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Saturn ION



  • vuefor2vuefor2 Posts: 490
    Uga91 ::: Our dealer had Ion 1s on the lot with ABS. We thought about it but decided on an Ion 2 instead. Saturn is good to offer ABS on all models / trims.

    Mdriver ::: A longer warranty would be nice but it wasn't a selling point for me. I'd prefer a good car.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I don't blame you for getting the 2. For not much more money you get a lot of more stuff.

    It's funny how people talk about warranties, but Honda does just fine with the 3/36--plus I don't think they even offer roadside assistance.
  • avemanaveman Posts: 122
    If you were an automaker looking to gain repeat business from a customer, what do you think would have more impact. The hefty incentive upfront, or less out of pocket cost and possibly a better service experience when trade in time comes around.I think auto makers should do a better job of being fair with customers in the service/ repair dept.I have seen people looking at the cool new car ready to take a test drive and be so mad at the service experience they swear off the dealer problem is when sales are slow the dealers depend on the service dept to keep the doors open. Their is almost an incentive for them torob you.I think more factory suppurt in the way of warranty and may help maintain customers.All cars have problems. I think a betterr service experince could help save repeat business. In a tough market not lossing the customers should be as important as gaining new ones.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    "I think a betterr service experince could help save repeat business."

    That's why folks buy Saturns.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Saturn is highly rated for dealership service after the sale - higher than any of its competitors by far.

    The reason a clutch isn't covered is because like brakes it is a wear and tear item. You could wear it out fast or it could last 200K+++ miles.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    "The 5/60 Hyundai warrant has no "holes" in it whatsoever"

    Uhhh ya - - - - right .. .. .. thats why Hyundai dealerships rate so high for customer satisfaction right? Oh wait - no they don't.

    Check the owners manual - first 2/24 has no holes - after that the 5/60 covers manufacturers defects only. Determined by who? Those same low ranked Hyundai dealers thats who.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I heard Hyundai's warranties are NOT transferable either.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    dindak, don't worry, we won't ever force you to have to drive a hyundai... :)

    repeat business is a tough deal these days. there is virtually no brand loyalty anymore and really that's because there is so many cars to choose from. Its nearly impossible to go with the same brands over and over. People's tastes change so much.

    But I do bet Saturn's service helps them to get higher repeat sales than other mfr's.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Yes - I think the Hyundai warrenty is transferable all except the 10 year 100K powertrain which is more marketing hype than substance anyways. It doesn't cover the electical controlling components of the powertrain like the BCM - and on a well maintained vehicle - those are the things most likely to fail anyways.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Man - I don't know what Edmunds was thinking when they ranked the Civic #1 and the ION dead last in their compact car comparison test.

    Yesterday I had one of those "I don't want a Saturn" customers. They typcially are 16-21 - female - and totally illogical. She was interested in a used Civic we have.

    It had been a while since I had been in one, so I was carefully checking out the car. It was a 2002, with 11,000 miles. An EX model.

    The first thing I was looking at was the dash. I know I'm not an expert - but I just don't get how the plastic dash is so much better than the ION plastic dash.

    I looked carefully at it. I felt it. I massaged it. I closed my eyes and tried to get it. I couldn't.

    Next was the ride - in a word - loud. Well - not loud but quite a bit louder than the ION. Road noise and wind noise even at 35 MPH. Even with the EX engine the car was not peppy but what struck me was the harshness of the engine. I was expecting a symphony of soft whirring - what I heard sounded no different than the ECOTEC.

    The customer loved it - I'm not sure why. I asked her after the drive to do me a favor and participate in a Saturn "survey". She agreed and I had her drive an ION. Thus I could be a passenger in a back to back comparison.

    I had a hard time finding anything about the Civic that was better than the ION. In fact - so did my customer. She liked the ION quite a bit more and when I explained she could get a new ION for a lower monthly payment than the Civic she forgot about the EX faster than you can say DINDAK....

