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2007 Saturn Sky

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San Francisco: The new Saturn Sky takes GMís celestial division where no Saturn has gone before. The sharply styled two-seater convertible is the most exciting thing from Saturn since the debut of the company itself in 1990.

Few cars Iíve tested have attracted as much attention as this convertible, top up or top down. In sparkling Polar White, it elicited stares and questions wherever I went. I told everybody just what this car is: lots of fun and not very expensive. The Sky starts at just $23,115. Mine, with some options and delivery charges, came to $26,700.

The new face of Saturn is intense, sharp edged, and handsome. Full shapes with sharp fender lines, as well as a bold chrome grille bar, will now distinguish GMís newest division. This new attitude debuts in the Sky, but will eventually carry over to every Saturn model.

Sadly, the famous dent resistant polymer body panels have gone away in this model, which is built in Wilmington, Delaware rather than at the legendary Spring Hill, Tennessee plant. Saturn does use hydroforming technology for some of the sheet metal body panels, a fresh technology which allows for complex curves in items such as the hood.

The Sky comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 177 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft. of torque. It moves the ton-and-a-half car from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Thatís pretty quick, and it feels even faster from the low seating position, from which Toyota Corollas look like Hummers. The standard power plant delivers 22 City and 26 Highway fuel mileage.

Saturn will unveil its Red Line version of the Sky soon. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine puts out 260 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Itís GMís highest specific output engine ever, at 2.1 horsepower per cubic inch of displacement. This trims the zero-to-sixty time to a mere 5.5 seconds, competitive with Porsche Boxsters and Nissan 350Zs. This is a Saturn?

The Skyís cloth convertible top features a glass window with electric defogger. The top is manually operated, but itís relatively simple to drop. You start by unlatching the trunk, which is hinged at the rear of the car. The top extenders behind the side windows create an attractive roofline and presumably aid in aerodynamics; they flip up noisily when you open the trunk. After unhooking the central latch at the windshield header, you fold the cloth top down completely into the trunk, give it a little push, and then drop the trunk back down firmly. Once itís stowed, you see nothing but a smooth trunk, with handsome matching panel between the seats, like the old Corvettes of yore, complete with a shiny Saturn logo.

Sadly, the trunk is mostly taken up with the small 13.6-gallon fuel tank, so cargo capacity is minimal with the top up and essentially zero with the top down. The inside of the car isnít long on storage either, so youíd had best pack very lightly when you travel. You do get a glove box, a center console space good for CDs, sunglasses, etc., and even kangaroo style pockets in the front of the lower seat cushions. If you want more room, take your other car.

This minimal storage capacity in no way reduces the sheer pleasure of driving the Sky. My tester had the optional five-speed automatic, so I didnít get to enjoy the standard five-speed manualís gear changes. The car feels planted in whatever position you put it. The electric hydraulic steering is intuitive and rewarding. The four-wheel disc brakes use dynamic rear proportioning which balances the brakes between front and rear depending on changing conditions.

The inside of the Sky is just about flawless in design and attractiveness, although the window buttons are awkwardly far back on the armrest, and the left air vent blows onto your hand. The interior materials are probably the best ever in a Saturn (so far), but there are a few cheap-looking areas, such as the chrome colored door handles. Overall, the cockpit works well, the armrests are well positioned, and the ambiance is generous and serene as you cruise down the road with the top dropped and stowed. Wind noise is a little excessive around the left pillar, but the car was otherwise surprisingly silent.

One day on the way to work, I found myself in a Saturn flotilla, with a first series (1991-95) sedan and a later series sedan to my right, a recent model Vue SUV to my left, and me in the middle. Past, present, and future Saturnís were traveling along together. With the Sky, the new Aura midsize sedan, the upcoming Outlook crossover vehicle and a new smaller Saturn sedan coming later next year, Saturn is finally moving into exciting new territory.  By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  Saturn is finally moving into exciting new territory
Topic: The 2007 Saturn Sky
Word Count:  861
Photo Caption:  The 2007 Saturn Sky
Photo Credits:  Saturn Sky Internet Media
Series #:  2007 - 11

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