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Saturn ION



  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    dan165: the last reskin of the SL lasted only three years (I had a 2001, to replace my 1992). In their last year of production they still outsold the ION.

    Vuefor2: Glad to hear your car is doing well - it mirrors the generally positive experience I had with my 2 SLs.

    I have seen the 2005 ION changes up close (see post 3154). I think the current design for the grill and the steering wheel actually fit the car better than the '05 revision. The changes are not in keeping with the car's overal design theme. The steering wheel really looks out of place - I preferred the one that looked like the pot pie. Interior fit and finish as well as quality of materials appears to be dramatically better.
  • Car and Driver did an article about a month ago on the new Cobalt, and apparently some (but not all ??) of its features will trickle into the 2005 ION. Will be interesting to see if Saturn "cheaps out" on the interior and the rear suspension ..vs.. the Cobalt.

    To recap, I thought the DESIGN of the ION was pretty decent and definitely a step above the older SL series. Unfortunately the ION quality is really hit or miss (J.D.Powers seems to agree as they rate Saturn quality much lower than Chevy or most other GM divisions).

    To comment on another poster here, I'm getting the same results Consumers Union got in their tests (the 6 cylinder Malibu engine is outdoing the 4 cylinder Malibu/ION engine in power __and__ gas mileage (26 ..vs.. 24 mph.).

    Should also add that here in Los Angeles, I see __lots__ of IONs on the road, but have seen only __one__ 2004 Malibu (the sedan, not the Maxx)
  • We just bought a new Ion 3 for my mother-in-law. I wasn't sure if she would like the Saturn but one test drive and that was it. We got a $3,000 rebate so we opted for the Ion 3 with a few extra bells and whistles. I drove it on the test ride first and then turned it over to my mother-in-law to drive. I really didn't want to give it up. For the money I was extremely impressed and thought the car was quite nice. We were treated like real people at the Saturn dealership. There was no pressure and we were made to feel very comfortable. Buying a car at Saturn is actually a pleasant experience. Other car salesman are like sharks. I feel like I am not in a place I want to be when I walk into other car brand dealerships. If every car dealership treated people like they do at Saturn it would be so much easier to shop for a car. Anyway, my son has a 1994 Saturn SC1 with 168,000 miles and it runs like a top. I bought a new SL2 for my mother in 1999 and we haven't put any money into it except oil changes and a new horn that needed to be replaced. I have a friend that I helped buy her 1993 Saturn and she just traded it in and got the new ION. Her car looked like it just came off the showroom floor when she traded it. I keep getting Saturns for other people. When it comes time for a new car for me I will finally get a Saturn of my own. I just like that car.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Congrats on the new car purchase. Glad you had a good experience. My overall ownership and purchasing experience was excellent with both my Saturn SLs. I owned one of the first bunch of Saturns that can into Canada. It was a 1992 model (we got them one year after our US neighbours). It was the best (reliable, trouble-free)car I have ever owned (though I have owned and currently own slightly more expensive vehicles). The second one had a few more quality glitches that were addressed by the patient local dealership. It too was a flawless car in terms of reliability. Saturn quality was always pretty decent and the car appeared to have fewer recalls or TSBs compared with other North American cars.

    The high driving position in the ION is one of its great features (and a must for when I was car shopping) but the new car was just too much of a radical departure for me to buy again (my wife however loves the styling). Plus the ION got 10 mpg (imperial gallon)less on the highway than my old SLs. Gas is expensive up here and I drive alot. It was one of the deal breakers, especially considering the car was a lot cheap than the one I bought. However the ION does have a nice quiet ride and decent handling. I am sure you will continue to get many years of enjoyment out of this car. Enjoy
  • Thank you. That was very kind of you.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338 flint.html

    This Forbes article is written by one if the auto industry's favourite curmudgeons, Jerry Flint. He has been an auto analyst since the 1950s and seen everything. I do not always agree with him but sadly he is more right than not. AT the very least he always raises some interesting points and knows his automotive history.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338 - flint.html

