For years, common auto-industry wisdom said Saturn was a one-trick pony in need of more models to keep buyers coming back.
Parent General Motors finally has gotten that message, coming out with a Saturn SUV and a Saturn sports car, the Ion.
The 2004 Ion Red Line Coupe I tested came with a 2.0 liter engine and a five-speed manual transmission. It's been a long time since I drove a manual, so I called a lady friend over who is much more comfortable with a manual and we put the car through its paces.
The five-speed was peppy, the car seemed to have nice pickup, and I liked the styling.
But that led me to wonder if the Ion would appeal to the sports-car crowd. I'm 51, doubtless not in the young demographic Ion is made for. The Ion struck me as the kind of car a parent might buy a child thinking it was sporty, only to have the offspring turn away.
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Price $21,320 (model tested); Base price of tested model: $20,385
Available at Saturn dealers
Specs 17-inch aluminum wheels; 205 horsepower engine, racetrack tuned suspension. Mileage: 23 mpg city, 29 mpg highway