By on March 7, 2007

x07st_in002.jpgThe planet Saturn is a giant ball of gas. When it comes to selling cars to enthusiasts, GM’s “like never before” division is also full of hot air. In 1999, Saturn said their Opel-sourced LS sedan would be fun to drive. It wasn’t. In 2003, Saturn made similar noises over the ION Quad Coupe. Strike two. In 2004, the ION Red Line was supposedly da bomb. Pistonheads lined up none deep. But was the Red Line really at fault? Or was it sabotaged by Saturn’s nebulous image and boy-who-cried-wolf marketing?

Either way, Saturn’s stylists certainly didn’t help matters. Granted, it’s tough to butch up an econocar; hence the reason the entire sport-compact class is a bit of a pudgy, bespoilered eyesore. The Red Line is no exception. Strike that. It’s a poster child for the book “why bad things happen to bad car designs.”

x07st_in005.jpgFor one thing, the ION Red Line’s proportions are all out of whack. In typical GM fashion, the car’s glowering front and rear fascias are hung way-the-hell out past the wheel arches. For another (you need another?), the doors’ budget-Bangle flame surfacing looks, well, Bungled. Spoiler? You bet it does.

Speaking of gaps, the Red Line exhibits a grade of exterior finish rarely seen outside of The Beijing Auto Show. Wide, uneven crevices separate the Red Line’s composite body panels, and its paint wears an unhappy orange-peel glaze. Saturn fans wax rhapsodic about their cars’ ding- and dent-resistant properties, but it’s easy to see why GM is phasing out Saturn’s plasti-panels. From quite a distance. Of course, GM could have mastered the technology, maybe even experimented with “memory” plastics. But, um, no.

Predictably, the ION’s third-world quality extends to its interior, a curvilinear mishmash of rainy-day gray plastic, mushy switchgear and crude mold partings. On the plus side, GM’s Performance Division fitted the Red Line with a phenomenally supportive set of Recaro seats, wrapped the steering wheel in thick leather and attempted to make the gauges more legible. Unfortunately, said gauges reside in the center of the dash, frustrating their efforts. And there’s no dead pedal. Or center armrest.

x07st_in001.jpgYou can’t help but cringe upon stepping into this austere, amateurish cabin. That GM thought it price-appropriate is frankly insulting. But then you turn the Red Line’s key, its 2.0-liter, 205-horse supercharged four barks to life, and something strange happens: the nasty little bastard starts to grow on you.

It doesn’t happen immediately. On a brief hop around the block, you mostly notice the surprisingly heavy steering, the stiff, slack-feeling clutch, the incessant rattling of the Quad Door assembly and the engine’s tendency to hang onto revs as you shift.

But then, a smug punk in a Civic blips you at a stoplight. That’s when the fun begins. Bury your foot in the (short, wiry) carpet and GM’s blown Ecotec proves itself a proper Yankee torquer, thrusting eagerly off the line and swelling to near-WRX intensity as the tach needle climbs. The Red Line is free of the driveline histrionics that often accompany cheap forced-induction setups. Sixty mph rolls up in two smooth, linear surges, totaling 6.1 seconds.

The Red Line’s chassis snaps to attention when pressed. The steering, while always leaden in its effort, provides surprisingly sharp, pointy path control. The helm tracks your intended line as unshakably as the Orient Express. Sharp corners reveal superb front-end bite, taut brake-pedal feel, and tight, well-judged damping. Torque steer is conspicuous in its absence.

In truth, only one interface creates disharmonious hoonery: the Red Line’s five-speed manual. This “close-ratio” version of the Saab 9-3’s gearbox feels heavy and clunky in the hand. Its ratios are, in fact, quite tall. Fortunately, the Saturn’s mighty-mite four isn’t picky about what gear it’s in.

x07st_in006.jpgIn all, the Red Line engenders a sort of base schoolyard satisfaction that’s especially irresistible to shut-in writer types. Every stoplight and switchback becomes a feel-good underdog victory. Want to land that longed-for punch on the class bully? Just sidle up to an Si, GTI, or RSX, aim your sling at Goliath, and swing, baby!

Still, there’s little question why more buyers haven’t warmed to the Red Line. Its aesthetics are embarrassing. Its image is contradictory. And its Fisher-Price interior begs the question, “wouldn’t you really rather have a Lada?” That Saturn could render a fast, nimble, fun-to-drive sports coupe with a $19,770 MSRP utterly undesirable is testament to the brand’s long-standing lack of ambition and product focus.

If Saturn can turn the metaphorical corner like the ION Red Line turns a real world bend, there may be hope for the Tennessee-born brand. Unfortunately, according to our own Jehovah Johnson, the ION’s tuners were away from their desks when the Sky Red Line was tweaked. Oh well. I guess enthusiasts are still better off shopping elsewhere. Like always. 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

109 Comments on “Saturn ION Red Line Review...”


  • avatar
    shaker

    I could never get past the ill-matched body panels of these cars – they look like a disguised new car from a spy photo. What a shame, as with not too much effort, this could be competition for the SI and MS3…
    Maybe I’ll live long enough to see the Astra Red Line (although that’s little comfort to some Tennesee residents).

  • avatar
    chris2

    Typical Saturn – absolutely atrocious styling. The answer to which no question was asked.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    hmmmm
    big engine, bad interior, bad panel fittings.

    Not so bad for 1975, i guess.

    dear god its ugly, doesn’t anyone ever look at these things before they send them out the door?

  • avatar
    Jeff in Canada

    It really is a shame the way GM let Saturn go off course at the end of the nineties. My Father had a ’95 SL1 for about 10 years, and it was a great car, for the price anyways. Back when Saturn started up, it had so much potential. If they had improved upon the panel gaps and surface finishes, the plastic panels were a great idea. And if they had made their products as desirable in design as the competition, they would have done well.
    It’s a shame really, It seems that everything that made Saturn unique is gone, replaced with mediocre euro-imports.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I’ve had the misfortune to drive 2 saturns. One was horrible to drive, the other far, far worse. Sheer torture. So much so that I ran to a budget and rented a stang even though I had access to the saturn for free. Their interiors are sooo nasty. It felt like a car built by communist russia in the 80s.

  • avatar
    shaker

    The real pisser is that my ’97 Camaro has plastic front fenders, door skins and roof, and looks just fine — the black paint matches perfectly to the steel rear quarters, all gaps are even. But the rear spoiler bits are another story, as the clearcoat has pretty much cooked off…

  • avatar

    The TTAC style doesn’t permit comparisons in reviews. But how about one in the comments? I know you’ve been a fan of the Cobalt SS. How does the ION RL compare to that car?

    A major problem I have with the Saturn is the driving position. I don’t care for deep IPs or overly raked windshields with huge pillars, and the ION coupe has all of the above.

    For anyone interested in price comparisons, my site’s page for the lame duck ION:

    http://www.truedelta.com/models/ION.php

  • avatar
    Joe O

    Alright gents….normally, I’m a well-mannered agreeable chap on this site. I’m about to step out of line…..put your seatbelts on.

    *deep breath*

    My wife owns an 03 Saturn Ion 5-spd…

    *resists bruising from rotten fruit being thrown*

    She bought it in August of 03, with 0% financing. She got the Ion 3 model (16″ wheels, etc.) and paid $170 a month for 3 years until we paid it off when we bought our house….I know, usually you don’t pay off 0% interest items, but our mortgage broker actually paid us the amount of interest we would gain in a 6% yield bond if we would pay off the car. Long story; another time.

    Now, she’s got a black Ion, with 35% tint, and the nice little spoiler. It…actually…looks good. She gets compliments. Regularly.

    Not only that, but in 50000 miles now it has had….ZERO problems. Now, I said that about 1 month ago and the battery died the next day. So I’m knocking on wood right now; but to be fair, it was 14 degrees out and it started with a jump.

    Other than that: oil changes, tire replacements, front brake job, and an air filter. No headlight bulbs, no window regulators, no problems.

    Not only that, but her Ion (first year model) has less creaks and rattles at 50000 than my 06 Honda Civic SI had at 2000 miles. And that’s not hyperbole.

    As far as panel gaps go: my understanding is that this is an inherent property of the plastic panels used, due to greatly increased expansion/shrinking due to temperature. Therefore, GM had to have large panel gaps for this reason. Don’t know how true that is.

    Moving all that aside….her Ion has a cheaptastic interior, some of the worst seats I’ve ever experienced, a shifter that defines vague and rubbery, a clutch that defies physics in it’s ability to always engage in a different place than the previous shift, and an engine that actually whispers in your ear to let off the gas so that it doesn’t have to rev. I swear I received a post-card from it telling me that above 4000 rpms is taboo.

    But hell…it’s been cheap, reliable, and capable transportation for years now. We’ve lugged 500 pounds of weight in the trunk/back seats 200 miles….we’ve strapped dressers onto the roof. So…though I CAN’T WAIT to get rid of it….it’s been a decent car.

    Joe O.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Doesn’t quite seem fair to me to generalize about Saturn using a vehicle they are in the process of phasing out. Drive the Aura, Outlook and Astra first, then generalize about the brand.

  • avatar
    whitenose

    If Saturn can turn the metaphorical corner like the ION Red Line turns a real world bend, there may be hope for the Tennessee-born brand. Unfortunately, according to our own Jehovah Johnson, the ION’s tuners were away from their desks when the Sky Red Line was tweaked

    I’m having trouble parsing this. What is this last sentence trying to indicate?