    This Forbes article is written by one if the auto industry's favourite curmudgeons, Jerry Flint. He has been an auto analyst since the 1950s and seen everything. I do not always agree with him but sadly he is more right than not. At the very least he always raises some interesting points and knows his automotive history.
  • Thats a good writeup in Forbes, and I think it hits the nail on the head. The Saturn S Series was a really good small car in 1990, it was a decently good car in 1995, and by 2000 it was awfully long in the tooth, with revisions basically consisting of minor interior and exterior styling revisions. It still wasn't a bad car, but the competition all had rolled out at least one new version of their compacts, with some of them having a couple redesigns under their belt. They eclipsed Saturn, and Saturn had no answers.

    The L Series was doomed from day one. In the midsize sedan market, you have to be good to compete, and you have to be as big as the competition. This car was a step below the competition, its V6 engine was mediocre at best, and anyone who cross shopped it with a Camry, Accord, or even a Taurus would have found it to feel a little tight inside.

    Hopefully their new products can reinvigorate the brand. However, if Saturn is about to become another division of GM, is there really a point in keeping it? It still has some of its import fighter image, but if they offer a bunch of rebadged Pontiacs and Chevy's, that image will die too. Also, can no haggle pricing work on a Saturn when Pontiac is piling on the discounts for what amounts to the same car just down the road?

    Now back on topic to the Ion. Are there any Redline owners on the forum? This seems like a car that just doesn't get its due from the press. There have been hardly any reviews out there, and if any other company put out a $20K car with a supercharged engine, they would be all over it. Saturn is also doing next to nothing to market the car.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Actually the L-series with a V6 was faster than V6 Accord, Camry, Taurus and most other V6 sedans. Problem with the car was drab looks, interior and quality issues. I drove a V6 L back in 2001 and it was FAST. I seriously considered a 2004 V6 L300 but I still preferred the looks of my GP.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    I have read many reviews of the Red Line vehicles in Canada for the Vue and the ION, all of them very positive.

    In fact much of the debate about the car's appearance did not really surface in the Red Line reviews, possibly because the design of the coupe is the more successful of the two ION body styles. I quite like the coupe's overall appearance - it looks great in silver or black with the black interior.

    Red Line would probably be a bigger success on a vehicle that has been less controversial and a large dealer network. No doubt GM is bringing the RedLine powertrain and hardware on the sharp-looking new Chev Cobalt and the even more attractive Canada-only Pontiac Pursuit variant.

    BTW the base pricing on the Pontiac Pursuit is similar to ION so GM will be competing with itself (again).
  • I don't have test numbers for these cars, but I find it hard to believe that an L series V6 is quicker than an Accord V6. The L300's engine puts out 182 HP/184 Lb-Ft of torque, and the car weighs in at just about 3200 pounds. Thats enough power to make the car move, but its not exactly up to the levels of the Accord, Camry, or Taurus among others. The Accord is putting out 240/212 in a 3300 lb car, the Camry has 210/220 in a 3300 lb car, and the Taurus has 200/200 in a 3300 lb car. At best the L series and Taurus should be close, but the two imports will take it (as will an Altima). The Camcords engine is also more refined than the Opel sourced L-series powerplant.

    Now, I do not think ultimate power is the deciding factor in sales for this class of car, but the two top selling imports best the L-Series in tons of other categories too. Size is important, and the L Series is a little small. Its interior materials are not as nice. Its refinement level isn't as high. One of these can be overlooked, but when it comes in second best in all categories, it will be stomped on in the marketplace and it was.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Back when I tested, L-series V6 0-60 was rated at 7.6 seconds and the V6 Accord was .1 to .2 slower. That said, the new V6 Accords with 240 hp are faster.
  • Fair enough, the old Accords were not as fast (200 HP right?) But .1-.2 to 60 is still not a big difference, and the Accord trumps the L everywhere else.

