2003 saturn ion horsepower

2003 saturn ion horsepower DEFAULT

SATURN Ion Sedan 2003 - 2007

General Motors introduced the Saturn brand as an intriguing experiment that failed due to the world financial crisis but lived enough to leave some marks in automotive history.

Built on the same platform as the Chevrolet HHR or the Vauxhall/Opel Astra, the Ion was more than just an experimental vehicle. It was a compact sedan designed with outside-the-box thinking, which led to unusual solutions.

The three-box sedan shape with a cab-rearward design made a difference in its segment. It wasn't that bland-looking econobox on wheels that blocked the left lanes. At the front, its wide headlights and the five-slats grille that supported the red Saturn badge made a difference. Its raked windshield and arched greenhouse were not a common sight in the automotive design trends, while the short, flat, deck-lid with a tilt-forward rear panel completed the image of the unusual compact vehicle.

Inside, GM tried again convincing its customers that the center-mounted instrument cluster is better for the driver, but customers didn't like that. Even the steering wheel was less common with its round shapes for the buttons. The center stack looked more conventional, in a curved V-shape, where the carmaker installed the audio and climate controls. GM's addressed the car to the young generation and priced it low. That led to lower-budget materials inside the cabin. Still, it was better than other cars in the same price range.

Under the hood, GM installed a choice of two, four-pot engines. Saturn shared these with other brands from the big carmaker stable. It paired them to either a five-speed manual or a four- or five-speed automatic.

Sours: https://www.autoevolution.com/cars/saturn-ion-sedan-2003.html

Test Drive: 2003 Saturn Ion Sedan

2003 Saturn Ion sedan
Click image to enlarge

by Greg Wilson

A good car, but not a great car

Saturn’s new entry-level car, the 2003 Ion, replaces the enduring SL and SC-series cars which first appeared in 1991 and were updated in 1997. Like its predecessors, the Ion is offered in both sedan and coupe body styles, except the new ‘quad coupe’ has four doors instead of three – there are now two rearward opening door panels instead of just one on the driver’s side.

Both Ion sedan and coupe ride on GM’s new Delta global small car platform which is larger than its forerunner’s, and are equipped with a larger and more powerful 2.2 litre ‘Ecotec’ four cylinder engine, and a new optional 5 speed automatic transmission (sedan) and a new optional continously variable transmission (coupe) (late availability).

Current Saturn owners will be happy to know the Ion has those rust-proof, dent-resistant plastic body panels, and is built in the same plant as the previous model in Spring Hill Tennessee. An interesting new feature on the Ion is customizable roof mouldings which can be ordered in a different colour to match the interior trim. My test car for example, had burgundy exterior paint and grey metallic roof mouldings which matched the instrument panel and door trim.

The Ion competes in the most popular automobile class in Canada, the compact car segment. Competitors for the Ion include the Chevy Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire, Dodge SX 2.0, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Mazda Protege, and Suzuki Aerio.

1, 2, 3 trim levels

2003 Saturn Ion sedan
Click image to enlarge

Ion sedans are offered in three trim levels: Ion 1, Ion 2, Ion 3 – can’t get much simpler than that! Ion 1 models, which start at a reasonable $15,495 plus $900 Freight, include a standard 140 horsepower 2.2 litre four cylinder engine, 5 speed manual transmission, body-coloured bumpers, 14 inch tires and wheels, cloth seats, AM/FM radio with four speakers, 60/40 folding rear seatbacks, electro-hydraulic power steering, tilt steering wheel, digital clock, and driver/passenger front airbags.

I was pleased to see that the base model is available with optional ABS (which includes traction control), and optional head curtain airbags. Many compact cars only offer ABS on higher trim levels, and the Ion is the first compact car to offer optional head airbags.

Ion 2 models, which start at $17,795, add the following standard features to the Ion 1’s equipment list: air conditioning, CD player, 15 inch tires and wheels, body coloured door handles, power door locks, height-adjustable driver’s seat, and better seat fabric.

2003 Saturn Ion sedan
Click image to enlarge

Top-of-the-line Ion 3 models, with an MSRP of $20,150, add 16 inch tires and alloy wheels, a premium AM/FM/cassette/ CD player with auto tone control, auto reverse music search, and seek and scan functions; power windows, power mirrors, front fog lamps, cruise control, silver-faced gauges, and up-level fabric seats. The Ion 3 is the only model available with optional leather seats.
My test car was an Ion 3 model with cloth upholstery and a five-speed automatic transmission and rear spoiler. With options, Freight and A/C tax, my test car came to $22,850.

Ion is bigger than predecessor

2003 Saturn Ion sedan
Click image to enlarge

The first thing you’ll notice about the Ion sedan is that it is considerably bigger than the SL-series sedans that it replaces. Length has increased by 168 mm (6.6 in.), width by 20 mm (0.8 in.), and height by a substantial 61 mm (2.4 in.). As well, the wheelbase is longer by 20 mm (0.8 in.). The Ion’s increased dimensions mean more legroom, headroom and trunk space, but most of that extra room seems to have gone into the trunk. The Ion’s roomy trunk (416 litres/14.7 cu. ft.) is about 18% bigger than the trunk of the SL sedan, while interior volume has increased by only 2%.

