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Saturn ION



  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    "Focus, Lancer, Corolla all would be before Ion in the pecking order"

    Focus and Lancer before ION? The Lancer?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    A name like "Lancer" would drive me away before I even saw the car, LOL. Reg has a thing for Mitsus.
  • The Lancer is a very nice car, although I understand the US dealer network for Mitsu is spotty. The Lancer rivals the Corolla for build quality, is built on an excellent rally inspired platform and the engine is quite peppy. It is also very roomy inside, comparable to the Civic or ION and larger than the Sentra, Protege and Corolla, If I had not bought my Civic, the Lancer was my second choice (since we already have a Corolla).

    I think most of the bugs have been worked out on the Focus. I especially like the ZX5.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    The Lancer is a great car; the most underrated economy car IMO. I should know since my 02 Lancer has over 28k and never been to the dealer for a repair. No squeaks or rattles either. People are shocked by how roomy it is and how nice the interior is. Build quality is top notch and it has done very well in crash tests. It is definitely on the same level as the Civic and Corolla. The trunk is on the small side compared to the Ion but the roomy and more comfortable back seat make up for it.
  • vuefor2vuefor2 Posts: 490
    We looked at a Lancer before we bought our Ion. Seemed a bit low in power and the car itself just wasn't all that attractive. The local Mitsubishi dealer is a bit shadey and it's on the other end of town so that didn't help either. I also agree with Dindak, the Lancer name was not a big selling point.

    To each their own, I wasn't all that excited by the car.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I have to say I like the Lancer more. Although the Lancer's seats are a little uncomfortable for me, the ION's middle dash gets in the way of my legroom and makes the car uncomfortable. Also, I appreciate the Lancer more visually than the ION.

    Mitsus have low resale value though, because of all the rebates on them all the time. But that's most every car nowadays. I would gladly choose the Lancer over the ION if I had a choice only between the 2.
  • The new Lancer Ralliart with the 162hp and 160lbft mill has the power issue fixed and the handling reviews on it have been stellar. The new beak and nice bodywork extensions have made it look good too. The new Sportbak will have Volvo V70 owners doing double takes.

    My nephew has a Lancer he just bought and his twin brother just bought a Protege. He likes the Lancer because of the room and stuff for he and his newlywed bride.

    In other words, PLENTY of folks like the Lancer and you shouldn't dismiss it at all in comparison to the Ion because its more than likely a superior car overall. True Japanese fit finish and quality at a Korean price. Compared with all domestics except for Focus, its off the charts.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Saw the new 04 pictures in MT today, they are better than the 03. Dealer network in Canada is very small which could be trouble if I left the GTA and the name is still bad.

    Back to the ION.
  • back to the Ion.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Considering ION outsells it almost 3 to 1 (Lancer: approx. 4100 units/mo vs ION's 11,500 sold in the last month reported on That's with all the giveaways Mitsu does--you know, no interest and payments for 14 years, nothing down and your own private island for test driving a Mitsu and all else they give away. Seriously, Mistsu begs you to buy one of their cars MUCH more than Saturn does--or any other line that I can think of. I kind of like the Lancer. My wife could not stand to look at one, so we did not consider it. Even with the styling changes for 2004's Lancer, she thinks it's ugly. I looked at the 2003 ION 2 with auto vs. 2003 Lancer ES with auto. They really are very close. The Lasncer is $306 cheaper on TMV (I know they both have incentives and Mitsus are marked down) and the Lancer has a better warranty. The ION is a bigger car with a bigger trunk and a more powerful engine. The ION also has a rear stabilizer bar, 15 inch wheels (vs 14 inch on the Lancer), standard split-folding rear seat, available cruise control (not avail on Lancer), rear door pockets and seat back storage, air filtration A/C, available ABS and traction control (not available on Lancer ES), available side air bags (not available Lancer), daytime running lights, engine immobilizer and available alarm (none available Lancer ES). Again, I'm not saying the Lancer is not a good car; but, all the advantages of the ION and the superior dealer experience make the ION the better buy, IMO.
  • Mitsubishi's cars are quite good, arguably as good as many other popular Japanese brands, but IMHO is seriously let down by one of the worst dealer bodies in the US industry (did VW train them or what?) ;)

    This is not the case in Canada where Chrysler branded Mitsus have been top rated used car choices for years. While the Mitsu brand is new here, the dealer body was established by an ex GM of Canada executive who also set up Saturn in Canada (which is bundled with Saab and Isuzu). For Mitsu, he chose Chrysler 5-star dealers (the good ones) and new dealers which could meet high standards. Our local one is excellent.