    Hopefully Saturn's Epsilon sedan will be another story! GM has to give it the 240 HP 3.9L at least as an option!
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Lots of good news during the past few days about Saturn generally. A new mid size for the Fairfax KS plant, home of the very capable new Malibu and plans for a new crossover and sports car.

    No news on whether its once bread and butter small car will be revamped. I guess they are focusing on segments they currently do not play in.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Revamped 2005 IONs should hit dealers any time now.
  • Just curious if any of the professional reviewers have had a chance to take the '05 Ion out for a spin. I wonder if they'd have some comparisons with the pre-'05 models they tested.

    I hope Saturn gets it together with this revision.

    My biggest wish for the Ion is that they convert it to a hatchback or liftback.

    But that's not in the cards for now.
  • Yes, Saturn is getting their version of the Malibu Maxx. Will be interesting to see what is different, and if it gets all wheel drive and/or the Honda engine.
  • Is there any information (or speculation) on the upcoming Saturn Maxx model? Is there a GM code name for it?

    Is this the replacement for the L series?

    Any speculation on whether the Ion will morph into the Maxx as far as sales goes? Will Saturn drop the Maxx and concentrate on the Maxx, Relay, Vue and any specialty vehicles they develop and build?
  • ok, which should I buy (ION2 or Civic)? I can get a loaded ION2 for about $1400 less than the Honda LX sedan. I like the ride of both and the features are pretty comparable.

    All the negative talk on IONs and Saturn make me nervous. I am thinking the safe buy is the Honda?
  • briefly, as this is an ION forum, Saturn will be building its 2007 version of the Malibu Maxx as an L series replacment at the GM Fairfax Kansas plant. You can read more at the reuters or car and driver web sites, to name two.

    As the ION's a delta platform and the Maxx is an Epison platform, I can't see the ION morphing into a Maxx, though Saturn could probably convert the Delta into a Hatchback if they really wanted to. Then again, supposedly the Maxx is not selling all that well.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    ION is perfectly reliable and your get A-1 service. Why be afraid of that? Nothing is a sure thing, no not even a Honda.
  • I have a 2003 Civic and have previously owned 2 Saturn SLs. Reliability was comparable so I would expect the ION to be the same. Maintenance costs should be comparable as well.

    I like the styling of the Civic better but that is a personal choice. Plastic body panels are a big plus for the ION if you live in an urban area.

    The $1400 in up-front costs is a serious consideration in favour of the ION. However, you will more than make up that different in the Civic due to better fuel economy and resale. In this latter area, Saturns used to be good but the ION has been a weak seller which means resale will be poor.

    The Civic feels roomier inside due to the flat floor in the rear and it has much better seats.

    Interior quality of the ION is now quite good so that is also not as much of a consideration in favour of the Civic as before.

    IMHO the Honda handles and drives better overall but the ION also has a nice quiet ride and a bit more power. If you are going for a 5 speed, the Honda is the best in the business, however I like the auto tranny in GM's cars better than Hondas. Keep in mind the Civic with automatic and a/c running full blast on a hot day is a bit gutless (I drive a 5-speed).

    You cannot go wrong with either of these cars.
  • I bought a 2003 Saturn Ion 2 in July of 2003, brand new. Since the time of purchase up to this date I will list the problems I have had.Please bear in mind that this was purchased BRAND NEW:

    1. Air Conditioning drips into the passenger foot area. Brought in to be fixed twice. Still drips

    2. Hood would not open. Brought in to be fixed, that was fine until the cable connected to the inside latch snapped off breaking both the cable and the handle, thus requiring me to bring my car back for further repairs.

    3. On the highway the engine started to race uncontrollably when switching between gears, luckily I was near the emergency lane and could pull over and shut the car off. Brought in to be fixed. Was told by the techs they could not find the problem and that they reset the on-board computer.

    4. Blower motor for ac/heater made scraping noises...finally fixed on the second visit.

    5. Headlights casings have a permanent haze from moisture finding its way into the case.

    6. And finally today, as of this posting the rod that holds the hood up when it opens snapped apart so that the trunk has to be held with a hand in order to keep if from cracking me on the head when I put stuff in the trunk.