    It could have been a bad example - but the Civic also had several minor rattles. Most people wouldn't even notice I'm sure but I am hyper-sensative. I was surprised but then again my brother-in-law's 2001 Mercedes E320 has more rattles than my L200 - so I guess I shouldn't be surprised....
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    In many people's minds, Honda can do no wrong.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    The difference between a Honda and a Saturn is not obvious until you live with these cars for a while. Keep in mind, I am not a GM or Saturn basher, I have owned many GMs including two S series Saturns.

    The ION is slightly quieter and the ride is softer, ditto for the higher horsepower on paper. The difference between the two cars is precision and execution. If a soft, quiet ride is your thing, the Saturn is better (but the Corolla is way better).

    I will leave out the discussion on styling which is a personal taste, but the ION is a far more controversial design than the evergreen designs of the Honda sedans.

    Where the ION falls down is the overall lack of precision. The interior panel gaps are uneven. They do buzz more than Japanese cars off the lot (my dealer was able to alleviate most of them on my Saturn cars). The driving position of the ION, despite being high is slightly awkward, as is the odd contour of the seats. The ION's rear seat, while spacious, is not comfortable. Keep in mind the Civic also has a flat floor which makes it far more usable. The steering in the Civic is very precise and crisp for a cheaper car and has a beautifully finished steering wheel. The manual gearbox and shifter in the Civic is an industry benchmark, period. I like the ones in the old SL but the ION's feels less precise and the shifter itself feels cheap.

    The difference between the cars overall is not as large as most people think. The Civic is not perfect and the ION does not suck. We are lucky to be living in a time when all cars are so competent we can nit pick like this. When I started driving, most small cars were junk.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    If I'm not mistaken, Saturn does have the highest--or one of the highest--levels of repeat business in the industry. I guess it's in the way they treat you. I'm on my third Saturn myself. But, the previous poster was correct when they said loyalty is hard. With the ways car change every year and with all the incentives available, it's hard to stick to just one brand forever.

    The 100k mi powertrain warranty Hyundai offers does allow 50k of those miles to transfer--but not out to 100k miles. So, I guess if you find a 2-3 year old Hyundai with under 35,000 miles or so, you could get a pretty good deal if your powertrain is warranted to 50,000 miles.

    As far as the customer blindly wanting the used Civic, that's the effect Honda has over people. They have everyone fooled into thinking their cars are the best--and they are good, I'm not saying they aren't--so folks want them no matter how unimpressive they may seem to others. It's kind of like Wal-Mart. They have people fooled into thinking they are the cheapest. Sure, their ad items are cheap--but everything else is the same or higher than everyone else. It's amazing how people will put up with the dirty crowded Wal-mart stores with pallets of freight everywhere and never more than 2 register open at any time simply because they think they are saving $5. But, I digress. Honda has that going for them as well--and they charge more for their product also.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    I like your Walmart analogy. I personally do not shop there, preferring our slightly nicer Canadian Zellers chain. But people are blinded by different misconceptions when buying certain products.

    Honda and Toyota have had some serious quality issues of late on their larger vehicles. Transmissions are failing on a number of Honda/Acura vehicles and Toyota's sludging issue is still out there. I do not see the automotive press giving them any grief over it, but if GM has a misaligned screw on 4 cars, it is big news.

    In the old days, some Japanese cars were better than say GM, but I think people buy the Japanese stuff due to reputation and perceived quality (nice fit and finish, precision of operation etc). I personally do not buy into the argument that Japanese cars are superior in longevity. Even the most recent "long term" durability tests are only for three years.

    Up here in Canada, our severe weather still causes those beautifully aligned Toyota/Honda panels to rust prematurely, so who cares if the engines last 400,000 km - the car looks like crap.

    I know lots of people who have had trouble with Toyotas, Honda and Nissans, and in my family anyway, all of our Big 3 products have lasted well, despite a few initial quality glitches.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I have a lot of issues with Walmart so I try an avoid it also. You are right, following the masses does not lead to the best price, value or product, it's just easy for some. I bought a Beaumark house brand freezer at the Bay 2 weeks ago and it was by far the best price on sale and it was made by the top maker. Most people would go to Sears or the Brick but I prefer to look for the hidden values.

