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Cars Worth Noting: 2004 Saturn ION quad coupe

2004 Saturn ION quad coupe

This car is as equally confusing as its television commercials.

You know the ones, the weird dream-like sequences with IONs driving through zombieinfested middle-class sub divisions.

Everything about ION seems to have been done to make it strange, and strange it is. The center-mounted instrument cluster doesn’t offer any extra benefits. If nothing else, it moves vital information farther away from the driver. The customize-it-yourself arches that run from the A-pillar all the way to the Cpillar never seem to match or compliment the color of the car they’re on. In most cases they appear to have faded into the sunlight.

In fact, while the VW-like design could be its strong point, the large gaps between the plastic door and fender panels visually chop it into pieces, upsetting the flow. This becomes even more apparent when you add the dual rear access doors. These doors seem as much gimmick as function — not quite as useful as a four door and not as sleek looking as a coupe — just different. I would think that you would want them hidden when not in use instead of being such a prominent chunk of the profile of the car.

The most pleasing thing about this car is the powertrain. Gone are the buzzy Saturn four-bangers of yore, replaced by a wonderful GM 2.2 L Ecotech I-4. The engine puts out 140 hp and performs very well mated to a VTi automatic transaxle.

There’s always been something charming about Saturn’s quirkiness, but this time GM may have gone a little too quirky.

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Fri. February 3rd, 2023

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