  • avatar

    I tested this car, just to see what it was like and as soon as I sat down, I almost wanted to get out. The interior was cheaper than my Jeep, and that’s bad. Then I stomped on the go pedal and I felt like the car was falling apart. Creaks and groans abounded. It felt like the car already had 75,000 miles on it. The salesman quickly told me that it was normal because of the plastic body construction and Saturn drivers just “get used to it.” Guess what, I’m not, nor will I ever be a Saturn driver.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Good story Joe-O. Just wonderin’ though, what was the total cost of your car after you paid everything off? (Not including taxes of course.)

    I ask because reliable and capable transportation always deserves some praise… IF it’s cheap enough. I can’t decide how I should take your story. But if say, it cost 19,000 dollars I’d probably scoff at the notion that it was a decent car.

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    A few years ago a grad school buddy was selling off his ’94 Saturn SL. At the time my wife was driving a ’93 Corolla. I rode in the Saturn one time. I was stunned by the crappy, cheap interior and questionable ergonomics in comparison to the Corolla, and simply could not believe that GM intended the Saturn to compete with the Toyotas and Hondas on the market. Oh well. At least the newest Opel imports (Astra, Aura, etc) look like an honest effort.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I learned the hard way on my wife’s L-series that plastic body panels are HORRID. Apart from the obvious–lack of luster, wide gaps, and cheap door weight/feel–the simply do VERY LITTLE to resist dents at all. Sure, a direct hit from a blunt, smooth object on the middle of the door panel is fine. Too bad glancing blows on the curved quarter panels (real-life SUV bumpers and shopping carts) leave real dents, which can’t simply be removed as they would in metal.

    So, strike four to plastic body panels–idealistic concept, shite execution.

  • avatar
    Raymond

    I have owned 3 Saturns; a 97 SL3 – an 01 LS2 – an 04
    Vue. I put 130,000 mile son the SL without one trip to the dealer for repairs. The oil filter for the LS was available only at the dealer (that was inconvenient). I put almost 90,000 miles on that one before trading it on the 04 Vue 4cyl. I love the Vue except for the CVT. I wish I had gone for the 4 sp auto as I only get 20-21 mpg with the CVT. The interior is sufficient and it handles well. I now haul lots of things and the folding seats, especially the fold-flat passenger seat have proven to be very handy. I just turned 50,000 miles on the Vue and it has never been to the shop, either. I don’t know what you folks do to cars to have to put them in the shop so often.
    You have to change the oil regularly just like it says in the manual. I am SOLD on Saturn. I have had Chevy, Isuzu, Buick and each was not as inexpensive to drive as any of my Saturns.

    Saturn was never designed to be a sports car or a luxury car. It is supposed to be inexpensive, reliable transportation. That is what I have found it to be.

    BTW, the plastic panels on each of my Saturns have looked as good on the days I traded them as the day I bought them. There is something inherently good about what Saturn is trying to do.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    The Ion was, if memory serves (my wife bought it when we had been together for 4-5 months, unmarried), about $15000-16000 dollars. For that, it was the Ion 3 version which had some upgraded bits including the 16″ alloys, it has a spoiler, pin stripe (got for free because she didn’t ask for it), convenience pack, auto headlights, auto-dimming rearview mirror with temp guage and compass….and a sunroof.

    Which was a pretty good price for a similarly equipped car in 2003.

    Anyway. A similarly equiiped Civic was around 17,500 at the time…and with 4-5% interest rates on a 5-year note. So she also saved with 0% interest.

    I think the car deserves some praise in truth, as I drove a 2005 Honda Civic EX 5-spd and hated it. Sure, the interior was nicer. But it was a smaller car in all dimensions and had ALOT less power than the 2.2 liter ecotec in my wife’s car. It did get alot better mileage though.

    Joe O.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    As an aside: In 04 I test drove an Ion Redline, and they offered it to me at 17,500 with 0% interest for 5 years. Damn straight I considered it…but it was a rough, jerky ride and a crappy interior.

    I subsequently test drove a Cobalt SS a few years later, and marveled at how much better it drove. And that Saab 9-3 Shifter and clutch felt fantastic…still to this day one of the easiest cars I’ve ever gotten into and shifted smoothly on the first try.

    Now GM is squeezing 260 HP out of their little 2.0 liter ecotec…considering Porsche is pulling 133 HP per liter out of their new twin-turbo, that’s pretty impressive on the General’s part. Of course, they stuck it in an ergonomic nightmare. But that’s besides the point.

    Joe

  • avatar
    John

    I loved C&D’s headline review of the Ion when it was introduced: “We waited seven years for this?”

    It still rings as true today as it did in 2003. Even GM has gotten the message and is about to Euthanize the Ion while going for the Hail Mary Pass of replacing it with an imported Opel.

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    I think the Cobalt SS is the better half of these twins. Still, if you want something cheap and fun-to-drive, economical, and practical(rear seats) the Mazda 3, Civic Si or even a Scion TC would serve you better. If you don’t need rear seats and just want sporty and economical, the Solstice/Sky twins and the Miata have the *best* fun-per-dollar ratio on the market.

  • avatar
    NickR

    In a way, it’s not hard to see how Saturn could fall short in some areas. I mean internal rival Chevrolet, with the Cobalt SS, is competing in the same market space. Small, relatively inexpensive 2 seater…with the same engine. Just think of how good one of these cars could be if they put the resources expended on both of them into one car only. Doesn’t matter which one…but you’d have to think it would be better.

    However, perhaps salvation is at hand. I sat in the new Aura, and the interior is very nice, roomy even for me, and it’s at least reasonably handsome on the outside.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    I rented a Cobalt in Hawaii and it was OK. I’d take a Cobalt SS in a second over this–for driving dynamics, but even more so for appearance. Good lord is this thing ugly, plus that instrument-cluster-in-the-middle-of-the-dash-thing (a deal-breaker in itself for me)ensures that you have to constantly view a sea of Fisher Price plastics right in front of you.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    UPDATE: I swear to goodness this actually happened…

    After my last few posts, my wife called to say her car wouldn’t start again (same symptoms as one month ago, lights on and no turning over…I replaced the battery a month ago).

    So, called the Saturn dealership. They knew exactly what it was: Bad ignition switch. Seems the security system will accidentally activate and not allow the car to start for 15 minutes.

    Cost to replace: $140 installed

    SOB….this car is a total piece of crap, I’ve had nothing but problems with it. Damn GM.

    :)

    This is an ideal example of why you never say, when owning a car, “I’ve had no problems with it!”

    Joe

  • avatar

    We feel your pain.

  • avatar
    nocaster

    Maybe I missed it in the review. What is that thing on the steering wheel? It almost looks like a G-Meter.

  • avatar
    msmiles

    Joe O. I was going to say that 100,000 miles without a problem is expected these days (see toyota honda suburu) and that 50,000miles with no problems could be scoffed at. But, judging by your last post it is clear that you should sell the ion before it GMs and buy yourself a corolla. (Naturally, I’m using GM as a verb synonomous with falling apart) I’m not sure but I bet if you really had a thing for cramped cars with dash center consoles the yaris is probably cheaper.

  • avatar
    msowers1

    I had a toy car as a kid that was designed to have the panels fall off when it hit a wall. The gaps in the panels were big so the car would break apart as advertised.

    Everytime I see a Saturn, I’m reminded of my childhood toy

  • avatar
    NickR

    ‘What is that thing on the steering wheel? It almost looks like a G-Meter.’

    Looks to me like a boost gauge. With lights.

    Ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    I have an axiom: Don’t accuse a car for being crappy when one thing breaks. I won’t knock the saturn yet, but it does suck and I hate it when dealerships can name what has failed based upon one symptom. A sure-fire way to tell that part fails every 5 minutes.

    I’ll see if Saturn will comp me for the replacement, or the parts or labor.

    Joe

  • avatar
    nyyfan

    I had the great misfortune to rent an Ion when my ’07 GTI was in the body shop having a bashed bumbper fixed (someone hit me in a parking lot while I was at dinner, left no note/apology, and left me to foot the repair bill). When I first sat in the Ion I immediately understood why GM is in such dire straits. The interior is just plain awful. The plastics were atrocious. The seats as supportive as quick sand. Add to it the fact that it was purple and I was nearly in tears. Thankfully I had my car back the following day and was able to erase the Ion from my memory. Until I read this review that is…

  • avatar
    carguy

    A ‘muscle’ or performance product is very much out line with both the new or old Saturn brand values so it really makes you wonder why they even bothered? The new Euro style image will do well for the Saturn brand but lack of a performance products is not its limiting factor for growth. The should invest their money in marketing (which they do none of) and on keeping their core products competitive.

    Typical GM – if it doesn’t sell add more power. What’s next a Buick Lacrosse SS?

  • avatar
    Tiger Commanche

    P.J. – Two classic lines from this article: Spoiler? You bet it does, and “Like Always”. Good stuff.

    That boost gauge right in the middle of the steering wheel is hilarious-looking. Maybe it’s just me, but the interior of the steering wheel looks somewhat like the robot from Lost in Space.

    Could Saturn have mounted the boost gauge any closer to the drivers’ head? Couldn’t they just affix the boost gauge right to someone’s cheek and call it a day? I like having a boost gauge, but I don’t care to eat it in a front-end collision.

