Saturn ION

Following its own tradition, the Saturn Ion is known for the improvements made to the car during its lifespan. Each year, the engineers at Saturn attempt to change aspects of the vehicle that don’t appeal to buyers and industry experts. Throughout the vehicle’s manufacturing years such issues as the lackluster interior, ride, and performance received redesigns.

More on the Saturn ION
Saturn Ion Origins

Many brands are created in response to a market need or in an effort to compete with another brand. This is certainly the case with Saturn. General Motors created Saturn to compete with the Japanese car makers in the 1980s. GM found that these foreign manufacturers had the lion’s share of the smaller car market. The vehicles made under the Saturn name intend to bring some of those sales back to the U.S. The name Saturn honors the spacecraft used by the American space team a few years earlier.

By 1990, Saturn offered its first vehicles to the public; the public received them well. While the cars don’t necessarily offer the most powerful engines, they remain among the most fuel efficient of the time. From the beginning, Saturn cars earned a reputation for being well made and therefore became incredibly popular with American car buyers. Maintenance issues are limited, and most buyers feel confident driving these cars. Unfortunately, in 2009, due to bankruptcy issues within GM, the Saturn brand discontinued. Before that event, Saturn offered plenty of well received vehicles including the Ion series.

About the Saturn Ion

Saturn first introduced the Ion to the car buying public in the 2003 model year. The brand continued to offer it until 2007 in new editions. This model represents Saturn’s entry-level sedan car option. The Ion serves as a replacement for the failing S-Series. Although Saturn has a reputation for making quality cars, the Ion doesn’t wow industry leaders. In spite of its unique drawbacks, the Ion does relatively well on showroom floors.

The Saturn Ion is also well known for its odd appearance. Many people feel the car has a strangely designed exterior and interior cabin. The design lines do not flow in an appealing manner. While not unattractive, the unusual dimensions and line placement make the Ion a bit harder for some buyers to love. The body style and cabin design of the Ion necessitate an acquired taste.

Saturn Ion Features

The 2007 model year marks the last year Saturn chose to release the Ion in a new edition. Much like its past versions, this car aims to be affordable and a good choice for the younger buyers or those looking for an economic option. The Ion comes in two body styles, the classic sedan and the quad-coupe. This car also features three trim levels simply named base 1, 2, and 3.

Under the hood, all of the trim levels offered for the Saturn Ion come equipped with 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engines capable of 145 hp. Saturn pairs a five-speed manual transmission with these motors for efficient power. However, most models have the four-speed automatic transmission or even the continuously variable transmission, which Saturn offered on earlier models.

The trim levels offered for the Ion remain pretty basic. Only trim level 3 has practical amenities such as air-conditioning, power locks and windows, and cruise control. The upgraded trim also features 16-inch tires and wheels. Overall, most industry experts prefer the more efficient and more attractive economy cars on the market at the time.

Saturn Ion Evolution

The Saturn Ion did not enjoy as long a run on the market as the S-Series from Saturn. The GM brand produced the S-Series for 12 model years before replacing it with the Ion family of cars. First offered in 2003, the Ion remained in production until the 2007 model year. During that time, Saturn attempted to bring the Ion up to speed to compete with Japanese models but only met with limited success.

From the beginning, industry leaders suggested the Ion had a less than desirable, rough and bumpy ride. Over the few years of production, Saturn made changes to the car to counteract this issue. The Ion’s body and interior styling also turn some heads and not usually in a good way. Many feel the car looks disjointed and rather out of place with the sleek lines of the day.

On the plus side, the past versions of the Saturn Ion have several options for personalization of the car, as well as an amazing cargo hold for a car of its size. Many customers also appreciate the customer-inspired service and courtesy offered at the dealerships.

Select a Saturn ION Year

2007 Saturn ION

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

2006 Saturn ION

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

This car has a sleek look that was supposed to hook the young professional crowd, but it falls flat in terms of performance even with the 2.

2005 Saturn ION

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

The 2005 Saturn ION includes significant enhancements to make it a better vehicle.

2004 Saturn ION

Compact, Coupe, Sedan, Wagon

The 2004 Saturn ION comes in three different trim styles and includes a number of feature optIONs, ranging from comfort customizatIONs to transmissION and drivetrain optIONs.

2003 Saturn ION

Compact, Coupe, Sedan

The Saturn ION is all new for 2003 and has one of the biggest and most powerful engines in its class; nonetheless, its performance is extremely disappointing.