Review: Itís no secret that Saturn cars wonít be around much longer.
This General Motors company started with a great idea: ditch the baggage
that comes with other GM brands and build cars to compete head-to-head
with the imports.
It worked well at
first. But as time went on the brand never developed the same cachet as
Honda or Toyota, as Saturnís vehicles became more similar to the other
GM brands. In other words, Saturnís cars just werenít all that
This is the exception.
Called the Saturn Sky, this two-seat sports car is a great example of
GMís resurgence in recent years. Itís a car that makes you lust for it,
one that looks stunning at any angle, and moves with the kind of panache
that makes you want to drive it from sunrise to sunset on winding
mountain roads. Itís a beautiful car, in every sense of the word.
Itís the kind of car
that, just a few years ago, people said GM couldnít build.
But here it sits, a
testament to the talented engineers and designers at the oft-criticized
General Motors. Itís real, tangible proof that GMís troubles donít come
from being incapable of building cars that people want, but from
decisions made in the executive suites. After all is said and done who
wouldnít want to drive this Saturn convertible?
This is a car loverís
car, the kind you want to caress with microfiber mittens and drizzle in
expensive wax every weekend, the kind you drive just for the sake of
driving. Itís not a practical car, especially since the top takes up
almost the entire trunk when itís folded away, but itís comfortable
enough for a daily commute and is surprisingly quiet with the top up.
From the driverís seat,
few cars are as perfectly tuned as this one. Based on the Pontiac
Solstice, the Sky has a rock-solid chassis and firm suspension that work
together to transmit crystal-clear messages to the driver. Power is sent
to the rear wheels, exactly as it should be in a proper sports car.
And the way it looks?
Unbelievable. The Sky has classic proportions with contemporary lines,
from its dramatic hood vents to its sleek rear. It looks good with the
top up, but when the top is folded away under the bulging hard cover,
itís even better. It has timeless good looks that people will likely
still find attractive 50 years from now.
It also has just the
right amount of power. Its base engine, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, makes
173 horsepower, which is plenty in such a small, lightweight car. But
the Red Line edition, with its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes a
pavement-ripping 260 horses to add even more fun. Even better, the Red
Line has the best gas mileage rating in its class at 28 mpg.
Thatís not to say itís
perfect. The Sky suffers from inferior ergonomics when you compare it to
cars like the Mazda Miata.
Unlike the Miata, which
has a soft top that can be raised and lowered with one hand from inside
the cockpit, the Skyís top requires more steps, including getting out of
the car. Granted, it looks better than the Mazdaís top, especially
stowed away under the hard cover, but ease of use is something to
Its manual transmission
likewise doesnít feel as perfect as in the Miata, but its five-speed
automatic is superb. Itís one of the few sports cars I might actually
prefer with the automatic, based more on the weakness of the stick shift
than on the strength of the auto gearbox.
The Saturn Sky has
classic sports-car proportions and dramatic hood vents for a sexy, sharp
look. Its soft top folds away under a hard cover to preserve its
gorgeous shape. The Skyís cabin, like the whole car, is focused on the
driver. Itís the kind of car you wear rather than ride inside.
What was tested?
The 2009 Saturn Sky Red Line Convertible with a base price of $31,630.
Options on the test car: Auto transmission at $995, 18-inch wheels for
$545, leather seats at $475, audio upgrade for $395 and a rear spoiler
for $350. The total MSRP price as tested including the $620 destination
charge is $35,010.
Why avoid it?
Some ergonomics could be improved, and its manual transmission doesnít
feel quite as perfect as the Mazda Miata.
Why buy it? It
looks and drives like a world-class sports car. Handling is outstanding,
and its body has timeless good looks.
That said, the Sky is an amazing car overall. From its sexy looks to its
true sports-car performance, it shows that GM can build cars that make
people drool. Itís reason enough to want Saturn to stay alive.
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Saturn Sky Review
provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Saturn Home Page
Column Name: The Saturn
Sky is a real keeper
Topic: The 2009 Saturn
Sky Red Line
Word Count: 863
Photo Caption: The
2009 Saturn Sky Convertible
Photo Credits: Saturn
Sky Internet Media
Series #: 2009 -50
the Microsoft Word version here: 2009
Download the Original Image File here:
2009 Saturn Sky