    After a driver of the Red Line is pulled over, I can see the conversation with the officer going something like this: Officer: “Do you have any idea how fast you were going?” Driver: “Um, 12.5 PSI? I’m really not sure officer because the speedometer is way over there on the passenger side of the car. And sorry about not pulling over right away, but the red hang-glider mounted on my trunk blocks all rear visability”.

  • avatar
    Andy Carter

    Has anyone ever seen one of these on the road? I have a couple of friends with Cobalt SS’s but I have never heard of anyone even considering this car.

    The Astra certainly has its work cut out for it.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Michael,

    Given the choice between the Cobalt SS (Supercharged) and the Red Line, I’d personally take the Chevy in a second, due to the less-cheap interior plastics. But in terms of performance, shift feel, and steering and handling, the two behave identically. The Chevy seems to ride with less impact harshness and a more solid feel, but I suspect that impression was mostly due to the ION’s squeakier cabin trim and rattly rear doors.

    I, too, dislike overly deep dashes and thick A-pillars. The Cobalt SS feels much more “normal” from the driver’s seat, since its conventionally-placed gauges don’t leave a minivan-vast expanse of plastic between you and the windshield, as in the ION. Same huge A-pillars, though.

    SherbornSean,

    Point taken. However, while the quality of Saturn’s products is certainly improving, the brand still hasn’t addressed the fundamental lack of direction and brand identity that doomed the Red Line, the LS, and other prev-gen products. Now that the name is no longer synonymous with innovative, inexpensive, pretense-free transportation modules, what is a Saturn? A chrome-laden domestic Accord? A Korean-looking cute-ute? A budget Z4? As far as I can tell, GM is content to let the brand become a surrogate for the late Oldsmobile, fielding “import-fighters” that feature somewhat classier styling and sportier driving dynamics than their Chevy and Pontiac platform-mates, but that still play the “high-value” card against the class leaders.

    IMO, they’re still missing the point: “almost as good as Honda and Toyota” doesn’t constitute a meaningful identity that consumers will desire to be associated with. It’s great that GM is realizing the importance of product, but even with its revitalized lineup, Saturn’s reason for being is far more nebulous than it was fifteen years ago.

    Whitenose,

    Excuse my bumbling language. What I (poorly) attempted to communicate was that, while I entertain hopes that Saturn is on the comeback trail, sources indicate that the people who tuned the ION Red Line were not called back to work on the SKY Red Line. Given that the ION Red Line was a shining star in Saturn’s lineup–dynamically, at least–this suggests that the organization is still failing to recognize and take advantage of its best assets.

    NoCaster,

    That thing on the steering column is the supercharger boost gauge. The LEDs flanking it light up sequentially as you rev the engine–the first one at the torque peak, the second at the HP peak, and the third at redline.

  • avatar
    Ziggi

    Good comments from people who seen to have never even thought about owning the car let alone driven it.

    I bought an 06 Ion RL in July and have been nothing but completely satisfied with it. The car is just flat out fast. We make civic SI’s, Tiburons, Speed 3 and speed 6′s look stupid. I’ve laughed at 3 series BMW drivers (aside from the M3, which is an awesome car). I felt bad when i left a Grand Prix GTP in the dust, and wanted to smack some punk little rich kid for thinking his WRX had a chance. Oh and by the way I’m still stock as if fresh off the show room floor. And you know what I paid 19k Tax title out the door for mine.

    I love the Quad Coupe Style and how convienent the back suicide doors are. Sure there is some wind noise, but no more or less then every other 20k performance car out there. And yes i said performance because that’s exactly what the redline delivers. The overall look of the car is agresive and appeals to me. I do not like the cobalt SS at all so that’s the reason I chose the Ion.

    Personally, I love cars. I am a true enthusiast and can respect a car for what it is. I would never own a Mustang but I appreciate it and understand why someone else might. Sounds like most people on here are judging this little beauty off of experiences they had with other saturns or off a couple of pictures and never even bothered to try and drive it and see just how truely fun this little rocket is.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    PJ,
    Thanks for the great review. I agree with you that Saturn hasn’t defined its image well, and is best described as GM’s import-fighter without the usual dealer price gouging. Yippee.

    I actually think that this is one of the rare times when a domestic brand has the substance (at least with recent introductions), but not much sizzle.

    Ziggi,
    Good for you. Every Saturn owner should be as happy with their purchase as you are. Just take it easy on the roads; we don’t want to lose you.

  • avatar
    BubbaGump

    Ash
    The reason the quarters on an L series dent is because the quarters on that model are steel! Go figure.

    Yes the plastic was phased out due to complaints of panel gaps mostly by mag writers. Many saturn customers were actually not real happy about that. And yes at the time they were developed they were the cutting edge plastic technology provided by Dow. And yes they do grow 5 mm in length from 30 degrees to 110. Hence big gaps in the east and reasonable gaps out west.

    The Irony of this review is that its on a car that goes out of production in a month. Go figure.

    The reason Saturn was saddled with the ION and I will call it what it was is GM corporate had their delta platform in full swing. All divisions were to get a version even Opel. The irony is that they tried (the divisions) to make it all things to all divisions with a great majority of the design driven by opel. When it was so far along that it had reached its development apex all the divisions did a review and all of them backed away from it. That left saturn with its aging coupe stuck in a quandry. The current S car would not pass the next years crash requirements, and corporate wouldn’t fund a redesign of the current car so guess what. That division ate it hence direction from the corporate mother ship. Chevrolet was fortunate enough to have a couple years to let the cavalier dwell so they could do a redesign on their version

    As far as Saturn goes when the new Astra hits that division their oldest model will be less than 24 months or so as the van is history to. That division currently has the most cohesive lineup of any of GM’s divisions. You can look at any of them and actually see a styling theme even more cohesive than Caddy.

    P.S. I own a late S series coupe and its been rock solid.

  • avatar
    Ziggi

    Thanks, It’s a bad review of a great car what’s listed above and the comments below are people talking about driving the NON redline version of the ion or older models. Personally, i would never own the NON redline version but the redline is one hell of a car.

    PS – if you don’t like your vue or regular Ion, go post under the review of that and leave the Redline alone.

  • avatar
    BubbaGump

    The other Irony of this car is that while yes it is generally homely in style the New Nissan Sentra is the literal spitting image of it. In fact its so similar you would swear Nissan contracted GM to put their badge on it as it was rolling down the line in Tennessee but you will never see the sentra called Homely.

  • avatar
    BubbaGump

    shaker
    the only plastic on a 97 camaro is the front and rear bumper. All the other panels are steel.

  • avatar

    And its Fisher-Price interior begs the question, “wouldn’t you really rather have a Lada?”

    This is hilarious!

    On a more serious note, if they’d stuck the engine into the original SL2 body, with the original 5 speed transmission, it would have looked cool and been a lot more fun to shift.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Ziggi,

    I share your disappointment that more enthusiasts didn’t give this car a chance. Speaking purely in terms of the seat-of-the-pants driving experience, I find these supercharged Deltas more satisfying than any other low-$20K sport-compact, including the RSX, GTI, and Si.

    But can you blame them? Saturn knew what market it was courting with this car–trendy, style-conscious youth, and car-savvy enthusiasts–and must have known that its Eastern Bloc aesthetics would severly handicap buyer interest, let alone sales. That they pushed it out the door anyway was a blatant disservice to the folks who tuned its drivetrain, suspension, and controls so perceptively.

    BubbaGump,

    I believe C&D described the Sentra’s styling as “troubled, maybe even tortured.” Which is putting it lightly.

  • avatar

    Raymond: Saturn was never designed to be a sports car or a luxury car. It is supposed to be inexpensive, reliable transportation. That is what I have found it to be.

    In fact, it was originally billed as a practical person’s sporty car. And it was (I owned one for 147k).

    I did like the plastic panels. They did resist denting quite well–I have a minor crease on my Accord that would have been nothing on my old Saturn–and I wasn’t bothered at all by the gaps. The panels were also VERY inexpensive to replace–about $300 in mid-1990s dollars–if they got torn up, which resulted in cheaper insurance.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    What I couldn’t stand about the car was the slow tach and bad pedal placement. Based on looks and interior alone, I would prefer a Cobalt. Although. based on my experience with a rental Cobalt, I would rather buy a used sport compact.

  • avatar

    Talking about European models, Astra for GM, Mondeo for Ford, and I don’t know about the last one that keep making all type of jeeps with rental quality interiors that it’s hard to keep up which is which.
    These could fix some of the problems, not making another Taurus or an Ion with middle dash speedo.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Joe O, I hate to laugh at someone else’s plight and a lost 140 bucks, but I couldn’t help myself this time – too ironic for me not to chuckle.

    15,000 seems a fair price for a car of that equipment level, especially since you seem to be satisfied with it’s ownership at that price.

    If there’s one redeeming quality for the whole Cobalt/G5/Red Line… even the old Cavalier (as atrocious of a car as that was) is that the engine’s are actually quite powerful for their class… noticeably more so than their Corolla and Civic counterparts in my opinion. Of course, since everything else is considerably worse it doesn’t stand a chance, but I’ve never found them to be horrible driving experiences.

  • avatar

    I’m seeing stars! Nice addition, TTAC!

