used" to something. It should feel right from the beginning (the interior is what you have to look at all the time). Yes, the Mini uses a similar arrangement, but the dash layout is more normal looking (no big pregnant pod sticking on top of the middle of the dash angled toward the driver) and the tachometer is still directly in front of the driver, where it should be. I suppose those who drive automatics wouldn't have a need to look at the tachometer and therefore might not be bothered as much by its location. However, for the city driver with a stick who likes to see what his engine is doing, its distracting to look to the side (think of how distracting it is to look at the radio and HVAC controls) and directs your attention just as much from the road as looking down.
    Lastly, I may like something to look nice but road manners are a top priority. The delta platform may be rigid and handle good in other applications but I sort of doubt the Ion will be a hot performer. It uses a semi independent rear suspension that is not capable of providing as smooth of a ride nor as good handling as an independent setup. The electric steering in the Vue has not been praised for its linear response and natural feel either. There are other cars that don't require you to have to deal with an unusual and ugly dash to get good performance. It's really too bad Saturn made so many mistakes. They need a car that appeals to just about anyone, not one that turns people away.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    "The small sedan is what made the company and is what it has survived on all these years. Abandoning it wouldn't be a smart move"

    Saturn sales have been in free fall since '96 and they need a new car big time! GM's deep pockets are what they have been "surviving" on.

    Bringing out another S series reskin would have been sudden death. Matching and exceeding the Asians is what it's all about now, not sticking to "what made the company" while sales dive.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166

    the only thing this car has going for it is the ecotec engine.

    that, and plastic doors, i mean, gotta have something that won't dent when people pelt it spontaneously with rocks and garbage.

    WHAT IS THE DEAL with the interior? Echo is something to copy? That steering wheel is gonna have a litter! It looks like the StaPUF man. Its poofier than hot Krispy Kremes on a Sat. morning!

    Lunchbox and kitchen garbage can grade plastics as usual.

    Moving to the exterior we see that a Neon has mated with the [non-permissible content removed] end of the Altima. A hint of beetle in the arc of the roof. That rear door must have been cheap to fabricate.....check out that completely straight cut line! That's brutal! I can't even quantify the issues with the C-pillar.

    Meanwhile, more and more buyers queue up at VW dealers swapping up the classy looking Jetta.

    "Quad" coupe is not so bad looking. What's the deal....GM dropped the "Quad4" so now they gotta have the "QUADcoupe?"

    Why can't GM design a decent looking small car? Why do they always have this freak show quality to them?

    To me the Protege and Focus (read...Ford products) still have the most attractive compact products.
  • tlindemantlindeman Posts: 16
    Wow...initial reaction to the design of this car is a little hot to say the least. Although I place a little more emphasis on substance than style I have to agree that GM is once again foisting something "different" on the public hoping that it will "catch on". I'll use the Pontiac Aztec as another example...where do they get these designers? The interior of the Ion is truly atrocious. Considering the resistance to the Echo (a very fine little car) because of the central instrument "pod", Saturn decided maybe the idea would work better in one of their cars. Also, just when you thought they couldn't design an uglier steering wheel than the 2 spoked lump they use now they come up with one even more grotesque...hopefully the actual production models will have a wheel a little more appealing. The electric steering is not considered an improvement in the Vue with it's quirky feel for the sake of a miniscule power savings but here again they decided to use it anyway. Thankfully, the drivetrain of this car seems to be proven and hopefully the build quality will be up to par. Please give us style, comfort and functionality and stop trying to sell vehicles with gimmicks.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    regfootball : Some how I just knew you would hate it.

    tomcat : You hit it on the head. Saturn has to match size and comfort of the Civic, Focus and Corolla if it wants to compete as there will be a LOT of cross shopping.

    tlindeman : Problem with the Echo isn't only the interior gauges. The car is just ugly all over. I think you will see more center gauges in other cars soon. I have heard many younger people comment on how cool they are and I personally don't care, you get used to it.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    Should have a "Inspired by Echo" badge on its interior. Nasty steering wheel (is it a bumper car??) and who really wants centre mounted gauges??

    Other than that looks competitive for those who like the exterior.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    but building economical. For the NA market, the advantage of a small car was that it wieghed less so got better gas mileage. The Delta platform is larger, but improvements in technology keep it light. In addition, the superior technology in the ecotec engine will no doubt allow a manual to get miles per gallon above the earlier Saturns.

    The ION will not be sold in Europe or Japan where the roads are narrow and there is little parking space. Except for fuel economy, there really is no advantage to having 176 inches or so when its buyers will mostly all have garages and drive on wide roads and expressways. And since the ION will deliver fuel economy as it is, the additional length harms nothing.

    On the other hand, the Delta platform places the wheels farther away from the occupants. This means the ION wil handle better than the S series. It also means the ION can have a stiffer suspension without any additional discomfort to the occupants as bumps and bounces are farther away.