The Ion is approximately 165 kilograms (360 lb.) heavier than the SL sedan but has a larger, more powerful four cylinder engine to make up for the weight gain. The new 140 horsepower 2.2 litre ‘Ecotec’ DOHC four cylinder engine with counter-rotating balance shafts has replaced both the SL sedan’s base 100 horsepower single overhead cam 1.9 litre four cylinder engine and the SL1/SL2’s 124 horsepower twin cam 1.9 litre four cylinder engine. The new engine is smoother and more responsive but not as fuel efficient, most likely because of the Ion’s extra weight. The Ion’s city/hwy fuel consumption of 9.9 l/100 km (29 mpg)/6.8 l/100 km (42 mpg) is still reasonably thrifty, and surprisingly, fuel consumption with the new five-speed automatic transmission is actually slightly better than with the manual transmission.

The Ion’s suspension is all new, and to some it will be a disappointment. The previous independent rear multi-link suspension has been replaced with a semi-independent torsion beam setup. While the new rear suspension is more space-efficient, and provides a comfortable ride and decent handling over most paved surfaces, it lacks the ability for each rear wheel to act independently. Up front, the Ion retains an independent strut-type setup.

Interior features centre instruments

2003 Saturn Ion sedan
Click image to enlarge

Getting in to the Ion is pretty easy because all four of the Ion’s doors are large, and the roof is fairly tall. However, the rear doors of my test car closed with a loose clunking sound that made me think they weren’t closed properly – even though they were.

Like the Toyota Echo, the Ion has the instruments mounted in the centre dash area at an angle facing the driver. There are two advantages to this: the gauges are not obscured by the steering wheel, and the driver doesn’t have to look down and refocus his/her eyes to see the gauges. But, the driver has to turn his/her head slightly to view the instruments, and drivers do tend to steer where they look…

Though the Ion’s instruments are farther away, I found the white-faced gauges easy to read because the numerals are larger and bolder, and they are back-illuminated at night. The gauges include a large central speedometer, smaller tachometer, and two small fuel and coolant gauges.
As well, positioning the gauges in the centre enabled GM to design a smaller, lower steering wheel which I found easier to hold because it took some of the weight off my arms. As well, the Ion’s steering wheel can be tilted up and down.

Four large air vents, which swivel in their sockets, stick out of the dash – these can be pointed in almost any direction for creative air flow. The dashboard itself resembles a jigsaw puzzle of interlocking pieces of different textures and shades – in my opinion, it doesn’t have the same homogenous look of competitors like the Protege and Civic, and the quality of the plastic materials is not quite as good as some of its import competitors.

The Ion’s front buckets are firm but comfortable, with some side and thigh support, and a medium-quality cloth covering. I liked the ratchet-type height adjustment which allows you to pump down to lower the seat cushion, and pump up to raise it. Each front seat has donut-shaped head restraints, which help improve visibility whether you’re looking from the front to the rear, or vica-versa.

The central instrument control panel is well laid out with plain white lettering on black buttons for the radio/cassette/CD player and heater. Remember, the ‘ION’ logo at the top of the IP is not a cassette player, even though it looks like one. The bottom of the centre stack is where an open storage area is usually found, but not in the Ion. There is an open storage area under the handbrake lever next to a 12 volt powerpoint where you can charge your phone. As well, there is an open coin tray and a flip-down bin to the left of the steering wheel, door pockets, a glovebox, and a small covered armrest/storage bin between the front seats. The armrest though, is too far back to rest your arm on. The Ion has two front cupholders, one larger and deeper than the other; and two rear cupholders.

It might have just been me, but I found my right leg rubbing painfully on the centre console – either the centre console is too wide or the accelerator pedal is too close to the centre console.

The rear bench seat offers generous headroom and kneeroom, but there’s not much footroom under the front seats. I found the raised ‘theatre style’ rear seats comfortable, but the seatbacks were a bit firm. Two adults can sit comfortably at the rear, but three is tight. As well, the centre rear occupant has to straddle the two cupholders which stick out from the back of the centre console. Rear passengers have a 12 volt powerpoint for games and accessories, two rear door pockets, a map pocket on the back of the front passenger seat, and outboard armrests. There are three 3-point seatbelts at the rear, but the two fixed outboard rear head restraints are too small to provide adequate whiplash protection for adults.

2003 Saturn Ion sedan
Click image to enlarge

The Ion’s 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks can only be released from inside the trunk – a good idea because it prevents thieves from entering the trunk from the passenger compartment. Inside the trunk, there are two cable release handles within easy reach. The trunk lid can be opened with a key or a remote key fob, handy when you don’t want to fumble around looking for the lock or the trunk release. The trunk is big for a small car, and is fully carpeted. Underneath the cargo floor is a compact spare tire and, surprise, the car’s battery. The rear-mounted battery helps balance the car’s front-to-rear weight distribution.