  • avatar
    Wizegui

    But aren’t the GM engines slightly bigger than the Japanese cars? Civics and Corollas I think use 1.8s while GMs usually use 2.2L Ecotecs.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I’d get an Ion precisely because of the plastic panels. That is a big selling point for the current VUE over the new one coming out this fall.

    The reason I’d never buy an Ion is I’d never buy a car with a goofy center gauges.

    Other than that, it would be a decent cheap commuter car.

  • avatar
    Mike S.

    After owning a 2004 ION 2 automatic sedan (brand new, very low financing and a $3,000 rebate), I'm a satisfied customer. I love the ride and handling; the front seat is roomy and the trunk is large. Even its competition has aped the ION styling. And I've gotten used to the center-mounted gauges. I would like better lumbar support in the front seats; the dash is somewhat too plastic for my taste (but I plan to get a black dash cover to liven things up) and I would have liked an automatic quadrant on the dashboard. But it's a great runner (25+ MPG) and works well for me. Next up: an Aura. For me, the ION (like my previous 2000 SL1) has been a very decent cheap commuter car! And my dealer's top-notch service has been the icing on the cake! 

  • avatar
    Tibbett

    Personally I fixed my interior squeaks by race prepping the car and removing everything. Some rubber washers in key locations also fixed the remaining squeaks. With very little money a car with the LSJ can be pushing 260fwhp and just a little bit under that of torque.. I’ll admit the styling is a bit dated, but it’s fun bringing a car like this to the track to be laughed at, and then later having the same people come over to see what it was and admiring it.

  • avatar
    BubbaGump

    By the way since everyone despises the center mounted cluster package why does the scion XA and XB toyotas get a free pass.????

  • avatar

    The engine is this car is about all that saves it. In 2006, Some GM engineers threw it in a ’32 Ford replica body, made to look like an old hot rod; and they also added a supercharger. They then proceeded to set some records for speed, in a class set aside for a car like that – probably blowing away records set back in the late Forties, by a ’32 Ford with a blown Ford four-cylinder (and not one from a Pinto).

    But Gee-Us-H-Christ does Saturn need to go on a search for some new designers. Surely, there’s some kid graduating from the Art Center this year that can do better with something he or she pulls from their graduating portfolio.

  • avatar
    Ziggi

    Shows how much people know about the Ion Redlines, the only option available for the car reviewed here is 2.0L Ecotec. Underrated at 205HP supercharged most people have experienced ~220whp fresh off the showroom floor.

    And Tibbett is right, there is nothing better then people snickering because you drive a saturn and when you make them look stupid coming over and asking what it is exactly you’re driving.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Tibbett,

    You race-prepped your interior to attenuate squeaks and rattles? You’re a truer enthusiast than I.

    BubbaGump,

    They don’t get a free pass in my reviews.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    P.J., Wow. Not you prefer this thing over not just one but all of the following: RSX, GTI, and Si. I’m not sure what to say. So, do you place high priority on straight-line performance in terms of acceleration numbers while not minding as much about attributes such as connectedness-to-the-road (feedback), refinement, quality, or sophistication?

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    (Wish we had the EDIT option–apologies for the poor self-editing before submitting)

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Ejacobs,

    I’m frequently lambasted for this opinion, and can’t adequately defend it except to say that the supercharged Deltas nail several of my automotive “buttons” while avoiding most of my pet peeves. Also, I personally care very little about styling.

    Specifically, I’m nuts about quick, heavy steering, firm-to-a-fault damping, snorty four-cylinder exhaust notes, and fat torque bands that don’t soften at the high end.

    My pet peeves include overboosted controls, mushy brake pedals, rubbery shifters, and long-throw clutches. The Red Line’s shifter and clutch are far from ideal, but they’re sturdy and quick-acting enough to register neutral haptically.

    I enjoy driving the RSX, GTI, and Si, and would rank them far above the Red Line for anyone with priorities other than the narrowly-defined ones I harbor. But the Hondas have thin low-end torque and lightish steering, while the GTI has softish damping, a rubbery shifter, and a huge-throw clutch. So, they push fewer of my buttons than the Deltas, while possessing more of the pet peeves. Are they superior cars? Absolutely, and I’d review them as such. But more fun *for me* to drive? No.

    If you still think I’m crazy, well, don’t ask me about the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart either, okay?

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Every time I find another door ding in my car I think, “Gee, I could have bought a Saturn.”

    Then I look at a Saturn, and aside from a lack of door dings in the sides, I can’t imagine why I would ever consider buying one.

    These dent-resistant plastic body panels are a good idia and have potential. It’s too bad GM never ran with the idea. Toyota? Honda? Here’s a good idea for you guys.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    enjoy the ion , because it is the last saturn, that had anything to do with saturn. welcome to british-like empire. with tetley tea bags and vauxhall rebadges. saturn will live on as a name only on your german opel. oh, yeah you `ve got acadia rebadge, the only one that is not a german rebadge, or korean for that matter.

  • avatar

    Some of the features you criticized were selling points for me: the center-mounted gauges are easy to see and not blocked by the steering wheel. The low dashboard gives a better view of the road. The gaps in the exterior panels are due to their being plastic (which expands and contracts more than metal) and are not a drawback.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Bubba Gump: I beg to differ, my ’97 Camaro has stiff (yet flexible) plastic front fenders, flexible plastic door skins attached to a hard plastic door shell (reinforced by a tubular door beam from hinge plate to lock plate), plastic roof panels (over a steel sub-frame (a’la’Fiero). The hood is steel, and the rear hatch structure is entirely made of glass, (with plastic deck and spoiler bits and hinges bolted through holes in the glass, and secured with glue). The car (with V6, maunual trans) weighs in at around 3500 lbs, which is why it goes like snot with 200 HP.
    To avoid threadjacking: I think the reason that the Ion’s panel gaps are so apparent is the “slab-side” design, and light colors really bring the gaps out. On my (black) Camaro, the sides have a double curve, which serves well to camouflage the wide gaps. Afer 10 years of ownership, the rear quarters are the only panels that show “door dings”. I believe the reason that the steel rears are required is due to the “hatchback” design — there’s less rigidity than a sedan in the rear.
    Sorry for the long post!

  • avatar
    jurisb

    to justin. how come lexus`s plastic doesn`t shrink and expand?especially around dashboard and ttac buttons? actually today none of the companies have gaps between companies, except amercan cars, and british, well, indian tata might have as well.

  • avatar
    shaker

    The “5 star” rating system shows its major flaw: resolution. Doing the math: 10 stars/4 categories = 2.5 stars, which (rounded up like we learned in school) = 3 stars. I’m sure that the intangibles weighed it down to 2 stars, but still, a plain Saturn Ion would get 2 stars (in my book), with the better-performing variant getting 3. I dunno, how about 1/2 stars? ;-)

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    P.J., Much clearer now. Thanks for the detailed response. As my dad always says, “That’s why they make ice cream in different flavors.” (What a cornball ;)

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Did someone actually say “Nice Job” when the interior design was submitted to management? The Ion interior is by far the worse I’ve ever seen. It seems like the whole Ion concept from the design table to production was a half assed attempt at best. I was a huge fan of the S-series and was severely disappointed when this POS was introduced. At least the ecotec is a step in the right direction. The exterior of the sedan looks more like a prototype than an actual production car. It’s obvious that GM doesnt make a dime on small cars. They would be better off concentrating on larger sedans and trucks and re-badging a small asian car.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    After 50,000 miles and some moderate to hard use in my wife’s Ion, it still looks like the day it was bought (exception being one small stain on the rear seat from moving something). Literally, no scratches, no dings, no rips, no wear marks…

    For all the talk of cheap materials, etc. this interior has held up better than most best-in-class interiors insofar as wear is concerned.

    I think the Ion would have been an overall enjoyable car if the steering wasn’t completely dead, the shifter had some connection to the driving experience, and the engine felt like it would rev freely. If it did those things, it would be a good car. Unfortunately, it does not.

    As a side note: the steering is the most dead feeling steering I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. If you turn it to lock at 30 mph, it feels exactly the same as turning at 5mph in a parking lot. This, above all other parts of this car, kills the driving experience.

  • avatar
    Brendan McAleer

    Bubba
    The other Irony of this car is that while yes it is generally homely in style the New Nissan Sentra is the literal spitting image of it. In fact its so similar you would swear Nissan contracted GM to put their badge on it as it was rolling down the line in Tennessee but you will never see the sentra called Homely.

    My review of the Sentra:
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=2675

    “Homely” isn’t the word.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    P.J. – I don’t think you’re crazy. I understand perfectly where you’re coming from. I’ve personally enjoyed plenty of cars that many other enthusiasts would scoff at. The idea is to have fun. Not fulfill the other guy’s list of necessary specifications. But I’d love to hear what you have to say about the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart anyway.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    Ditto. Which generation Ralliart anyway? Oops, wasn’t supposed to ask.

  • avatar
    GMrefugee

    I like the original ION exterior design. Oh well, there’s no pleasing most people.

  • avatar
    matt

    i had a 2001 SL1, and besides having to replace the front differential 2k miles (~50k miles total) after i bought it (yeah, nothing big…) i had no problems with it. by the time i sold it at 98k miles, it had a few problems that were about to show up, but other than the differential, little to no problems.

    however, an s2000 at 70 mph is quieter than that saturn. half the center console lights didn’t work, and it was slllloooooowwwwwww…..

    as for the plastic panels, i didn’t have a single dent/ding in them. and i tried. i hit them with baseball bats, soccer balls, shopping carts, and everything else under the sun. not a single dent or ding. scratches, sure…but no dents. i thought that they were kinda cool. i did see a few people though that may not have had dents in their saturns, but they had, well…, giant holes in the side of the car. instead of denting it will just completely fail.