    Even where I live - crowded Chicago - I cannot see any real advantage to buying a very small car unless you are hooked on the looks.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Well said. The ION will be hugely superior in every way to the old S-series. I don't even fit well in an S-series it's so small and I'm only 5'10.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    If you think that's bad, they tried to rent me a 2001 S Series one time. I am 6'3 and weigh about 260lbs. NEVER gonna happen! :)
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Ack! Yes, the front leg room on the s-series is ridiculous. The cars are good for shorter people, but that's about it.

    Looking at more photos and the ION really is good looking. Still don't care for the steering wheel though. Hope they change it, but they probably won't.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    The more I look at the ION the less I like it. Its clearly aimed at Saturn lovers. The interior is aweful and the exterior is very mediocre executed.

    I'll wait for the Chevy Delta Cavalier replacement if not the wife will decide between the Vibe and the upcoming 2004 Chevy Vectra.

    Also, Saturn doesn't validate GM Credit card points, another big dissapointment in my honest opinion.

    Lutz, How did you get this car come out like this?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    "The interior is aweful and the exterior is very mediocre executed".

    And your Impala is better how?
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Logic1: I don't get your "logic". By your reckoning, we might as well all drive huge Suburbans and Grand Marquis simply because our roads allow the extra space. Let me guess, you come from the era whose slogan was "bigger and longer is always better"? The longer the car, the less nimble feeling it is and the harder it is to park. Again, I ask, why have the extra length if it doesn't add space? It's a complete waste! A lot of people prefer smaller cars because they don't need to carry 5 passengers around, like the ease of parking, and like the nimble feel (I'm not talking Metro-sized cars, just large subcompacts and small compacts). The Ion is now about the same size as the 90-97 Accords, but has less interior space. What happened to the Civic-sized car? The Ion is definitely better then the S series, no doubt about that, and its about time they got a new car. Saturn sales have plummeted because the design has been too stale for too long and the fact they only sold 1 car for so many years, not because small cars aren't popular. Oh, and I wouldn't hold your breath on the Ecotec's fuel economy. It's a much larger engine then the old one and it only gets 26/33 city/hwy mileage in the L series. In other words, expect a large drop in fuel economy over the current cars.

    dindak: I don't know what planet you live on, but I'm 22 and no one my age I have talked to about cars has found the Echo's gauge cluster "cool". Every one of them hates the gauge location and think its the worst design they have ever seen, along with the Aztec's exterior. These cars were styling exercises meant to attract my age bracket and they have all bombed. Why Saturn would choose to copy the Echo is beyond me. It's definitely not because my age group told them it was cool.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Actually I was referring to kids and teenagers. I think center gauges are ok too though I do think the Echo as a whole is an ugly car.
  • nwngnwng Posts: 664
    I think it is a safety feature, since it is at the same level with the outside mirrors, you don't have to take your eyes off the road to look at the gauges. If you do not like the center gauges because that's not what you used to, wait until you see drive-by-wire systems starting to appear in cars, that will freak you out (I did)!
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    So I can go to the pub and have the car drive me home!

    Seriously, my problem with many of the current skid control systems being offered is that they don't give you the full solution, a car that not only stops skids but knows how to follow the road. To someone who is used to compensating for skids on their own, this system will really freak them out and like people who lift the brake pedal when ABS starts pulsing it, you'll probably confuse the vehicle systems if you try to fight the skid at the same time that it is doing its thing. If I'm going to have a computer driver, I want the full deal!

    Why just centre mounted instruments? Why not go for a full HUD? Use cameras to display images of the 'mirrors' on the windshield too, whydontcha?
  • nwngnwng Posts: 664
    I think it is a safety feature, since it is at the same level with the outside mirrors, you don't have to take your eyes off the road to look at the gauges. If you do not like the center gauges because that's not what you used to, wait until you see drive-by-wire systems starting to appear in cars, that will freak you out (I did)!
  • machiavellimachiavelli Posts: 260
    I think you'll see more HUD type dashboards as the technology improves and the price comes down. You aren't going to see it on a $15,000 Saturn for a LONG time!
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    No, I am not from the land yacht generation -- read my profile -- but I am from the think before I insult generation. I am 36 and have always owned small or mid-sized cars. My L is 190 inches. My Miata is 155 inches. Don't think either look like trucks.

    185 inches is not a land yacht. The trunk in the Ion will be massive compared to the S and larger than the current Civic and Corolla. You ignore totally what I said about the ride and handling of the Delta platform.

    Wrong about the mileage as well. The L weighs in at just under 3,000 pounds. The ION will be lighter and will also come with either the manual, CVT, or a 5 speed automatic. You will definitely see mileage in the high 30s, where the S is now.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    Too easy for the SO to see the speedo and nag to slow down. Oh well.
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