Driving impressions

2003 Saturn Ion sedan
Click image to enlarge

The Ion’s new 2.2 litre ‘Ecotec’ four cylinder engine idles smoothly and quietly, and acceleration is brisk from a standing start. The engine has generous torque, but 0 to 100 km/h times are about average in the compact car class. According to the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada track tests, the Ion with an automatic transmission goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.4 seconds. The engine emits a buzzy sound under acceleration, but is very quiet on the freeway and at moderate engine speeds. At a steady 100 km/h, the engine does just 2200 rpm. At 120 km/h, it does 2600 rpm.

Fuel consumption is thrifty, but not class-leading: with an automatic transmission, the Ion offers 9.9 l/100 km (29 mpg) in the city and 6.8 l/100 km (42 mpg) on the highway. The Ion uses Regular fuel but doesn’t have a locking fuel door or gas cap.

The new 5-speed automatic transmission is exceptional for this class of car. Shifts are smooth and silent, it responds well to kick-down, and it shifts down automatically when descending a grade or braking for a corner. My only complaint is that the shift lever doesn’t have the same tight, well-oiled shift feel as a Civic or Jetta – it just felt a bit loose to me.

The Ion rides very smoothly and tracks well at high speeds, and though it’s not quite as nimble as the SL series sedans, it handles well. The optional 16 inch Firestone Firehawk tires on my test car were quiet on the highway and offered decent grip in dry conditions, but I found they slipped easily when accelerating on wet pavement, something not normally experienced on a front-wheel-drive car.

I liked the Ion’s new variable-ratio electric power steering which is lightweight at low speeds and comparatively quick and responsive when compared with some compact cars. The Ion’s turning diameter of 10.8 m (35.4 ft.) is also comparatively tight. For braking, all Ions have front disc/rear drum brakes with optional anti-lock brakes – four wheel disc brakes are not offered.

Competitor overview

The Ion’s lengthy list of compact competitors includes the best-selling car in Canada, the Honda Civic, and other very popular cars like the Chevy Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire, Toyota Corolla and Mazda Protege. In most respects – price, horsepower, ride, handling, quietness, cabin space, trunk space, and warranty – the Ion is competitive with these cars, but its level of interior quality and fit and finish was not quite as good as some of the imports, and its conservative styling isn’t really attention-grabbing.


The compact Saturn Ion sedan offers a smooth powertrain, a comfortable ride, and a big trunk, but it’s styling and performance aren’t outstanding, and its interior quality could be improved.

Technical Data: 2003 Saturn Ion 3

Base price (1)$15,495
Base price (2)$17,795
Base price (3)$20,150
A/C tax$100
Options$1,700 (5 spd auto., rear spoiler)
Price as tested$22,850
Type4-door, 5 passenger compact sedan
Layouttransverse front engine/front-wheel-drive
Engine2.2 litre 4 cylinder ‘Ecotec’, DOHC, 16 valves, balance shafts
Horsepower140 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque145 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Transmission5-speed automatic
TiresFirestone Firehawk P205/55R16 – all season
Curb weight1255 kg. (2766 lb.)
Wheelbase2621 mm (103.2 in.)
Length4686 mm (184.5 in.)
Width1707 mm ( 67.2 in.)
Height1458 mm ( 57.4 in.)
Trunk volume416 litres (14.7 cu. ft.)
Fuel consumptionCity: 9.9 l/100 km (29 mpg)
 Hwy: 6.8 l/100 km (42 mpg)
Warranty3 yrs/60,000 km
Powertrain Warranty5 yrs/100,000 km
Sours: https://www.autos.ca/car-test-drives/test-drive-2003-saturn-ion-sedan/
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1 4dr Sedan
2003 Saturn ION Specs

Front head room40 "
Rear head room37 "
Front shoulder room54 "
Rear shoulder room53 "
Front hip room50 "
Rear hip room50 "
Front leg room42.2 "
Rear leg room33.3 "
Luggage capacity14.7 cu.ft.
Maximum cargo capacity14.7 cu.ft.
Standard seating5
Length184.5 "
Body width67.2 "
Body height57.4 "
Wheelbase103.2 "
Curb2,653 lbs.
Fuel tank capacity13.5 gal.
EPA mileage estimates26 City / 33 Hwy
Base engine size2.2 liters
Base engine typeI-4
Horsepower140 hp
Horsepower rpm5,800
Torque145 lb-ft.
Torque rpm4,400
Maximum towing capacity1,000 lbs.
Drive typefront-wheel
Turning radius17.4 ''
Show More
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Saturn Ion

