2005 Saturn ION 1 2.2 from North America
Tremendous stealth value
Front strut bushings. Replaced under warranty at 35,000 miles and again at 64,000.
Recall for electronic power steering motor. Never had a problem with it, though the light went on twice in 64,000 miles and the power boost went away momentarily.
Ignition switch: replaced multiple times under warranty, once paid for by myself, final time the upgraded switch was replaced under a recall program. Open circuit in the repair still allowed the key to stick in the ignition after the recall and was also replaced under warranty. 10 years of a sticking key and it finally operates like it should have from day one. GM reimbursed me for the money I spent on the next to last ignition switch replacement.
Out of pocket expenses have been virtually zero minus the bushing replacement I recently had done. First battery replaced after nearly nine years.
Tires, oil changes, preemptive maintenance (all belts and hoses, including heater and A/C, plugs and boots at the 10 year mark, trans fluid changed at 50,000 miles, etc.) and a recent switch to synthetic oil. The GM/Saturn org has been good at not charging for warranty work as I keep all records and use the dealer for anything outside of fluid and tire matters. My running costs have been very low.
I was ambivalent toward this car when I bought it. My 99 Cavalier had been totalled in a rear end collision. Over the years I have grown to love it. The Ecotec 2.2 and GM 4 speed auto are long lived and the polymer panels have kept the car looking brand new.
Purchased a Saturn because a 95 SL1 I bought with 116,000 miles on it was so solid. And the Cavalier had given flawless service from new. My brother still drives the 95 with nearly 200,000 miles on the clock and loves it.
The low cost of running, tight turning radius, quiet ride (rides like a much larger car), fuel mileage and dent free panels have provided good value. ION 1 seat upholstery does not stain like that in the ION 2. The ION 1 was discontinued after 2005.
800 improvements were made to the 05 ION over the 03-04 models that were shared with the Cobalt which was new that year.
Perfect size, though large for a compact. Needs more rear seat legroom, but entry and exit are great and superior over the S Series. Nearly 40" of headroom in the front seat.
Trunk is huge. Turning circle is 34'.
I have learned to despise consoles in cars because of the one in the ION. Keep hitting my knee on it. Someone please get that crap out of the way. Not just an ION design flaw, but an industry wide peeve I have. It will be a deal breaker in my next car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd August, 2016