  • avatar

    I’m struck by the sense I get from the writer that while the Ion RL is pwerful, it’s rough. I like a car that feels well made when you drive it. Before I got my Accord, I rented an Impala that was far more powerful. But the engine was rough. My Honda is smooth. My late father’s ’95 Volvo 940 had abysmal pickup. But you couild flog taht thing and it felt smooth all the way up the tach.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    jurisb, name me one Saturn that has ANY Korean content. And scrawling “Saturn” on the side of an Aveo in magic marker doesn’t count. Chev and Pontiac are the ones with rebadged Daewoos.

    It’s a shame that Saturn’s losing the dent-resistant panels (it’d be nice, albeit probably unrealistic, to offer them as an option at least), but as long as they keep the dealer network run the same, they should be ok (I figure the better and wider range of cars should more or less compensate for the loss of the panels).

    And, I’ve never driven an Ion, although I’d kind of like to (mostly the Red Line). I’m sure that’s some sort of badge of enthusiast shame, but at the same time, I have a couple of relatives who love their Saturns, and I occationally drive a Cobalt at work (not brilliant, but fairly nice – a huge step over the Cavalier, and I’ll buy that GM used the VW Jetta as a benchmark, although I’m not going to say whether or not they met it). Probably not the best car in its class (probably not even superior to the nearly identical Cobalt SS), but I couldn’t begrudge someone for owning one.

  • avatar
    N P

    Undeniably one of the fastest cars in the segment and for a comparatively low price; add the stage 2 kit and you’re looking at 0-60 in about 5.5 seconds…in a saturn. It’s tacky as hell, but a blast to drive (except in winter). Plus dent “resistant” doesn’t equal dent “proof”…altogether it’s American chintzy but a decent deal.

  • avatar

    Unlike almost everyone else leaving comments. I own a 2005 competition package redline and I love it!

    It is clean, and fast. Compared to the WRX-STI or a Lancer Evo it is downright beautiful.

    The “funny” little gauge on the steering column is the supercharger boost gauge and ladder tachometer. Only comes with the competition package. So does LSD.

    I also have the Chevy stage 2 upgrade. Before the upgrade I was 227 whp and 197 pounds torque.

    The GM stage upgrades officially add about 35 hp and maybe 10-20 pounds of torque – but I haven’t had it dynoed yet since then.

    And my stage 2 upgrade is STILL covered by the Factory warranty. (Try to get that with a Dodge Neon SRT-4!)

    The Redline was made by GM Performance division.

    The Redline Ion took the Bonneville Salt Flats record tromping the honda that held the record previously.

    The competition package debuted on the Redline, then a year later on the Cobalt SS. Both are additional cost and upgrades.

    The Stage 1 and Stage 2 upgrades debuted at the same time on both vehicles at an additional cost.

    There are thousands of Cobalts SS’s and Mustang GT’s and other quick cars made every year.

    There were only 5827 Redline Ions made
    There were only 1096 Made with competition packages
    There are many less with the Stage upgrades.

    So, if you ever do see one consider yourself fortunate. Because it will probably just be the tail-lights and it won’t be for long.

  • avatar
    Chris

    Hey guys, just an FYI that I don’t know if it was stated earlier -

    Plastic has a much higher rate of thermal expansion than steel. So while they can get body gaps to razor-thin levels, with a plastic body they have to worry about the body panels rubbing together. They could’ve made the car with tight panel gaps and you’d be bitching about how the door rubs the fender when you get in & out. So pick & choose . . .

    PS, I own one of the cars, and it is quite a cult following. Everybody who buys one for the most part loves it to death. It’s the car I’ve owned the longest and never gotten tired of.

  • avatar

    Good on you “Joe O”!

    I can’t help but giggle when there is always a huge downside to a car and then someone has a gem about how good its been.

    A laugh a minute. ;-)

    Travis

  • avatar
    Joe O

    Update: The problem my wife’s 03 Ion was experiencing involved the ignition switch. Apparently, when the weather was really cold (we were out in 15 degree days both times the car didn’t start) an electrical contact would occasionally fail and arm the security ignition-switch kill. This kill resets after 15 minutes. Hence, a no-start condition that would rectify itself after 15 minutes.

    Saturn seems to have fixed it in subsequent models, and upgraded the part. I called their customer service, who immediately answered with a live person once you designate you want help, and explained the situation.

    They were very receptive, and immediately setup an appointment at the local saturn dealership (for 4 hours after my phone call), conference’d in the service manager, and offered to replace the part for a $50 deductible (original estimate was $140 for parts and install).

    I felt I could’ve pressed hard and gotten it for less. But there comes a point where they are giving very good customer service and I was happy with the offer. I accepted. The work was prompt (i.e. drop off and pickup in less than an hour) and the car was seriously washed off when they were done; which is great, since it’s a black car and PA is salt-heaven right now.

    While I was there, I looked at the Saturn Aura and Vue. I would say that both are strong products for Saturn. They should drop the 4-spd offered on the base Aura, and bring the sheetmetal closer to the concept shape. Also, the interior of the Aura showed some first-year fit and finish issues; i.e. one piece of dash molding was not well-fitting to another, and in prominent view.

    But my grandparents, who buy only American mfr cars, will hear from me about the service Saturn gave us. And I’ll recommend that they look at the Vue hybrid, as it seems to be a decent value. So in this regard, Saturn helped steer a possible customer their way.

    Joe O.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Steve Biro, ejacobs,

    I’d like to post a full review of the Lancer Ralliart soon–pending TTAC’s inclusion of used vehicles.

    In the meantime, without going into too much threadjacking detail, I’ve found the Lancer Ralliart to be the most satisfying sub-$20K four-door sport compact on the market. Best steering, driving position, shifter/clutch feel, and drivetrain refinement in the class, bar none.

    (dodges tomatoes)

  • avatar
    veritas399

    With most trashing/complaining about Saturn and plastic panels, I have to respond.
    I have a 2001 Saturn SL1 with 193,000 miles and really like it. Had to replace a front wheel bearing and an alternator, but it runs like a charm. Plus plastic panels are important in PA where Penn DOT dumps tons of salt on the roads.

  • avatar
    StormSigma

    Icecruncher:

    Couple points I wanted to correct for you. The Dodge Stage packages are indeed warranted by the dealers for the Neon SRT4′s. Furthermore, an SRT4 with a Stage II package (I don’t recall what all it entails) would utterly leave your Ion in the lurch.

    Not trying to dismiss your car’s abilities, the engine and drivetrain are about the only things worth a damn about the Ion RL.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    P.J. – Drive a Honda Civic SI…..albeit, it’s now 21k

    I bought my 2-door SI for 20.5k including destination on February 14, 2006. 17000 miles later I’ve got a few compaints outweighed by a mountain of good things to say. Just don’t drive it in traffic; it’s super-short final drive ratio, coupled with a raggedly programmed DBW make for unpleasant 1st gear traffic going.

    Joe O.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Joe O,

    I’m indeed a big fan of the Si. I personally enjoyed driving the Ralliart more, but that’s because of my distaste for peaky powerbands and funky views from the driver’s seat.

    Your car is certainly a smarter buy–among other things, it’ll actually be worth something after another three years of ownership!

  • avatar
    Joe O

    :)

    I have to say, I’m looking forward to selling it in 6 years and 90000 miles for 10k :)

    The coupes sightlines are not good; it’s one of the things I truly overlooked during my test drive. I realized that I couldn’t see the hood; that didn’t bother me. But the A pillar is ginormous and you sit low and angled…not low and straight forward like a miata. I’ve heard the Sedan is dramatically better, haven’t driven it yet. I understand your comment on peaky powerbands….took me awhile to get used to it, coming from a Saab 9-2x Aero (WRX).

    I’m looking forward to seeing what Advanced VTEC (A-VTEC) does for Honda’s N/A engines. I’m hoping for a 15-20% increase in torque across the powerband in similar displacements. I.e. The SI’s 139 lb/ft would become ~160 lb/ft.

    But that’s pure conjecture.

    Joe O.

  • avatar

    Storm Sigma:

    First, no disrespect. But there are lots more going for the RL then Engine and drivetrain. How about the Recaros for starters.

    About Warranty: not according to mopar:
    http://mopar.com/street/tech1002.htm
    http://www.srtforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=184672&page=2

    By the numbers, with an SRT-4 straight Stage 2, no toys or hi-octane, It would be close. The SRT-4 is very fast and straight-away it MAY beat it. Cornering, no way.

    Stage 2 SRT-4 with toys, yeah no problem.

    But you are also paying a lot more for those upgrades, that according to mopar, are NOT warrantied, compared to GM stage upgrades. (My Stage 1 and 2 installed for less than $800.00 by GMPP dealer, 50 state legal) (Mopar stage 2 with toys – parts only for $1599.00 and are not emission certified – not legal in all states)
    http://www.mopar.com/srt_stage_2.htm

    GM stage upgrades are whp, Mopar on the SRT-4 numbers are crank hp.