Model of American car made 2003-2007

Motor vehicle

Saturn Ion
2006 Saturn Ion 2.jpg

2006 Saturn Ion 2

ManufacturerSaturn Corporation (General Motors)
Production2002–March 29, 2007
Model years2003–2007
AssemblySpring Hill, Tennessee, United States
ClassCompact car
Body style4-door sedan
4-door quad coupe
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
PlatformGM Delta platform
RelatedChevrolet Cobalt
Chevrolet HHR
Pontiac G5
Opel Astra
Engine2.2 LL61I4 (gasoline)
2.4 L LE5I4 (gasoline)
2.0 L LSJI4 (s/cgasoline)
Transmission5-speed GetragF23 manual
5-speed GetragF35 manual
4-speed GM4T45-E automatic
5-speed AisinAF33 automatic
CVTVTi automatic
Wheelbase103.2 in (2,621 mm) (sedan)
103.2 in (2,621 mm) (coupe)
103.5 in (2,629 mm) (Red Line)
Length184.5 in (4,686 mm) (sedan)
185.0 in (4,699 mm) (coupe)
185.0 in (4,699 mm) (Red Line)
Width67.2 in (1,707 mm) (sedan)
67.9 in (1,725 mm) (coupe)
67.9 in (1,725 mm) (Red Line)
Height57.4 in (1,458 mm) (sedan)
56.0 in (1,422 mm) (coupe)
55.6 in (1,412 mm) (Red Line)
Curb weight2,600–2,984 lb (1,179–1,354 kg)[1][2]
PredecessorSaturn S-Series
SuccessorSaturn Astra

The Saturn Ion is a compact car sold by Saturn between the 2003 and 2007 model years. It used the GM Delta platform. The Ion replaced the Saturn S-Series in 2002,[3] and was replaced by the new Saturn Astra in 2008. Production of the Ion ended on March 29, 2007. The Ion was the last Saturn passenger car built at the Spring Hill, Tennessee plant which was originally linked to the company's branding, with Saturn owners attending "homecoming" events at the plant.[4]

Trim levels[edit]

The Saturn Ion was offered in three trim "Levels": Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3, as well as a "Red Line" trim (in later model years).

The Level 1 trim, only offered as a four-door sedan, was the entry-level Ion trim. It included features such as cloth seating surfaces, 14" tires and steel wheels with plastic wheel covers, manual windows and door locks, an AM/FM stereo radio with a four-speaker audio system, a heater (no standard air conditioning), a 2.2L dual overhead cam (DOHC) inline four-cylinder (I4) gasoline engine, and a five-speed manual transmission. The Level 1 trim was discontinued in later model years of the Ion.

The Level 2 trim was the entry-level Quad Coupe trim, and the upgraded trim for the four-door sedan. It included features such as upgraded 15" tires and steel wheels and plastic wheel covers, air conditioning, and an AM/FM stereo with a single-disc CD player (which also included an auxiliary audio input jack in later model years).

The Level 3 was the top-of-the-line trim for both the Quad Coupe and the four-door sedan. It added more convenience items such as power windows and door locks, keyless entry, 16" tires and aluminum-alloy wheels, upgraded cloth seating surfaces, and an AM/FM stereo with both cassette and single-disc CD players (later, an AM/FM stereo with satellite option, a single-disc CD/MP3 player, and an auxiliary audio input jack).

The Red Line was the performance-oriented trim of the Ion, only available as a Quad Coupe. It featured a 2.0L supercharged I4 gasoline engine, a unique body kit and front grille, unique aluminum-alloy wheels, unique cloth seating surfaces, and a rear spoiler.



2005–2007 Saturn Ion coupe

The 2003 Saturn Ion quad coupe production car first appeared at the 2002 New York International Auto Show. The 2003 Ion came standard with a 2.2 L 140 hp (104 kW) DOHCEcotecI4 engine. The Ion sedan went on sale in mid-October 2002, and the quad coupe went on sale in early 2003.[5] The Ion's instrument panel was mounted on the top center of the dashboard, rather than behind the steering wheel. The Ion is also available in sedan level 1, 2, or 3; level three signified a more user friendly setup with power windows and power locks, while lower levels included crank windows and plastic wheel covers. Other extras included fog lights, sunroof, and spoiler. The Saturn Ion Quad Coupe has half-sized rear clamshell doors while the sedan has conventionally hinged doors.

A Getrag F23 5-speed manual or an Aisin AF23 5-speed automatic transmission were available. The compact 5-speed automatic had several unique characteristics. The transmission lacked an overdrive, allowing for five forward gears to be packaged in the size of a typical four-speed manual gearbox, both providing close gear ratios for better acceleration and fuel efficiency while eliminating the heat and parasitic loss generated by the additional planetary gearset. The unit was also “fill-for-life”, meaning that it was not intended to be serviced for the life of the vehicle. The 2003 and 2004 Ion Coupes were available with the VTicontinuously variable transmission or a Getrag F23 5-speed manual.

For 2004, Saturn also re-calibrated the electric power steering, as well as upgraded interior materials, and offered new sound systems.