    In my opinion these cars may run well but they are extremely cheap in construction. I will NEVER buy a Saturn again, in spite of the great customer service.
  • Sorry your car is such a dud. A new car that fails to meet your expectations is no fun. Hopefully another dealer will be able to sort out all these problems.

    My first Saturn was flawless even after 215,000 km. Any small annoyances were easily handled by the dealer or cheap to repair after the warrantee expired.

    My second Saturn had far more quality gremlins and most were fixed by the dealer who took 4-5 times to deal with some of the creaks and rattles on the interior. Again - nothing major and the car performed flawlessly, reliably and economically.

    Surprisingly my Honda has not been prefect quality wise either. Lots of little interior problems - all of which have been handled by he dealer. Again nothing big and the car is very reliable. Even our 2002 Toyota Corolla had a couple of silly things - it is better than the Honda overall in terms of quality.

    No car is perfect but as long as you enjoy the car and trust that your dealer will work with you on problems you should be fine.

    I always buy and service locally. I always haggle for a good deal overall (trade in etc) but I am not a "grinder" in terms of price. Others may get another $100 dollars of the price of the car but I always get a little extra attention on warrantee items.
  • vuefor2vuefor2 Posts: 490
    BUY it. Think about what you can do with $1400. You can get a real good 52" HDTV with that!

    We have had an Ion2 for over a year and it's been nearly flawless. Aside from a dud here and there which you will get from ANY car company, most Ion owners here are very happy. My wife commutes with the car and it's been a perfect choice and we love our dealer. How many Honda owners can say that? I know I despised mine.
  • Car and Driver had the headlight problems in their test 2003 ION, and the second ION I had had the blower motor noise you mentioned, as well as erratic transmission shifting around 3rd gear and other stuff posted earlier.

    Extremely variable quality, fer sure...some folks got good ones!
  • vuefor2vuefor2 Posts: 490
    I think most people here have good ones. There are always a few lemons, especially since it's a first year car.
  • danstdidanstdi Posts: 10
    We just leased a Saturn Ion 3 (Automatic) for my wife, replacing a Mazda Protege 2000 LX. The Mazda was a very nice car, enjoyed it but felt we needed a little more room. Our new Saturn looks pretty cool, it has the spoiler at the back and my wife really liked the appearance both inside and out. The trunk is huge! Performance is pretty good - the car rides incredibly smooth and has very good power for a 4 cylinder. I read in the edmunds review that one of the cons for this car was the lack of leg room in the back seats. WOW - that was one of the main benefits we saw in the car - there is actually more rear leg room in this car than any other car we looked at - and we looked at quite a few.

    The speedometer gauges being in the middle of the dash looked weird to me when I first looked at the car - but after driving it for a few minutes, I got used to it very quickly and in fact, it actually seemed easier to view than in the conventional location.

    The polymer panels are great - I know I won't be getting as upset about dings as I normally do when my wife goes shopping.

    The best thing about the car was the value for the money - hands down. No car in its class provided the same value as the Ion. We got the 2004 clearance incentives ($1,000 off + 2,500 litres of gas @ 20 cents off per litre) from GM + the model we chose (Ion3 auto, air, cruise, power group, am/fm/cd, 16" alum alloys, rear spoiler)was the service manager's demo that had 1,500 km on it which got us another $1,000 off, so we really saved a bundle on this car. When the salesperson told me how low the monthly payments were,I thought he was going to also tell us about a huge initial down payment (thats usually the way it works, right?). Then he told us the down payment was zero (ie no freight and all that stuff) - we only paid about $200 up front to cover off the licencing and registration, etc. So we have a beautiful new car, my wife loves it and I especially love the price - A HAPPY COUPLE!
  • bporter1bporter1 Posts: 229
    Besides the better looking steering wheel,and the new exterior, what are the other changes for the 05' IONS?
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