    Honda offers no deals and I don't think they have the best car right now. I'm not knocking your purchase, it was made at another time. Given Honda's falling sales as of late (in Canada anyway), I'm wondering if other people are also realizing the same thing, Honda is loosing a bit of it's edge. Toyota on the other hand...
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    i got to sit on the Ions at the mall the other day and indeed the new plastic and interior changes do help lessen the blow on the interior. The tan of the sedan was much nicer than the black in the coupe. the tan plastic looks soft but is still hard to touch, but it doesn not look hard.

    the seats are not changed tho. nor the steering wheel. hopefully they will change those next.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    I have to say, I would buy the Civic again today. It was not cheap but it is a refined, crisp design, and offers the right balance of features for me.

    That said, the Civic is now in its fourth model year and one could argue that it is an evolutionary design theme that started in the 1991 model year. Considering that Honda Civic is Canada's top selling car for 5 years in a row, people may just want something different, especially when they are not exactly cheap.

    I think the new Mazda3, Corolla, ION and Elantra offer important competition to the Civic. Add to that, the value choices provided by GM, Ford and Chrysler and other choices like Sentra, Lancer,Aerio, and the various Kia model, there is just a lot of choice out there.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    The Civic is a fine car. When we bought our Saturn, it was down to the ION 2 automatic and the Civic LX with automatic. The two cars had similar price tags, but Saturn offered $1000 more for our trade (a 1999 SL2), GM gave us a $1000 owner loyalty rebate and 0% financing. I'm sure that 10 years from now, the Civic would have stood out as the better car (if history is any indication), but we went with the ION for the better "deal" with the incentives. I'm not anti-Civic. I just find it odd how many people will blindly align themselves with Honda products.

    Since we're plugging discount retailers, I prefer Target myself. The stores are always bright and clean and the employees are friendly. So there.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Love the Target. My wife always goes there when we are in Buffalo. Prices are about the same and you don't have to deal with the Walmart crowd.

    Not anti-Civic either. I just don't think it stands out or is as great as some think it is. It has the Honda reputation though and that will sell anything, even the Element.
  • avemanaveman Posts: 122
    I wish there was not so much fuss over the sheen and texture of the plastic parts.I no it is very important to some, but I think our safety is more important.If some maker wanted to use a plastic that gave off less toxic fumes or was more durable,they would get no credit for that unless it was pretty.For my money(and allergies), give me the simple plastic and make it low fume and durable.I think it must me harder to make affordable plastic to look beautiful and still be safe.I know th market and the media demand soft plastic, but if it means more fumes I was fine with the plain plastic.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 6,842
    Funny thing: someone must shop at Walmart because they are so big but I'm like you guys - here in Canada I find Zellers much better. They have really stepped it up a notch or two the last few years.

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    If plastics gassing off is a concern, avoid Korean cars- they really stink when new. GM stuff used to be really bad as well but Saturns and Japanese vehicles all use better plastics that are not as noxious. My brother is extremely sensitive to this stuff and only buys Japanese.

    These new softer plastics they are using in today's cars look richer but they are noisier over bumps than the older harder stuff. Older Volvos and Benzes never used to have interior creaks but the new ones do. Mind you the new ones are a lot prettier too. Both my Honda and Toyota creak in the middle of the dash over really bad bumps but it is slight and predictable. It took over half a dozen trips to Saturn before my 2001 SL got to the same level as my Corolla and Civic. My first Saturn, 1992 SL, had the harder plastics and never had interior creaks until it was older.

    On the Saturn, one of the many reasons to stick to dealer service is that they lubricate all the points on the body that need it to keep the car from creaking all over. I have heard people complain about these vehicles and it is mostly because they do not have it properly serviced. My Saturns were excellent throughout their lives and creaky plastics were never a real issue, beyond the silly warantee stuff.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338

    I do not know why this car did not sell. Arguably it is better than at lot of GM's other fleet mobile fodder, especially the outgoing Malibu. The 2003 L refresh was especially attractive but the popularity of the very capable Grand Am/Alero probably doomed the L series.

