2003 Saturn ION from North America


Not reliable


I am so glad I'm not crazy. For months, I have been having the " no start" problem. I would be able to start up the car and drive, but heaven help me if I had to make a stop. I wouldn't be able to start the car for another 15 minutes. I am furious! I have spent money for a problem that apparently is not going to be fixed.

My next care will not be a Saturn that's for sure.

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

Review Date: 11th March, 2008

2003 Saturn ION 1 4 cylinder from North America


When it wants to, it runs quite well for an American car


For about a year, the car has had a problem I saw mentioned, but not addressed in the pages of comments about this car:

Once in a while, the car simply won't start. I turn the key and press the clutch, but there is only a system message saying "service engine." Duh, OK, but after 10 minutes EXACTLY the car starts just fine. How do I know? After many times, I noticed if I just sit and let the radio run for the usual 10 minutes after the key is turned off (without opening the door, which is a nice feature) the radio goes off and I can drive with no problems.

Yeah, yeah, I can go to the dealer and have it looked at, but I need time and money to pay for anything that might be wrong, and if anyone else knows about it, maybe I can save said time and money and fix it myself for a lot less. My friend has the device that talks to the engine and it cannot talk to MY engine. Other engines are fine so it's not his device.

The Saturn dealer didn't see to notice the rattling heat shield that another car repair shop. That was weird... it's quite loud!

General Comments:

I like it otherwise. It drives very well, I haven't experienced the turning off at 70 that others have mentioned. That's a bit scary. The dealer always e-mails me when it is time for service.

It also has a satisfying amount of power for a 4 cylinder car.

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

Review Date: 8th March, 2008

2003 Saturn ION ION2 4 cylinder from North America


Very dangerous


Some times the car will not start.

General Comments:

Sometimes Car won't start mostly in cold weather. When I turn the key car clicks and will not start. Have to wait about 10 minutes and it will start. This has happened a number of times. A few times to my wife at night when she was alone. She will not use the car at night when she is alone.

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

Review Date: 12th February, 2008

2003 Saturn ION 1 2.2 from North America


Good deal


Um... let's see here what went wrong, what went wrong...

Oh I know I had to change the front drivers side blinker light. And the wiper blades wore out so I had to change those things too... junk.

General Comments:

I mistakenly put this earlier review (12/2006) under the Ion car year 2002. I wanted to add a few comments, so here is my original plus current:

We got this car kind of as a last resort. The Rodeo just died and we needed something economical and quality to get us by. Before buying a Saturn if you asked us if we would get one our response would have been "no way" and laughter. But my wife's cousin worked at a dealership, so we thought we'd talk to him, since he'd be more honest with us. And we are very glad we did.


The car is quick, amazingly quick for a 4 banger. I was and am very impressed with the power and gas mileage combo from this car. (However keep in context, this is a 4 cylinder)

The turning radius is excellent; at first I almost started to think I'd turn the wheels completely sideways and rip the tires off the rims, love it in tight spaces.

Good gas mileage, our latest trip at Thanksgiving and driving 5 hours with the car literally packed with us and two kids got us 34 mpg. Impressive.

(update 2/11/08) //start

We took this guy and stuffed ourselves and two boys into it and drove out to Estes Park CO from Grand Rapids MI for two weeks. With all our stuff jam packed, we averaged 32 MPG on the highway, kept cool in blazing July heat on the American plains, and had zero problems mechanically. It did just fine in the mountains, no problems running up Longs Peak to I believe 12,000 ft, and all over Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park.

(The Ion almost had a knock-down drag-out fight with an Elk, which I'm sure would have easily went the way of the Elk, but that's another story.)


Zero problems so far, I've changed the oil and that is it, no maintenance.

Pretty comfy for a small car, I'm 6'3" and I fit in it well.

Nice fit/finish for the type of car & price range.


LOUD. Holy crow this thing has road noise. It's ridiculous how loud this is when everything else seems so nicely done. Were the testers deaf? Blasting their radios? Seriously, what happened here?

(update 2/11/08) //start

This thing is horrid in the winter, especially for a front wheel drive. I've had two similar sized/weight 5-speed cars that put this Ion to shame in winter time.

In college I had a cantankerous 86 Turismo that should of been put down years prior, that thought it was a 4-wheel drive truck. I swear it ran on 3 cylinders most of the time, but blasted through snow like nothing (in the UP of MI) and refused to get stuck, or stop running for that matter. I ran a steady stream of parts through that junker, but I could always count on it finding a way to get me home. I bet it forced the car crusher to blow a hose or cylinder before it finally succumbed to it's fate as a cube.

I also had a 89 Corolla that did really good in snow too with Kelly tires. Don't remember the exact tire, but I know I got them for highway driving, as the Michelin Destinies (a highly rated tire) for the Ion. The Destinies made a world of difference in wet weather driving, but no difference in winter weather.

I would guess that the 2.2 GM uses is and the car overall is lighter then the other two I mentioned, but wow, for a front wheel drive vehicle, it's pathetic in wintertime.


All in all we got a deal, a dependable car with good performance and good gas mileage, which is what we needed until we can afford a bigger vehicle.

Would I buy again?? Umm... probably not the Ion, unless saddled with the same financial/loss of car situation. We need bigger cars with a family, maybe the Vue? But I certainly wouldn't shy anyone away from checking the make/model out for those wanting a smaller, economical, and IMO quality car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th February, 2008