$11,925 – $15,225 MSRP
$11,025 – $14,061 Invoice
24 / 32 MPG City/Hwy
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Saturn's Ion 3 model is most changed this year. In addition to a sporty new five-spoke wheel style, Ion 3 receives Saturn's optional Enhanced Performance Package. This includes a sport-tuned suspension system, traction control, ABS, and a 170-hp, four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing for increased power and economy. All 2006 Ion models receive interior refinements, including new cup holders, a redesigned console and center stack for additional leg and knee clearance, a new generation of radios that include an auxiliary input jack for your iPod, plus additional storage space in the dash. Seat fabrics that better match other interior components are used on the Ion 2 and 3. GM's OnStar is also available across the board, with one year of free service. Four new colors are available, though not all colors are available on all models. All models except Red Line include GM's "smart air bag" Passenger Sensing System. The base-model Ion 1 is discontinued. The sporty Ion Red Line receives new 6-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels as well as new seat-insert fabric on its hip-hugging Recaro seats.
Though the Ion has only been around since 2003, it descended from the original Saturn S-Series of cars that captured America's attention when the brand debuted in 1990. The long-awaited (by both dealers and customers alike) replacement for the S-Series has undergone quite a few changes during its short lifecycle, and Saturn engineers have continued to tweak the formula in hopes of retaining existing customers and gaining new ones.
All Ion models receive power from GM's highly regarded Ecotec family of four-cylinder engines, are equipped with dual-stage front air bags, offer an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary input jack, come with one year of free OnStar service, and feature remote keyless entry with anti-theft protection and an engine immobilizer. The value-oriented Ion 2 comes with a 2.2L, 140-hp four-cylinder engine, and is available in both sedan and Quad coupe body styles. (Saturn's Quad coupe pioneered the use of reverse-opening rear doors in a small coupe to allow easier access to the back seat.) Step up to the Ion 3 (also available in sedan and Quad coupe styles), and a 170-hp, 2.4L four-cylinder becomes available, as does an Enhanced Performance Package, which offers a more handling-oriented suspension designed to mesh with the more powerful engine. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels also become standard.
The Saturn Ion Red Line, available only in the Quad coupe body style, is the unabashed sports car in the group. It has the smallest engine of any Ion at 2.0L, but its positive-displacement supercharger means that at 205 hp, the Red Line is the most powerful Ion in the lineup. It's paired with a 5-speed manual transaxle that, ironically, has less-aggressive gearing than its Ion 2 stablemate. A performance-tuned suspension including stiffer springs and shocks, chunkier half-shafts, and a 10-millimeter drop over stock height lends a more aggressive look and feel. Traction control is deleted in the Red Line, though it offers four-wheel disc brakes with ABS (other Ions receive drum brakes in the rear). Leather-trimmed Recaro seats, speed-sensitive steering, 17-inch wheels on Z-speed-rated tires, a boost gauge with programmable ladder tachometer, projector-beam fog lamps, and specific front and rear fascias round out the upgrades.
The Saturn Ion competes in the crowded Compact Conventional segment, which has grown in popularity recently and now contains 18 models. Though once seen as entry-level transportation, cars in this segment are becoming increasingly sophisticated and well-equipped.
The Honda Civic was the sales leader in this segment for calendar year 2005, with 308,415 sales, followed by the Toyota Corolla (244,032) and the Chevrolet Cobalt (212,667), according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM Other top-sellers in the segment include the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Prius, and Volkswagen Jetta. Saturn Ion ranked ninth on the sales chart with 100,891 sales.
|2 (M5)||5 speed manual||$11,925||140-hp / 2.2L 4-cyl||26/35|
|3 (M5)||5 speed manual||$14,325||140-hp / 2.2L 4-cyl||26/35|
$14,105–$17,880 Base MSRP
26/34 MPG City/Hwy
$14,465–$16,315 Base MSRP
24/32 MPG City/Hwy
$14,065–$15,915 Base MSRP
24/32 MPG City/Hwy
$14,560–$22,240 Base MSRP
23/32 MPG City/Hwy
$14,760–$24,440 Base MSRP
28/38 MPG City/Hwy
$22,150–$23,650 Base MSRP
49/51 MPG City/Hwy