    If they are looking at 75,000 units for the new model and the ION is bare eeking out 100,000 units, that means Saturn's cars will be selling a little more than half of what the old S series sold at its peak. Even in its last full year, 2001, the old S series sold almost 180,000 units. Despite the Vue and the new minivan, the end of Saturn could be near, since Hyundai will be out selling it. Kind of reminds me of the demise of the once mighty Taurus.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The L-series was lower rated by most auto publications than the outgoing Malibu, so perhaps that played a role. The timing of the L's demise is a bit unfortunate, if, as the article details, it will be replaced for the 2006 MY. For 2007 MY, leaders like the Camry and Altima will be redesigned, and the following year, so will the Accord.

    Hyundai outsells Saturn because they produce superior vehicles at lower prices, with similar rates of depreciation, and more standard safety features. The Saturn experiment is an interesting one, but shows you that strong customer service can only go so far if the product isnt up to snuff. I hope GM can turn this division around much in the same way as Cadillac, as there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Saturn concept, its just not well executed.

  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    While the L series is loaded with goodies, I don't think most consumers are willing to pay Honda prices for the Saturn sedan. It's not that there is something wrong with the L300, Hyundai has the same problem with the Sonata. People say, "Wow, this car has standard this and standard that and way more bells and whistles than an Accord or Camry, but, I'd rather pay $18,000 for an Accord LX and at least I know I have a Honda--even if I do have fewer features." It's just the problem of this segment of the market. The top 2 selling sedans every year are the Accord and Camry. That leaves fewer people to fight it out over L300, Sonata, Galant, Grand Am, Malibu, Passat, Optima, Taurus, Altima, Legacy, Mazda 6, and whatever else there is to choose from. Maybe the new direction for Saturn in 2005 will bring enthusiasm for the Saturn brand. I hope so, anyway!
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    If Sonata sales are up 20% this year and the L is down 40%, they arent having the same problem....

  • on the pricing. When I bought my wife's L200 back in January 2001, it was about the same price as the Galant and 626, and a little cheaper than the Accord and Camry. If not for the eGMS pricing I get (my mother is retired GM), I would have bought the Accord. With the GMS pricing the Saturn was very attractive, and has turned out to be a pretty good car. Its had a few problems, but Saturn took care of it.

    I just went car shopping again, this time in the compact segment for myself. Even with the rebates and GMS pricing, the Ion was more expensive than the Protege, and was only about $700 cheaper than the Corolla. I was looking at base model cars, and Saturn only offered their rebate on the Ion2, not the Ion1. I really liked the 2004 Ion (nicer interior materials and better steering than the 2003) and based on the customer service with my wife's L-series, that was what I wanted to buy. There are some styling elements I don't care for, but the car is an excellent combination of room, performance, comfort, proven components and good ownership experience.

    I bought a Mazda Protege for $2000 less than I could get the cheapest Ion1 with AC and CD (my Protege is equipped exactly that way pluys an automatic transmission), and for that $2000 savings I got an additional year and 14,000 miles of warranty on a made-in-Japan car. Yes, the Mazda depreciates almost as badly, but for $11,200, I can handle that.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I really like the new L-series cars. I tested an old style model when we bought our Alero and I was impressed over all though the looks and lack of standard ABS pushed us to the Alero. For 2004 you get standard ABS and the remake of the car just looks and feels much better. It's also very aggressively priced. $22K and change CDN for a well equipped 4 cyl model.

    Unfortunately, I think sales will continue to lag in spite of the L being a pretty good car now and even being recommended by Consumer Reports.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    You did get a good deal, but it is not because the ION is too expensive. Mazda had the Protege on a fire sale to get rid of them. That's not a swipe at the Protege, it's just the truth. If you don't mind owning a brand new discontinued vehicle that no longer is made, then you can get a great deal on an outgoing model. Hope you have many years of good driving in your Protege.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    You are right about Sonata sales. I guess I did not make myself clear. I was not trying to say that Hyundai can't sell Sonatas. I was just trying to say that with Accord and Camry selling--what--500,000 units a year (combined), that all the other makes have to scrap to sell their models. Apparently, with the long warranty, reasonable price tag and Consumer Reports "Recommended" label, many consumers are choosing Sonata as their "CamCord" alternative over other options such as L300, Galant, Altima and the like. I was not attacking Sonata.
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