Saturn Ion – First Drive Review – Car Reviews – Car and Driver

23 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Saturn Ion – First Drive Review – Car Reviews – Car and Driver


Saturn Ion

Cool? Yes. We’ll see.

Saturn has been building cars 1990, which doesn’t long, but it seems as if the Saturn has been with us forever. We that’s because age can be a plus to a entity – stay long enough (we exclude and the years add up to a totem of experience, and savvy. But that’s a distinct for a product, especially one that’s in an environment of relentless renewal.

that perspective, the replacements for the Saturn coupes and sedans are overdue – sufficiently in fact, that the Saturn honchos apparently perceived the old model designations as a liability. So discarded some of them and a name – Ion – as we all know, has something to do with and is therefore very mysterious. name has, predictably, Saturn publicists to all sorts of charged flights of fancy, as this headline: All-New Ion Sedan and Quad Coupe to Reenergize Small-Car Segment.)

Paring away the hyperbole, is at least one unassailable nugget of in that head: all-new. retains the element that to make the originals a hit: of the cars’ vertical body – doors, fenders, – are plastic, making owner-friendly for such activities as polo, parking by Braille, and softball games. Everything is new.

The new architecture (GM-speak for the platform), code name is shared with the Opel and soon will support the Chevy Cavalier and Pontiac New powertrains. New shapes. New interiors.

Even a couple of new ideas, one of works, one of which needs

The ’03 Ion quad coupe for one of those new ideas) that off the transporter onto our Hogback parking lot back in July familiar, and for good reason we last saw it at April’s New York show, where the Ion made its public appearance. So even the car was turntable pretty, with the carbon-fiber-look trim pieces, and was functional, it was far from showroom which meant delaying any impressions until we plant our in something a little more of production.

Even so, our first provoked a number of observations, to

Saturn introduced the third-door – a driver’s-side rear-hinged refrain from saying demi-door on the SC1 and SC2 – four ago. It was an excellent idea. The Ion coupe (meaning all Ion coupes) has rear doors on both which is an even better

The rear doors swing out 90 degrees, making rear-seat far easier than worming way into the back seat of a two-door car.

The Ion’s binnacle sits atop the of the dashboard, squarely amidships. designers say this is better the driver doesn’t have to about the steering wheel his or her view of the instruments and because less distracting to scan the by glancing to the right, rather down. We didn’t buy into rationale with the Toyota

We don’t buy into it here,

All Ions will be powered by Ecotec engine, a 2.2-liter 16-valve four rated at 140 and 142 pound-feet of torque.

Destined for use in GM vehicles, this all-aluminum is more powerful and distinctly (thanks to twin balance than Saturn’s buzzy old 1.9-liter fours, which been scrapped.

The standard for Ions will be a five-speed There are two automatics: a continuously unit – VTi (variable with intelligence) in Saturn – that was first in the Saturn Vue sport-utility and a conventional automatic (offered only in

As to performance, we anticipate smoother, operation, but it’s not clear the Ions will be significantly than their predecessors, the horsepower advantage (16 more the old twin-cam, 40 more than the old Although the Ecotec is better in way, it’s towing cars, about 400 pounds than the previous models, to factory specs. As a result, ratios between old twin-cammers and the new are very close, and we’ll be if the Ion coupe sprints to 60 in much than 8.0 seconds.

Bigger – 4.5 inches 3.0 inches taller (on a 103.2-inch up 0.8 inch) – equates roomier. The Ion coupe boasts a EPA passenger-volume rating, versus 84 for its Sedans grow similarly, two cubic feet inside.

volume – 14.5 – stacks up as best in And unlike in most small the rear seat is actually By adults. Briefly.

Dynamics: With an all-new shell, the Ion quad coupe to be structurally stiffer than the SC, and is the cornerstone of good handling. the design team discarded the all-independent strut-suspension setup for a axle at the rear to cut costs and cargo space.

Price. As we to press, Saturn would say that it will be very to current S-series numbers. prices for 2002 models from $11,035 to $13,890 for the and from $13,455 to $16,635 for the

Ion sedans go on sale mid-month, shortly after the first of the

Continued. 1 2

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