    GM official stage 2 is 241 whp
    Mopar official stage 2 is 265 crank hp (but higher torque)
    figure 10-15% loss in drivetrain GM comes in about 264-277 crank hp

    Also, SRT-4 ratings require upgrading the exhaust to get that performance. GM Stage kits do not.

    I can add the toys and the exhaust to get similar numbers to the SRT-4. Including a Stage 3 GM kit with nitrous and high octane settings, etc. But it’s back to the Dodge vs Chevy, Ford vs Chevy, etc.

    Both are fast cars, I’ve nothing against the SRT-4′s personally. Everyone has their favorites. I just hate seeing the Redline dissed when most people have no experience with them.

  • avatar

    After reading a lot of car reviews, I can see certain patterns. Reviewers like a lot of engine power and noise (one review criticized the new Mini Cooper because its new turbocharged engine didn’t make as much noise as the former version). They consistently love European styling but don’t care about mileage (this car’s 8 mpg is good for its class). Well, I have the ideal car for you:

    http://www.ronpatrickstuff.com/

    Well, there are some visible body-panel gaps, but this is just a concept…

  • avatar
    shaker

    Justin Smith:
    Wow, just wow. A Giga-Spec option, for sure. Probably wouldn’t pass Calif. emissions, though. If RF ever starts an alternate site, this vehicle would definitely earn an article on TTAJ…

  • avatar
    David

    I own a 2005 Ion with 15K miles. No problems so far.
    Center IP is better than normal gauges because I don’t have to refocus my eyes to look at the IP.
    Don’t care about panel gaps.
    Don’t mind cheap plastic but I wish it had more storage spots.
    Seats are uncomfortable.
    Car was $12K. Paying $16K(Honda,Mazda) was out of the question (can’t get ABS brakes with MT without paying over $16K) and I liked the way it drove better than Kia Spectra, Scion xB, Hyundai Elantra. Used MT cars were generally not available.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Tiger Commanche: “That boost gauge right in the middle of the steering wheel is hilarious-looking. Maybe it’s just me, but the interior of the steering wheel looks somewhat like the robot from Lost in Space.”

    That wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” warning voice that comes on in an overboost situation.

  • avatar
    kyle

    I currently own a 2004 ION2 QC, and all in all, it’s a good car. The gauge cluster is easy enough to get used to. And honestly, only took about a week (which was about the same time I got pulled over for speeding). The tach usually lags by about 200rpm as best I can tell, with my automatic. The seats are attrocious, but that is a plus for the RL. Excluding the tires, everything else has no issues at 28000 miles. The tires I can attribute to my driving/braking habits, MI drivers sucking, and Firestones being crap. The panel gaps are more than bearable, and styling is relative, so no biggie.

    Everything considered, it’s a good car, which is also my second. But I will never buy a GM econobox again. Even though the astra looks damn nice.

  • avatar
    ttac_addict

    Please, if you want to tell us about your old warhorse of a car, then do it in the right place. This is a review of the Redline, even the review itself doesn’t seem to find the focus of differentiating panel gaps for performance. I think everyone recognizes that plastics, gaps, etc. are not unique to the Redline, but to all Saturns, so save it and lets discuss the pertinents. What’s next, the HVAC controls?

    Perhaps we could talk about the engine, its gratifying torque curve, how well it puts down power, or that the engine, chassis, and brakes, will run all day long at your favorite track day (as it did on the Nurburgring) without any complaints. There’s a reason that it won Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2006 and others like the headache-machine SRT and countless others did not. I’m not even a Saturn fan, but the Redline answers the call for what the market has asked for.

  • avatar
    StormSigma

    Icecruncher:

    Firstly, I have to say that the Recaro seat in the Ion RL I sat in wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the Viper-style SRT-4 seat in the SRT4 I drove. Secondly, I have to disagree with that MOPAR page. It’s either wrong, or local Dodge dealers are choosing to warranty SRT packages themselves. I know two or three folks with Stage 2 and 3 packages who all hold warranties from their respective dealers. Who knows, maybe dealers cover the warranty irregardless of what the factory says in order to sell more Stage kits.

    Also, you will have to forgive me, but when comparing parts upgrade packages, things like 50 state emissions legality or cost don’t matter to me. If I wanted a fast FWD car (admittedly, I never would) I’d go with the SRT4 because there are so many 350-400 whp SRT4′s running around. For the record, I own a decently modded bolt-on ’05 GTO and I still won’t rev on SRT4′s unless they rev on me first. You never know when you’re going to run into a mid 10 second SRT4.

    However, every single Ion RL (and Cobalt SS for that matter) I’ve run into, I’ve flat out smoked.

    That said, about the only thing going for the Ion (in my opinion only) is that there are far fewer of them than there are SRT4′s. It seems like everyone and their brother has one around here.

    In any case, I know that GM Ecotec is a strong motor. High boost applications have been seen in some cars making ridiculous power.

    I just wish it was RWD.

  • avatar
    mytdawg

    Add me to the list of people that love their Red Line. I picked mine up as a demo for about a 20% discount off sticker.

    I typically buy GM cars for their drive trains. I personally believe they make very good engines and transmissions and I’m willing to put up with a few squeaks and rattles to get them.

    The car is no uglier than any of the other bar-of-soap or doorstop cars out there, and that’s most of them. It’s subjective and fair to say I don’t care if you like it, you’re not paying for it.

    I’ve gotten hundreds of thousands of miles out of GM v-8′s and v-6′s and I see no reason this car won’t go many years without much fuss. It’s overbuilt to a fault. You don’t even need to worry girdling the bottom end until you get over 500 hp and that’s unlikely I’ll see that. It takes 7 quarts of Mobil One, stock. It’s got a friggin cam chain. A real chain…

    I’m 43 and I’m not going to buy a vette and my 1996 VTEC Honda was the biggest crap fest I’ve EVER had. All that refinement didn’t do anything for me looking at a dead “dealer-serviced” motor at 70K. They weren’t interested in honoring their service or warranty, they can kiss my butt.

    The car is very fast, fairly smooth and stops like nothing else I’ve driven including BMW’s. It reminds me of a modern version of a muscle car. No, it’s not refined and it’s not popular and that makes me like it even more.

    Everybody feels compelled to go after GM like a pit bull on a Pekinese. I’ve had no trouble like I’ve had with Honda, the car or the company. I’ll stick with what works for me – Consumer Reports and public opinion be damned.

    I bought Asian cars and believed in them when they weren’t nearly as ubiquitous as they are now. They’re as boring now as the Celebrity was then. If I want an appliance, I’ll buy a Kenmore. I need something a bit more visceral.

    I’ve got no regrets other than the fact that so many that don’t agree seem to be getting so pompous about not buying domestic.

    It’s really not something to get pretentious and arrogant about. A Toyota does not make you a better person. It seems to make some people an ass.

  • avatar
    Tibbett

    PJ,

    Actually my Redline is race prepped for racing. My 6pt cage should be done fairly soon since I’ll be entering the class I’ll need it for. This car is a fun, cheap, car to play with although I’d prefer to have some of the cars I’ve had in the past back.

  • avatar
    billabong9687

    I’ve owned a few cars in my time of driving, I’ve also driven quite a few cars also. I must say that saturn has upped the ante with this car. It has gobs of power, plenty of torue and stock recaro seats, not to mention a large aftermarket. The suicide doors make for an impressive feature and also adds to functionality. Out of 10 i have to give this car a 9.5 being that they do have a few factory problems that are being addressed. Yhe reason it gets a 9.5 kinda has to do with saturn dealerships, but that’s not what this review is about. I love this car and will never part with it, very stylish very comfortable car that gets 26+mpg.

  • avatar
    billabong9687

    I also have to agree with some of the other guys on here, there is nothing better than being laughed at and being told you’re gonna get smoke and after it happens the other way around poeple can’t wait for you to pop the hood so they can flock around.

  • avatar
    mytdawg

    The only reason I get defensive about it is the implication that somehow I’m an idiot or unsophisticated for buying this car.

    If you don’t like it that’s fine. I don’t know that it’s necessary to lambaste everything about the car and company and then gloat about how superior every make you prefer is to the car in reference. I mean this as a generality more than a response to any certain segment.

    Instead of pointing out flaws, reviewers have taken to executing the (usually domestic) company, eviscerating the corpse and rolling around in the blood and guts in a bizarre victory celebration.

    The perception that I’m somehow “wrong” for liking and yes, preferring domestic vehicles really gripes my cookies. It’s an opinion, it can’t be wrong. I did appreciate the humor in the allusions of the review though.

    What makes some, as demonstrated by a few on these pages, feel the overwhelming need to be snotty about it? If you are really that offended by the interior of a car, maybe you need to try decaf.

    Is the car perfect? Not even close. I agree about the dead pedal and the armrest. 1st gear is about useless. The 1st/2nd shift transition sucks. Once you get it into second though, there are very few street cars that can stay close.

    I can tell you lots of things I didn’t like about my Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Mazda too. Mostly that they didn’t have near the character this car does and that’s why they weren’t keepers.

    It has qualities that make a few of us rigid with joyous anticipation every time we drive it. It probably qualifies as a cult car.

    I appreciate the opportunity to express and defend my opinion, thank you.

  • avatar
    Chuck

    I feel the need to comment that over the last four decades, the stock I place in the opinions of mainstream automotive journalists has been steadily sinking. I’m too lazy to type out the full-length essay this topic deserves, so I’ll narrow my discussion to two areas germane to this thread.

