The Saturn Ion came in as a welcome relief for the aging S-series. With faster, sportier and roomier capabilities in tow, many anticipated its highly publicized coming and did not fail to impress. The Saturn Ion was showcased in 2002 at the New York International car show as a 2003 model. The new Ion is intended to revitalize General Motor's Saturn division. The Ion has what it takes to excite new customers and bring them back to the Saturn fold, poised to re-energize the small-car market.
The Saturn Ion is built on General Motor's new "Delta" platform. This platform benefits the Ion from its amplified structural firmness, a capability to provide accommodation for multiple engine and transmission combinations and a bigger general size. Also loads of features and accessories were applied to amplify the performance and the luxuries this vehicle may provide. Available in two body types, its sedan and coupe versions have attracted the eye of many enthusiasts. The sedan is available in numbered trims from 1 to 3 while the coupe has only two. While the number goes up, so does the luxury level of the car.
The Ion in its initial offering was powered by the Ecotec 2.2 liter dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine which generates 137 horsepower. Dual balance shafts are installed to provide smoother and quieter engine operation. 1 and 2 Ions for the sedan and 1 for the coupe can have either a five-speed-manual gearbox or a VTi continuously variable transmission (CVT) while the top-level models can have the manual shift or a five-speed step-gear automatic transmission that functions with closer steps between gear ratios when needed to produce the strongest acceleration available. The Saturn Ion sedan may comfortably seat five passengers while only four in the coupe. Higher seating positions in the front and rear defines the difference with the older design of the S-series. Trunk capacity is bigger with the sedan than the coupe, while the coupe is fitted with a front and rear flat folding seats.
Some alteration was done for the succeeding year due to many suggestions made by Saturn loyalists. But for 2005 a significant make over was noticeable. Larger seats were installed to provide more comfort while larger steering wheels were also fitted. General mechanical improvements to the 2005 models include modified suspension settings and improved steering feel. A new four-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission in the coupe and the five-speed automatic in the sedan. Overall, the Ion is continuously improved with innovative cutting-edge technology to provide the best ride available.