In 2005, the Aisin 5-speed automatic transmission was discontinued. The VTi CVT used in the quad-coupes between 2002 and 2004 was also discontinued. GM's 4-speed 4T45-E replaced both transmissions, becoming the only available automatic transmission option. The 2005 Ion sedan models also received a new steering wheel, the same one used in the 2004 Ion coupe models. In the middle of the 2005 model year, the seats in the base Ion1 model received upgraded fabrics and a height adjustment feature. "Quiet Steel" multilaminate sound-reduction technology was also introduced in 2005. Cosmetic changes included an upgraded fascia with a larger grille opening (2005-2007 Ion sedan models) and redesigned wheel covers and redesigned alloy wheel offerings. Under the hood, an acoustic engine cover was added to the engine bay to reduce noise emissions.

The Level 2 and Level 3 models were offered with GM's new standard radio, featuring MP3 playback.

2006 saw the 170 hp (127 kW), 162 lb⋅ft (220 N⋅m) torque, 2.4 L I4 engine with variable valve timing become available for the Ion3. Along with that, the Ion was discontinued after the 2007 model year.[6]


2007 Saturn Ion 3 Quad Coupe

The 2.2-liter Ecotec engine in the 2007 Saturn Ion was improved over the previous year's model: power output increased from 140 hp (104 kW) to 145 hp (108 kW) at 5600 rpm, and torque output increased from 145 lb⋅ft (197 N⋅m) to 150 lb⋅ft (203 N⋅m) at 4200 rpm. The new engine was fitted with the ECU from the 2.4-liter engine.

The 2.4-liter Ecotec received a similar upgrade: power increased from 170 hp (127 kW) to 175 hp (130 kW) at 6500 rpm, and torque increased from 162 lb⋅ft (220 N⋅m) to 164 lb⋅ft (222 N⋅m) at 4800 rpm.

An "Appearance Package" was offered for the 2007 Ion 3 Quad Coupe, including redesigned front and rear bumpers, side moldings, elliptical fog lamps, and a chrome exhaust tip. The Recaro seats in the Red Line version were replaced with black leather-appointed seats, which featured a passenger-sensing system.

The Ion was discontinued after the 2007 model year, and replaced in Saturn's lineup by the Saturn Astrahatchback, a rebadgedOpel Astra H imported from Belgium.[7]

The 2007 Ion was the last Saturn built at the Spring Hill, Tennessee plant.[8]

Red Line Edition[edit]

In production from 2004 through the 2007 Model Year, Saturn produced the Red LineSport Compact[9][10] This engine/powertrain combination is also shared with the Chevy Cobalt SS Supercharged Edition, which did not start production until the 2005 model year. The Ion Red Line features most interior features from the standard Ion Coupe, including its rear clamshell doors, to allow accessibility to the rear seat.[11]

Introduced for the 2005 model year was the optional Competition Package. Included in the Competition Package were 17" Gunmetal Painted Alloy Rims, Ladder Tachometer w/ shift lights, a Limited Slip Differential, and Optional Projector-beam Fog Lamps.[12] In mid-2006, GM released two Engine Kit upgrades for both the Ion Red Line and the Cobalt SS. The Stage 1 Kit retailed for around US$500, and included higher-flow fuel injectors and a recalibration to the ECU to increase the horsepower by 31 hp (23 kW) to 236 hp (176 kW) and 205 lb⋅ft (278 N⋅m) of torque, up from the stock 205 hp (153 kW) and 200 lb⋅ft (271 N⋅m). The Stage 2 Kit retailed for around $750 and opens up the middle of the power curve to more power than the Stage 1 Kit alone. In addition to everything that the Stage 1 Kit comes with, the Stage 2 Kit includes a smaller drive belt and pulley for the supercharger, bringing the engine up to 241 hp (180 kW) and 218 lb⋅ft (296 N⋅m) of torque. GM did release a Stage 1 to Stage 2 Upgrade kit that retailed for $400. This Upgrade Kit is for a Red Line with the Stage 1 kit already installed. This Upgrade Kit adds the Stage 2 elements and increases the horsepower from 236 hp (176 kW) to 241 hp (180 kW).[13]

On October 17, 2003 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, the Saturn Ion Red Line, piloted by the GM Performance Division's "Saturn Land Speed Record Project" set a new land-speed record in the "G/Blown Fuel Altered" Class at 212.684 mph. This exceeded the previous record of 183.086 mph that was set in 2001.[14]

Below are the Production Numbers for the Ion Red Line from 2004 to 2007.[15]

Color 2004 2005 2006 2007 Totals
Silver 831 353 274 131 1589
Red None 286 260 116 662
Blue 783 478 189 134 1584
Black 1012 395 406 173 1986
Total 2626 1512 1135 554 5827
Comp. Pkg. 0 118 641 337 1096


General Motors decided to discontinue the Ion after the 2007 model year. It was replaced by the 2008 Astra.

The Astra shares the Delta platform with the Ion, but is a captive import from Opel. While Opel offered the Astra in multiple body types, and with other performance options, Saturn did not import any of them – the Astra was only offered with a single base engine, and in 3-door and 5-door hatchback bodystyles only, in two trim levels. The Ion was the last Saturn to have brand-specific design cues originating with the S-Series such as plastic body panels.


Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)[edit]

Moderate overlap frontal offsetAcceptable
Small overlap frontal offsetNot Tested
Side impactPoor
Roof strengthNot Tested

IIHS only tested the 4-door sedan version. It did not test coupe versions of the Ion.



In February 2014, the Ion was added to a list of General Motors cars recalled due to a faulty ignition switch. 13 deaths were found to have been caused by the defect in Chevrolet Cobalt models, prompting the recall of the Ion and other related GM vehicles.[26]


  1. ^Swan, Tony (December 2003). "Saturn Ion Red Line". Car and Driver. Car and Driver. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  2. ^Quiroga, Tony (October 2004). "Saturn Ion Red Line". Car and Driver. Car and Driver. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  3. ^"GM Hopes to Win over Drivers with Saturn Ion" (Press release). Detroit Free Press. 2002-10-31. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  4. ^"After Saturn experience, Spring Hill GM plant prepares for new products".
  5. ^"2003 Saturn Ion First Drive". October 2002.
  6. ^"2006 Saturn Ion Overview". Cars.com. 2005-08-02. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  7. ^"Ion makes room for the Astra" (Press release). San Francisco Chronicle. 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  8. ^"Saturn: 1982-2009 - Saturn Timeline, History, Milestones - Automobile Magazine". October 2009.
  9. ^Cole, Steven (2005-10-15). "Saturn's Ion Red Line offers fun, good mileage | The San Diego Union-Tribune". Signonsandiego.com. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  10. ^"Saturn Announces Ion Red Line Pricing" (Press release). GM Media Online. 2004-03-30. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  11. ^"Saturn Ion Red Line". John Phillips, Caranddriver.com. September 2005. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  12. ^"2006 Saturn Ion Specs". Edmunds.com. 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  13. ^"GM Announces Supercharger Upgrades for Cobalt SS, Ion Red Line". Admin, leftlanenews.com. 2006-04-06. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  14. ^"Saturn ION Red Line Sets Speed Record" (Press release). Worldcarfans.com. 2004-10-21. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  15. ^"2006 Red Line Production Numbers". redlineforums.com. 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  16. ^"IIHS-HLDI: Saturn ION". Iihs.org. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
  17. ^"2003 Saturn Ion 4-DR. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  18. ^"2004 Saturn Ion 4-DR. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  19. ^"2004 Saturn Ion 4-DR Coupe. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  20. ^"2005 Saturn Ion 4-DR. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  21. ^"2005 Saturn Ion 4-DR Coupe. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  22. ^"2006 Saturn Ion 4-DR. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  23. ^"2006 Saturn Ion 4-DR Coupe. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  24. ^"2007 Saturn Ion 4-DR. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  25. ^"2007 Saturn Ion 4-DR Coupe. | Safercar – NHTSA". Safercar.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  26. ^"GM adds four models to recall, doubles deaths to 13". Usatoday.com. 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2015-03-31.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saturn ION.
Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Ion

Saturn horsepower 2003 ion

Saturn owners are a loyal and fervent bunch. They have an owners' club, national meets at the headquarters in Spring Hill, Tennessee, chat rooms, T-shirts, you name it - all in celebration of a company that has been selling economy cars for 12 years.

This level of enthusiasm is hard for us to comprehend, considering the cars have never stimulated our driving glands. Saturns have always struck us as decent cars for the get-me-from-A-to-B crowd. So as a courtesy to you non-car-buff Saturnisti who noticed the Saturn Ion cover blurb and picked us up off the newsstand, we'll boil down the Ion's merits CliffsNotes-style, right here at the top of the story so you can spend more time gazing lovingly at the pictures.

Saturn's all-new Ion boasts one of the biggest and most powerful engines in its class. Its $900 automatic transmission boasts five gears - one more than its peers generally offer. Its trunk is roomier than those in other econoboxes. There are loads of standard and optional equipment not traditionally found in the econobox class, such as speed-sensitive wipers, automatic headlamps, retained accessory power, and OnStar. Standard front-seatbelt pretensioners and optional curtain airbags offer greater crash protection than one feels entitled to in a car whose base prices range from $11,995 to $15,495. Plastic fenders and doors still guard against door dings, and best of all, you still get to buy it in a Saturn store, where the convivial sales atmosphere has ranked No. 1 with J.D. Power for seven years, and where customer service just earned the top honor for the first time. Go, Saturn!

Now, while our Saturn fans bask in the glow of all that adoration, we're going to talk nitty-gritty car-guy stuff with our regulars. Check out this lost-foam, cast-aluminum 2.2-liter Ecotec engine: It meets LEV standards without EGR; at 305 pounds it has a world-class weight-to-displacement ratio; the water pump is integrated into the block; there's an oil-life monitor; and the oil filter is a replaceable cartridge instead of the usual spin-on type. Peak output: 140 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 145 pound-feet at 4400 rpm. And to reduce NVH, there are twin counterrotating balance shafts, and all the accessories are mounted directly to the block.