    First, Saturn’s panel gaps. Sometime in the past, the automotive press decided, as it often does, by sniffing the wind and looking around to see what everybody else in the business is thinking, that tight gaps were somehow a measure of quality. We now have Honda seizing upon this and advertising that its Ridgeline truck doesn’t have the traditional gap between the cab and the box that other, lesser pickups have. Well, this panel gap group-think may yet pervade the pickup market, and truck enthusiasts may yet come to realize that for decades they’d been deluded and their favorite trucks were actually junk.

    As previously explained by other posters, Saturn’s polymer panels need bigger gaps. It’s the price paid for dent and rust resistance, and a body that still usually looks near-new fifteen years later.

    Panel alignment, on the other hand, is a separate issue, and is more relevant to build quality, but that’s not what the group-think journalists bash Saturn for.

    The second area I’ll mention is the center instrument panel. As suggested by previous posters above, a thorough review of reports on other cars with center IPs (Yaris, Mini, Scion, etc.) shows that these don’t get nearly as rough a ride from the press as the ION. It’s not even close. User reviews (by private citizens, not the press) for all these cars show that many people strongly prefer this layout, especially when driving at night.

    All too often a child will look at a new dish of food served to him and “know” he doesn’t like it — and automotive journalists sometimes do the same. Well, if a person has given something a fair trial instead of starting with a preformed conclusion and then working backward, then fair enough. If someone genuinely prefers jazz to bluegrass, then that’s inarguable. But when Consumer Reports in its MSN snapshot of the ION sedan writes “The gauges are in the center of the dash, requiring drivers to take their eyes off the road frequently” — then this demands some hard analysis.

    A person’s cone of central vision (as opposed to his peripheral vision) is very narrow, only about three degrees. This is why it’s necessary to visually search while driving to take in all the details of the traffic picture, because peripheral vision will pick up some details and miss others. (“Officer, I didn’t see him!”) Contrary to what Consumer Reports is implying, it is necessary to shift one’s focus to read the gauges regardless of where they’re placed, although posters at saturnfans.com claim that once they’re used to the layout, which doesn’t take long, they can read the instruments with peripheral vision while looking slightly to the right, because the instruments are higher than when in front of the driver. (I can’t vouch for this myself, not being an ION owner, but in the limited time I’ve driven one, this seems believable.)

    Now I’ll get to the hard question I’d ask the Consumer Reports writer. Stating that the gauges “require drivers to take their eyes off the road frequently” implies that this compromises safety. Yet the shift of focus to the ION’s center IP is measurably less than to the conventional location in many cars. (An obvious exception would be the digital speedometer readout on the current Civic.) But the key point is that the shift of focus is much greater to check the mirrors, and of course a skilled driver will check the mirrors far more often than the gauges. It is, sadly, all too common for people to think that if they’re keeping their eyes glued on the car ahead, that they’re “driving,” so let’s hope this doesn’t apply to that writer. But what I’m left with is a sense that he was trying to back up a preformed opinion.

    The panel gap and center IP issues are not hugely important in the broad scheme of things, but they do exemplify why I don’t place too much trust in the mainstream automotive press. These are the guys, remember, who write glowingly about Volkswagen products without ever mentioning that VW has consistently ranked near the bottom in reliability surveys for the last ten years. As in anything, do your research, but think for yourself.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Nowhere does this review suggest that Red Line owners are “unsophisticated,” “idiots,” or “wrong.” It’s a review of a machine; owners are often afflicted by the idea that they’re being reviewed, too.

    Regarding the ION’s gappy exterior finish and central gauge pod: if consumers thought these were desirable features, they’d buy more IONs.

    Remember, the purpose of a car review is to help consumers find a pleasing product. As such, it’s only logical to hold that car to the preferences expressed by the majority of enthusiasts. Most enthusiasts don’t like big panel gaps or control layouts that require an unusual amount of acclimation. If you’re of a different mind, great; you’re in the unique position of getting to snap up a genuinely pleasing product at fire-sale discounts. But recognize that you’re in the minority.

  • avatar
    vento97


    Chuck:

    The panel gap and center IP issues are not hugely important in the broad scheme of things, but they do exemplify why I don’t place too much trust in the mainstream automotive press. These are the guys, remember, who write glowingly about Volkswagen products without ever mentioning that VW has consistently ranked near the bottom in reliability surveys for the last ten years. As in anything, do your research, but think for yourself.

    As a driver of reliable VWs over the past 23 years, I don’t place too much trust in those so-called reliability surveys. I prefer to go on my personal experience, do my own research and think for myself, thank you.

  • avatar
    CptJC

    I’ve never been one to heed the opinions of reviewers because, well-intentioned as some of them may be, their conclusions always seem too biased and hastily formed. And then the masses jump on the bandwagon without having ever sought out for themselves any merit to anything they have read (especially if it reinforces their own biases). I hate hoard mentality! I’d like to offer my OPINIONS and relate my real-life experience as an owner of a Saturn Ion Redline.

    It’s an ’04 and still looks brand-new inside and out. The interior panels are doing just fine thank you, despite having an adolescent son who likes to test their integrity. I happen to love the center-placed gauges and now wish all vehicles came so equipped. Glancing diagonally to the right instead of down to visualize the panel takes no more “adjusting” of the eyes (seems like common sense to me)and it seems to me that forward visibility is better than anything I’ve driven yet. The black interior is still flawless and the Recaro seats are not only visually appealing but very supportive and comfortable. And there’s a fair amount of room for the rear-seat passengers. The interior certainly doesn’t seem any “cheaper” or less durable than anything else I’ve seen in a comparable car. I like it. My clutch is firm and consistent and the shifter has never been a problem either. I haven’t heard a rattle yet even on our bumpy roads here in Idaho. It’s a solid, quiet, air-tight ride so far.

    My Redline is black with tinted windows and I think it is rather attractive and not deserving of some of the snobbish styling comments I’ve read here. I must say I’m not overly fond of the car’s long profile but from every other angle it looks great and I’ve had many compliments on it. Aside from 2 tiny scratches on the driver’s door, the finish looks as good as new (beautiful!)-maybe it’s the Simonize treatment I had applied. Body panel gaps are a non-issue for me. At least they’re accurately aligned.

    Peformance-wise, it’s a fun car. Mine has no modifications. I like the torquiness of the motor (reminds me of a less powerful version of my ’66 GTO). However, I wish it pulled just a little longer before the rev-limiter kicked in and I wish it had limited-slip. Is it a race car? NO. (Am I a typical “tuner” driver with illusions that I have compulsory driving skills? NO.) What it is is a very fun, satisfying car to drive. What I like best about it is I can drive it for weeks and not see another one on the road (sadly the same is true of my GTO now).
    I hope you find this useful. Don’t let anybody tell you what to like and what not to like. Test for yourself. Form your own opinion. You may agree or disagree with me according to your experience, but at least it’s YOUR experience! As for a comment I read about more people buying them if the Redline was actually a good car…
    I like microbrews…the masses like BUD.
    I like cerebral movies and subtitles…the masses like “White Chicks”
    Why be like the masses?

  • avatar
    madman mark

    The ecotec 2.0 is one amazing engine. do the research on it. the engine capabilities are quite extreme (1648 hp turbo). all forged construction…so 103 whp per liter stock…is bad 221 w k&n cold air kit…244 stage 1…268 stage 2.. 296 stage 3 w/100 octane. and nitrous ready. Engine is plenty capable of 75 shot.(thats 148 whp per liter warranted). Anyone who thinks a civic si or srt 4 will outperform an ion rl in roadrace conditions obviously never driven these cars. The gauge location in my rl is extremely comfortable and much easier to see while concentrating than any car i’ve owned. I commute this car 250-400 mi per week and i can say that it is comfortable and extremely fun to drive, not to mention I can say from experience that no car can ditch me at high speeds…(over 65mph). I get positive comments constantly regarding the appearance. Black, tinted windows and lights, 1.4″ front-1.6″ rear drop. 17″ black wheels, baer 13″ full race brake kits…26 mpg too. 24 stage 2, 20 stage 3. don’t have 1/4 mi times yet, within 30 days. Btw stage 3 is not 50 state smog legal and cpu activation disengages a/c but stage 2 is 50 state legal and impressive as a package. Oh yeah did anyone mention the safety rating of the ion….. Do your own research… you will be surprised. I invite any si to play with me at street or track lol.
    Whatever

    haters

  • avatar
    eclypse3demons

    I have an 04 Ion 3, nice coupe, black, Ice cold ac, 5spd with the 2.2ltr.

    I have 50K on it, only problems I had was front rotors replaced, frnt sway bar bushings.

    Car runs like a champ, not exactly caddy smooth, but runs less raspy than the old standard SLs.

    I think it looks like every other import out there, just place it side by side with a new Nissan sentra, or even the ultima, or honda and they all look like they have been stealing each others playbooks.

    either way, I think the Ion I have is a nice car, does what I want it to do, with more stile than the old models, its pretty peppy. I would have loved to have gotten a red line. Was not available when I bought mine. But it does have tons of potential mods so.

  • avatar
    raymundojr

    really fascinating car..wish i could have this one crafted with the parts that gives off high performance torque and power like of Saturn strut which gives quality performance but also an environment friendly travel buddy.