    OK nothing beats Saturn for service but close counts if the car is also good. Yes the ION is larger and more powerful but the Lancer's interior is of higher grade materials which feel more tightly screwed together.

    BTW, my wife and your wife agree that the Lancer is not the best looking car out there. My wife much prefers the look of the ION - especially in black.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I never said the Lancer was a bad car. I even said I kind of like it. I just listed a few things the ION appears to have over it. You mention the higher quality of interior materials for the Lancer--how do they compare to the upgraded materials of the 2004 ION? I could quickly tell that the 2004 is improved over the 2003 when I sat in one a couple of weeks ago.

    BTW, black is my favorite ION color. We just did not want a dark car here in Atlanta. We've had black and dark green cars and we're going with light colors for a while now.
  • I have not seen the 2004 ION interior so I have no idea how big an improvement it is. If it is anything like the high quality interior of the new Malibu, I will be impressed.

    When my friend is back in the car market as he may be soon, we will go check out the new 2004 IONs. His old Corolla really wants to retire despite his intentions of getting another 18 months out of it.

    BTW is it just me or have they improved the materials on the interior of the L series. The outside was redone which I love, but the interior also looks better than when I drove it one year ago.
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  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I have not seen the 2004 Malibu so I don't know how it compares with the 2004 ION. I'm also not sure what Saturn has done with the L Series. Speaking of the L Series, have you seen what Saturn has done for 2004? They are all called L300 and all come standard with automatic, air, ABS, traction and side airbags. The 4 cyl models start under $17k with all of these goodies--looks like a heck of a good deal.
  • if you sit in both the lancer and ion i think you will find the overall effect to be that the lancer feels like it has more room and is more comfortable.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    A heck of a good deal if you want the least appealing car in its class.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Actually, I think the current L with alloys looks much better than just about any midsize car. Certainly better than Camcords.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Looks are subjective. Whats objective is the L's 10th place finish out of 10 in a Car and Driver comparison test, and Consumer Reports ranking of the L at the bottom of all midsize sedans.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Um, the topic here is the ION, folks....

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Lots of improvements to the car this past year, it's getting up there in years though. Quality is also up. I would think about picking up the bargain, it's not like its a bad car and the V6 L300 is FAST. Back to the ION.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    follow up, after not even testing driving an Ion (because as she put it 'looked strange'), almost went Protege and now looks like its a Hyundai Elantra. Mainly because its cheaper.

    Again, it was the looks that killed the deal from the Saturn perspective. Time for a big crash redesign. Musta been the pot pie steering wheel.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Hyundias are cheap and it will show in 5 years based on what I see on the roads.

    ION looks are not for everyone, but you could say that about any car.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    I find people tend to be polarised about the looks of the ION. Either you love it or hate it. It is not like the Civic/Corolla et al which are evergreen designs, but often do not get noticed as a result.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    "now looks like its a Hyundai Elantra. Mainly because its cheaper"

    Your co-worker is not buying an ION or Protege because they are more expensive than a comparably equipped Elantra. There is nothing wrong with that. Just say it's about the money. I've known several people with Elantras that are happy with them. I would just rather have a Saturn over a Hyundai, that's all.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Up here in Canada, on an MSRP basis the midgrade Elantra, ION, Corolla and Civic are within a few hundred dollars of each other. The only difference is financing and incentives. So Elantra is not really that cheap if you are not financing.

    The ION is actually more expensive than the Civic and Corolla without the incentives. You can usually haggle on a Corolla/Civic which will get you in the same ballpark price wise. Ofcourse with cheap GMAC financing, rebates, GM Visa points and grad discounts, and ION can be nearly as cheap as an Elantra.

    If someone does not absolutely have to have a particular brand, it is a great time to buy a car!
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    They have 24 hour test drives on IONs now with a C$500 off coupon. Might want to get your friend in on that deal.

    All the 04 info is up now also!
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Thanks dindak, we will be checking it out.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I wonder if for 2004 Saturn changed the odometer? On my previous SL2, the digital odometer would still show the mileage of the car with the car turned off. The numbers would be black, but visible. On my other vehicle, when you open the door, the odometer lights up showing you the mileage. On my ION, when you turn the car off, the odometer goes blank. You have to turn the key to see the miles. I know it's not that big of a deal, but sure was nice to be able to see the miles without turning the key on.
  • My Mitsu Galant (2002) is the same way, no odo reading without putting in and turning the key. It isn't any big deal though, and I'll trade that minor inconvenience for the security of a non-tamperable electronic counter.

    My wife's L200 is the same way, a nice digital readout, not sure if it shows mileage when turned off.
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