There, that should be enough jargon to ensure we've ditched the visitors, so now we can level with our core readership: This is probably the most disappointing all-new American car in a decade. Not only were all our editors put off by its numerous missteps of form and function, but even our Gen-Y road warriors and their friends found little to love in the Ion.

The assault begins with discordant and unharmonious styling that comes together as an orgy of chamfers, cutlines, Royal Gorge door gaps (plastic expands more than steel), and kit-car panel fits that utterly offend the editorial eye. The gap between the hood and grille header panel could pass for a ram air scoop. The leading edge of each front fender comes to a pants-snagging point sharp enough to pick your teeth with. The A-pillar, roof-rail, and C-pillar trim panels can be ordered in varying colors and styles - colorblind folks are even allowed to select silver on gold - but they look tacked on, overflush, and by design they do not align with other character lines and the hood and trunk shut-lines.

The dissonant design theme continues inside, where materials with varying colors, textures, and surface sheens collide. Different typefaces are used on instrument numbering and various other controls, and plastic molding flash lines are visible everywhere. Particularly egregious examples include the lines around the inner and outer rim of the steering wheel, along the inside door handle, and on the gearshift lever - all of which assault the hands repeatedly.

Some of the design offenses hamper the car's usefulness, such as the huge trunk hinges (gooseneck is an understatement -- swan neck? ostrich neck?) that eat into the class-leading 15 cubic feet of space, or the rear center console and cup holders that intrude into the space where the center rear-seat passenger's legs would go. Then there's the high, center-mounted instrument cluster. Saturn claims there's a visibility benefit in putting the gauges up there at the same height as the outside mirrors and that this setup permits the use of a smaller-diameter steering wheel that is easier to maneuver around. But we've spent lots of time in cars with center gauge pods, and we still find it unnatural to glance to the right. Ditto the dinky, insubstantial steering wheel filled with a gigantic airbag that makes it look like something straight out of a go-kart.

Even the seats are unpleasant. The driver and the front passenger teeter atop narrow, flat chairs that are unsupportive in all directions. A granite backrest, a low ceiling, and a short cushion render the rear bench intolerable for all but the most sweet-natured of children.

On the road, our feelings for the Ion improve slightly. The good news is that the global Delta platform making its debut here seems quite capable. The basic body structure is exceptionally rigid. A wide track and the grippy 205/images/media/61/assets-image-020303123259jpg-photo-8690-s-inline-image.jpg55HR-16 Firestones, standard on our Ion 3 (base Ion 1s and midlevel Ion 2s make do with smaller rubber), provide admirable roadholding (0.81 g) and lend a stable, secure feeling at the limit. That grip is 0.02 g better than the best-in-test Ford Focus SE's in our recent 10-car econobox comparo ("Double-Dip Dreamboats," November). Braking is similarly impressive at 183 feet from 70 mph, 12 feet shorter than our test-winning Mazda Protegé LX could manage. Bumps and potholes are traversed -- even in curves -- quietly and with greater aplomb than one would expect from such a proletarian suspension as this strut and trailing twist-beam setup. The chassis hardware engineers all deserve a raise.

What mars the driving experience is a variable electric power-steering system that usually provides too much assist and in which the variability is disconcertingly noticeable. On the highway it's nervous just off-center, and the gain feels nonlinear. As a result, the steering feels unintuitive and demands that the driver make constant course corrections when negotiating a series of esses. At least the system is electronic, so there's hope for a future software upgrade that could simulate the feel of a simple, well-designed conventional steering unit.


And although the 140-hp motor and five-speed automatic look impressive on paper, their performance is just so-so: 10.2 seconds to 60 mph and 17.7 seconds at 79 mph over the quarter-mile, all of which are accompanied by a buzzy, Bass-O-Matic sound track. In that 10-car comparo, all cars had five-speed sticks, but most of them carried more weight per horsepower than the Ion does and still their speeds averaged 1.4 seconds quicker. We suspect the Ion's performance would improve if the transmission upshifted at the tach's 6500-rpm redline as the driver would in a manual-transmission Ion. Unfortunately, the officious box shifts out of most gears at 6000 rpm, just 200 revs past the power peak. Neither will this control freak of a slushbox relinquish gear selection to the lever. Stir as a driver might through the mystifying D, I, and L gate positions, upshifts and downshifts still occur at the transmission's whim.

