2003 Saturn ION 2 2.2 from North America


A good concept idea, but the quality of workmanship is questionable


Electronic detection problem with the 5 speeds transmission (from the beginning)

General Comments:

Nice trade-off of features for the price, especially the 5 speeds transmission which is usually mounted on quite higher price cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 1st May, 2004

2003 Saturn ION III from North America


Best car since my mustang in the 60's



General Comments:

Incredible performance and handling. Beautiful to look at with very futuristic features.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th March, 2004

2003 Saturn ION 2 from North America


I'm not satisfied with the service department, but I like the size and performance of the car


The latch on the hood broke within the first 4 months that I owned the car. They fixed it with no problem and covered all the costs.

There is a problem with the steering wheel making a grinding noise. There is, apparently, a rubber ring around the bottom of the steering wheel that rubs against the steering column, making a really loud noise. I've taken it in 3 times and they still haven't fixed it. Every time I go there they tell me they're doing something different, but it never works. First, they "greased up the steering column shaft." This worked for about 2 weeks, and then the noise came back. Then they told me they "adjusted the steering column", which I later found out isn't even possible. Obviously, this didn't work. Finally they greased up the steering column with a "new" grease. Once again, it didn't work. I'm extremely annoyed with the situation and feel as though I'm going to just have to live with my new car making this obnoxious noise. I suppose I'll just keep the radio loud. I've also discovered through investigation of my own that the problem has been an issue with many people and could quite possibly be considered a defect in the car, according to one mechanic I spoke with.

It is extremely easy to stain the seats. Even water makes marks on the upholstery.

General Comments:

It's a very peppy little car and I like the way it handles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th March, 2004

16th Jun 2004, 08:26

Three strikes and your out... They should give you another car. Look into this.

2nd Aug 2004, 14:34

I have had the same problems with the service department not fixing the problem right the first time. I have taken my car in three times for the same problem.

25th Oct 2004, 01:56

I have had a 2004 Ion for about a year and the same problem you have listed above has happened to me. I hear a weird sound coming from my steering wheel area when I turn sharp at slow speeds (say, pulling into a parking spot). My steering feels fine, and the noise doesn't happen at normal driving speeds or turning around corners. It only happens when I am preparing to park (both in forward and in reverse). It is very annoying because I do not know if it is a serious problem, or something minor. Thanks to your comment, however, I am a little more reassured that it is a simple lubrication defect and nothing mechanically defective that could cause damage or an accident.

22nd Nov 2005, 10:35

I have a 2004 Ion and have a clicking/popping noise when I turn at low speeds. The problem seems to be worse in colder weather, and better when it is warm. I haven't been able to take it to the dealer to have the problem checked out, but other non-dealer mechanics have told me they have no idea what it is.

2003 Saturn ION 1 2.2 Ecotec from North America


A nice American compact car


The knob for adjusting the climate control did not function properly. The dealer replaced the entire climate control unit free of charge.

Dash squeaked in the cold. Dealer took apart dash, lined with foam tape, and reassembled.

Wheel squeaked. Dealer lubricated steering column.

General Comments:

Have you heard about the Saturn Ion? The media doesn't seem to like it, fixating on the center-mounted instrument panel, the small-diameter steering wheel, and the exterior styling. If that's all you've heard, then nothing I say will change your mind about the car.

However, if you have gone down to a Saturn dealership and asked to test drive the car (an extended test drive works best) you will begin to understand things.

The center instrument panel allows you to keep your eyes on the road at all times, requiring only a quick glance over to check on speed, engine RPMs, fuel level, etc. It also means that anyone, no matter how tall or short, can see the gauges. The steering wheel cannot possibly obstruct the view.

Having the instrument panel in the center of the dash means the wheel can be small. No one has to look through it to see the gauges, as mentioned above. Small steering wheels were a popular mod during the 50s in America, giving a quicker steering ratio. This one comes stock, and with electric boost like the Honda S2000, instead of hydraulic like the Toyota Corolla. Once you get used to the smaller wheel, you can easily carve through corners that would have you grappling hand over hand with a bigger steering wheel.

How could I forget the engine? General Motors put more testing into the Ecotec engine than any other four cylinder they've ever made. Testing done in places ranging from Alaska to Arizona, and extensive testing on the dragstrip, mean the engine won't fail you. Using a mostly-stock Ecotec, drag racers can pull 1100 HP (One thousand one hundred horsepower) out of the engine using turbocharging. A detuned version of the Ecotec engine making only 750 HP was used in the Saturn Bonneville racer, which set a new top speed record in the class formerly dominated by the Progress Civic.

The Delta chassis is completely new. The upcoming Chevy Cobalt and possibly the Opel Astra will be built off of this same platform. It's incredibly stiff, and able to withstand tractor trailer impacts while keeping the driver and passengers alive.

And while you may not like the sedan, I do. I've drag raced it, auto crossed it, and even seen some air time in it, and my car hasn't let me down yet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st March, 2004

11th Apr 2005, 16:00

The ECOTEC is a fantastic engine, as you have stated. I own one myself. I have never experienced a more trustworthy, well designed I4 engine, inclusive of those I owned during my import buying phase (which I am ashamed to even talk about). But, the ECOTEC will never get the recognition it deserves, because the press will always take pot shots at any new product an American auto manufacturer puts out.

12th Apr 2005, 15:44

Funny, the automotive press does not seem to mind that the Toyota Echo and Prius has a center mounted steering wheel, but let GM try it, and they get castigated. I personally do not care for the center mounted wheel, but I am very disheartened by the double standard in the automotive press against our own country.

24th Oct 2005, 23:30

Center-mounted steering wheel? Don't you mean center-mounted instrument panel?

10th Oct 2008, 15:01

The center mounted steering wheel would come in handy if you were delivering mail.