The 2007 model year is the last for the Saturn Ion, so it only receives one change: Deep Blue replaces last year's Laser Blue exterior color. A new method for rating horsepower changes the output on the Ecotec 2.2-liter base engine to 145 hp and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. The Ecotec 2.4-liter engine is now rated at 175 hp and 164 lb.-ft. of torque. Five models remain in the lineup: the Ion 2 sedan, 4-door Ion quad coupe, Ion 3 sedan and quad coupe, and the Red Line performance version.
The Saturn Ion made its mark by introducing the "quad coupe," a vehicle that looked like a coupe but also featured two rear-hinged doors for easier access to the rear seat. With the doors closed, most people found it difficult to tell the extra doors were there. The vehicle's interior had some unique styling cues as well, including a center-mounted instrument pod. And even though the Ion is a small car, it receives a five-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for both the driver and front-seat passenger.
The Ecotec engines that power the Ion deliver impressive performance and feature technology developed on the dragstrip; indeed, the racing version of the Ecotec engine produces over 1,450 hp from only 4 cylinders. Although the engines in the Ion don't crank out that kind of power, the horsepower the engines do generate is impressive, especially when considering the 2.2-liter is rated at 26 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway. Two transmissions are offered on the Ion; standard is a 5-speed manual, while an optional 4-speed automatic is available on all but the Red Line version.
The Red Line performance iteration of the Ion receives special features not available on the other trims. First is the 2.0-liter supercharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 205 hp and helps the Red Line Ion accelerate to 60 mph in about 6 seconds, according to Saturn. The Red Line also comes with a higher-capacity 5-speed manual transmission, sportier front and rear fascias, projector-beam fog lamps, and an available rear wing. The Red Line Competition Package adds a limited-slip differential, 17-inch wheels and performance tires, a lowered ride height for a better overall stance, standard leather seats, a performance-tuned exhaust system, and a racetrack-tuned suspension system.
The Saturn Ion competes in the Compact Conventional segment, which consists of 20 models. Buyers in this segment look for fuel economy, reliability, and safety, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Toyota Corolla (328,699 units sold), Honda Civic (316,638), and Chevrolet Cobalt (211,449). The Saturn Ion sold 102,042 units in 2006, an increase of 1.1 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Compact Conventional segment include the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Jetta, and Hyundai Elantra. Joining the segment in 2007 are the Pontiac G5, Suzuki SX4, and Volkswagen Rabbit.