Strange. I don't know how else to describe the Ion. For starters, it's named after a charged atom. The exterior looks as if it were designed with an Etch A Sketch game. The steering wheel frames what appears to be a frozen chicken potpie. The seat fabric is more a medley of swatches than hip upholstery. Inside, there are enough hues of beige, brown, and taupe that you could lose a box of See's assorted chocolates. The center-mounted instrument cluster -- these aren't dead yet? -- must have been the answer to, "How can we make this car weirder?" All this bizarreness actually makes the polymer panels seem normal. Strange car, indeed -- most peculiar, mama.
-- Ron Kiino


When you're 22, the decision on a new set of wheels usually comes down to looks, looks, and uh, oh, yeah, looks. Although the Ion may be easy on the bank account, it's a burden on the eyes. Its body is composed of harsh angles and lines that seem to be confused about where to end. The silver plastic roofline moldings battle the gold body for color supremacy rather than blend in with subtlety. The interior's plastic has the look and feel of Playskool, and it's topped off with a steering wheel from a bumper car. The Ion may be efficient transportation, but it's not sexy enough to separate me from $15K.
-- Robin Warner

The Ion seems more like a work in progress than a finished car. The styling is unresolved, vacillating somewhere between the flat-sided, sharp-edged look of a Cadillac CTS and the stubby, rounded profile of an Audi A4. Its interior has more shades of tan, beige, and cream than desert camouflage. Major design elements such as the center-dash instrument binnacle and exterior roof-arch moldings appear to be different merely for the sake of being different. Interior details don't quite cross the line between cheap and inexpensive. And its performance and handling are less than okay for a car of its class. This muffin needs to go back in the oven till it's done.
-- Fred M.H. Gregory

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Sours: https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a15135247/saturn-ion-3-road-test/
Tour: 2003 Saturn Ion

2003 Saturn Ion

Saturn labels itself as a different kind of car company, but if a solid line of dependable and affordable vehicles is truly unique, then the rest of the automotive world needs to take a good hard look at itself. The ION is Saturn's subcompact car, providing owners with an everyday vehicle that won't cause any hassles.

For 2003, Saturn replaces ION, its entry-level model line, with larger, more-powerful sedans and a unique four-door coupe. It is the first major redesign of any Saturn model, proof that the manufacturer is right up there with the rest of the modern world.

Available Models
The 2003 Saturn ION is offered in three easily discernible trim levels: 1, 2 and 3.

Interior Features
Both the coupe and the sedan have four doors, but while the coupe seats four the sedan can accommodate five passengers. The 2003 Saturn ION offers a number of innovative features. One that stands out is a unique and practical center-mounted cluster. It is on the same horizontal sight line as the side-view mirrors, allowing the driver to set the steering wheel in the most comfortable position without needing to adjust it in order to see the instruments. It also enabled designers to equip Saturn ION models with a smaller steering wheel, allowing easier entry and exit and helping to create a more open and airy interior environment.

At the top of the line, the Saturn ION 3 has cruise control, air conditioning, an interior air filter, power mirrors and windows, remote keyless entry and an AM/FM/cassette/CD player.

Exterior Features
The 2003 Saturn ION has interchangeable roof rails that can be color-coordinated with interior accessories. This is just one of the many personalization features, both inside and out, that allows customers to craft unique and individual models for themselves.

One efficient engine is offered with the 2003 Saturn ION. It is a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder model with 140 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 145 lb-ft. of torque at 4400. Both 5-speed manual and 5-speed automatic transmission are available. Manuals have a rating of 26/33 mpg (city/highway), while automatics get 24/32 mpg (city/highway).
In addition, the ION is the first GM domestic small car with an electric power steering (EPS) system. This contributes to improved fuel efficiency by eliminating the power steering pump.

Safety and Security
The 2003 Saturn ION has dual front airbags, daytime running lights and an emergency inside trunk release. Curtain side airbags and antilock brakes are optional.

2003 Saturn Ion Highlights

Dual RADs on the quad coupe. The rear-access doors - combined with a front-passenger fold-flat seat and the lack of a B-pillar - help a customer fully utilize the interior space by making it easy to load and unload passengers and cargo, including larger objects that typically wouldn't fit in a traditional compact car.
A unique, and practical, center-mounted cluster. The center-mounted cluster is on the same horizontal sight line as the side-view mirrors. This design allows the driver to set the steering wheel in the most comfortable position without needing to adjust it in order to see the instruments. It also enabled designers to equip ION models with a smaller steering wheel, allowing easier entry and exit and helping to create a more open and airy interior environment.
The VTi variable transmission available on the quad coupe, the first application of a continuously variable transmission on a high-volume compact car in North America. It brings a surprisingly fun-to-drive sporty feel, plus improvements in fuel economy when compared with traditional step-gear transmissions.
One of the first North American applications of variable-ratio electric power steering, tuned to each trim level. The system enhances driver "feel" by allowing customized steering assist for different tire/wheel combinations and suspension levels, with improved fuel economy as an added benefit.
Interchangeable roof rails that can be color-coordinated with interior trim accessories, presenting unique personalization opportunities.

Get a Free Price Quote on a Saturn Ion.

Fast Stats

Coupe: 4

Sedan: 5

MSRP from



Ecotec 2.2L I4


140 @ 5800


5-speed auto

5-speed manual

VTi auto variable

MPG: City/Hwy

Auto: 24 / 32

Manual: 26 / 33

Sours: http://www.new-cars.com/2003/2003-saturn-ion.html

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