  • avatar
    FoxMaiden27

    I just bought an 07 RL and I haven’t picked it up yet. But I must say that some of you posters are kinda scaring me off… like really, is this car that bad?
    I’ll admit that the inside of the car is a touch boring, and the cup holders are a bit small, but the last time I checked a car was a utility to get a person from point A to point B. I think it’s a great looking car, and the biggest selling feature (for me) was the quad coupe for getting my daughter in and out, no other manufacturer offered this. Right now I own an 06 Honda Civic Coupe, and I LOVE it, it’s a tight little car, but for me it was just a little too small and a little too slow. Those are the 2 reasons I am selling it. But bet your ass I won’t be sitting here dissing the civic after it’s gone.
    In truth, I’d like to see more RL owners post on here to get a true feeling of what the car is really all about, not people who haven’t even taken one for a test drive and don’t want to give the car a chance.
    H8RZ!

  • avatar
    vas

    I just bought an 07 Red Line. I liked it so much that I drove 2.5 hours to find it. I think it looks great and from the looks I get while driving its an eye catcher. With the sun roof pulled back the angle of that syncs with the car’s angles and makes it look even better. We drive cars a lot, I say drive a fun car. This car is particularly fast at higher speeds. Passing people at 80, 85 is a breeze. Its super fun to drive. Sure the interior sucks. But like cars with better interiors at the end of the day you get used to them and they will only impress your passengers, while the engine continues to impress you. Another drawback is the lack of a middle armrest. Other then that I think this car is sweet. It combines speed and performance with Saturn reliablity. Its unique and I’m totally satisfied. With another 1K I can get a stage 2 upgrade and another 40hp. I’m happy.

  • avatar
    Liger

    What an excellent review. Loved the smart ass comments and sideways praise of the car! This kind of review is what I used to read Car and Driver for. Very entertaining to read.

  • avatar
    bignrichguns55

    I have an Ion Redline 2004 and i absolutly love this car. it has great stock power and bang for the buck and i actually like the look and style of the car. The seats are definitly the best looking thing on this ride. Compared to the cobalt ss from 2004 to 2006 i believe this car beats it out style wise. the headlights look better the suicide doors are nice and the gauge cluster is not as distracting as one may think. All reviews made on this car have decided to destroy the ions whole reputation because of that. And the design is safe as well. I was driving in the pouring down rain and slid and put the car on its side and I got out, pushed it back over on four wheels and drove it. No damage was done to the car. The rims are sleek and stylish. the sound of the super charger is great. However the looks and design are strictly opinionated on taste. Different people like different cars. I love this car. However, everyone is clear on the fact that it is pretty quick. GM made an ecotec power guide providing an over 600 hp set up for the engine.

  • avatar
    Th3St1g

    Ok I do realize this is a 4 year old post, but I purchased a 2005 Ion Redline brand new in 2005. My friend bought a 2006 Civic Si, from the factory, both stock I had 3 car leads on him by the end of second gear. I am almost infuriated at the fact everyone except 3 or 4 people have never driven/seen/or owned a REDLINE Ion. Not the Ion 3, not the Vue, this is a page for the REDLINE edition.

    A REVIEW FROM AN ACTUAL OWNER OF A 2005 ION REDLINE:

    Interior:
    The interior is head and shoulders above the Ion-3′s, it is on par with the Cobalt SS’s. You are spending 20k on a car new, and now about 8 to 9k on a used Redline, do not expect Mercedes Benz interior. The Recaro front AND rear seats from the factory are excellent if you are not the typical overweight American. I have “fluffy” friends who hate my seats. Myself (being 6’3″ and 175 pounds) find the seats damn near perfect. Females find the seats wonderful. My friends who are in decent shape constantly comment on how the seat feels as if it was “a direct mold of their back” and how it supports you perfectly. The center gauge pod took all of one hour of getting used to it. And after that 60 minute trial period, I wish every car had this. It makes scanning ridiculously easy due to the fact I can check my side and rear mirrors, still be paying full attention to what is happening in front of me, and then check my gauges in the blink of an eye.

    Exterior:
    Yes, it is made of plastic. Yes it is dent resistant. Is my paint in pristine condition after 7 years and 78k miles? Yes. I have no fading, no scratches, no blemishes on a 7 year old DAILY DRIVEN vehicle. Then again I am meticulous and wash the car every week and wax it every 2 weeks. The body lines took a little while to grow on me but now I smile every time I look out my window and see it in the driveway (Keep in mind thats a smile thats endured for 7 years). I have not noticed any major spacing of body lines that is as obnoxious as every other post has claimed. I have owned a 1998 Camaro SS that had bigger problems with its front bumper and the hood lines than my Redline does (it was never wrecked). The suicide doors function fine and I have never noticed any major rattling, and when I did I simply pulled over, opened the rear doors and closed them again, and that stopped it everytime. Apparently if you don’t shut the door completely it doesnt latch, and then your front door doesnt latch correctly and this causes rattling. It is also amazing how the RX-8 (which I have also personally driven) was praised up and down for its suicide doors, which are almost the exact same, they even have the same spacing between the body and the rear door as the Redline.

    Performance (my favorite part):
    From the factory it was an amazingly sporty car, I would grin ear to ear when a Civic Si, RSX Type-S, S2000, GTi, RX-8, base WRX, or a Lancer Ralliart would pull up next to me and absolutely laugh in someones face who decided to pull up next to me in a Scion tC or a Miata. Now this is when the vehicle was still factory “205 fwhp” that was drastically underrated. Being as OCD as I am, I had the car Dyno’ed on a dyno-jet when it was stock. These are generally known to be a bit liberal and I laid out 224fwhp. The simple addition of a ZZP header/downpipe, and a Magnaflow catless exhaust put me at 257 fwhp. The factory headers/down pipe are ridiculously restrictive and this freed up tons of power in the midrange. After these simple bolt-ons, I was hooked, I had never seen a car take to mods the way this one did and I’ve owned an EVO 8. I then began researching, found the coveted GM buildbook. Ordered a ZZP stage 1 and 2 upgrade, which is a tune, #60 injectors, 3 inch pulley, and the raise of the redline from 6500rpm to 7000rpm. ZZP stage two put me at 281 fwph and at this point I only have 300 for header, 120 for downpipe, 299 for stage 1 and 400 for stage 2, making a grand total of $1100 to bust any stock Mustang GT, Camaro SS, EVO, STI, M3, Older Corvette Grandsports, and I had left the realm of Civics, Celicas, RSX’s, and pretty much any other 4 cylinder. I left it there for almost 2 years then the clutch started giving out on me. I replaced this with a GM Heavy duty clutch and pressure plate, and the Fidanza 8.5 lb flywheel. This lightweight flywheel completely corrected the engine’s inability to drop the RPM fast enough (issue others were complaining about) and made shifts crisp, exact, clean, and reliable. After this clutch I got back to it, and started pushing for the realm of extreme. I went ZZP stage 3, shot up to 291 whp. Then a 75 shot of Nitrous from Nitrous Express. Which put me at 387 whp (I assume this was from the cooling effect of the Massive ZZP Heat exchanger that came with stage 3). At this point I was pulling on C5 and C6 Corvette Z06′s, I busted a Viper R/T and dropped that guys jaw. And for this performance I paid probably a total of $4000 aftermarket on a vehicle that cost $19,000. (I am excluding my once a month trips to the dyno everytime I added a modification.) And I am not a straightline guy for the most part, when I took it to VIR (Virginia International Raceway) in the summer of 2009 I was destroying S2000′s, Miata’s, STI’s, EVO’s, and M3′s in straights and holding my own with BMW M3′s in turns. So do the math $23,000 for a 400 crank horsepower car that no one knows what it is, and is daily driven with no problems, or $23,000 for a new Civic Si that looks pretty bad, and is only putting out 200 crank horsepower.

    All in All:
    This is the best vehicle I have ever owned, the only thing I have had to replace in the car was a clutch and that was due to the fact I was over 60 whp and 55 ft. lb. of torque over factory. The LSJ motor loves being at 5000 rpms, it has an exhaust note that purr’s and with an intake the supercharger announces its presence. All around sporty and fun to drive in factory trim and quick with $1100 to get to stage 2, and unbelievably fast at stage 3 with nitrous. Also unbelievably reliable at stage 3, which I cannot say about my SRT4, that I traded for this Redline. So before you knock on a car, talk to someone who has driven the car in all trim packages, and all performance levels. If you dont own the car, have never driven the car, dont talk about how bad an Ion 3 is. This is not an Ion 3, it is the same as saying well a Neon is a crap car so the SRT is also. The only thing the Ions and the Ion Redlines have in common is the same as a Neon and a Neon SRT4, and that is they share the same chassis. Completely different cars than their “little brother” versions. I have not once ordered any parts for an Ion-3, none of them fit in my vehicle or are compatible, I have to go to GM and special order parts for a REDLINE!! Only downside I have is my oil changes cost about $80 if I do them myself due to needing 7 quarts of 5W-30 Mobil 1 Synthetic, My 1994 Porsche Carrera only uses 2 more quarts and it uses that much to cool nearly EVERYTHING in that vehicle. So keep in mind the maintenance can be pricey, but if you pay the extra dollar and do it all right, there is no reason you wont make it to 200k miles with no problems. Hell I’m Stage 3+ for the past 2 years with no problems. My rant is over, if any of you are interested in a Redline or Cobalt SS/SC, I give you the two thumbs up to go for it. I have never been this happy with a car, and will NEVER sell it.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India