2003 Saturn Ion Reviews and Owner Comments

2003 Saturn Ion owners review and rate their 2003 Saturn Ion.

2003 Saturn Ion (5 Reviews)
Body, Interior & Misc.
Drive Train
Electrical & Lights
Exhaust & Emissions
Heating & Air Conditioning
Suspension & Steering
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I absolutely love my Saturn Ion. It's 8 1/2 years old now and has 63,000 miles on it. Wonderful in the Ohio snow. Hugs curves. Comfortable on long trips. But the best part, for me, is how it climbs the mountains in North Carolina and Arkansas. No lagging at all. A burst of speed and we're at the top of the mountain! This is my 3rd Saturn, and the best of the bunch. Am so terribly sorry that it will have to be my last. There is nothing out there to beat my Ion in looks, performance and reliability. Going to hang on to it as long as possible. Routine maintenance will, hopefully, keep it going for a long, long time.
I've had my Ion 3 for over 8 years & put over 115k miles on it. it was the first new car I ever purchased & found it to be an excellent car!
I live in the North East & put the car through Central NY winter road salt & VT back roads.
I found it to have very good handling in the snow & at dodging between deer & guard rails. It had a tendency to be over powered & spin when leaving stops in icy conditions, but up-shifting to 2nd or 3rd to minimize power/torque worked every time.
It's has suffered through our DIY projects. Hauling lumber up to 10' & still closing the trunk, hundreds of pounds of bagged garden soil per trip, decorative concrete blocks, & 12 hour round trips with 2 great Danes in the back seat.
I've had the bulb burnout problem which seemed to be tied into the Recall with the power outlet/lighter electrical. One service call and it never happened again.
The original exhaust pipes lasted over 100k miles. My only complaint is that the front pipe includes the catalytic convertor. Leaving the weakest point (the flex joint) right next to the exhaust manifold when it decided to go.
I'm sad to see Saturn gone. I would have gladly bought one again when this one finally dies.
I've had my Ion for seven years. In the beginning it was great, and I was excited to own my first car. I enjoyed the fact that the dashboard meters were located in the center dash as opposed to behind the wheel. I personally feel it makes it more visible and easier to keep track of your speed. For the majority of the car it worked from getting me to A to B, but if push came to shove and I had to get out of the way quickly the engine is not powerful enough for that quick acceleration.

Ever since day 1 I've had electrical problems which I've been told is related to the Sun Roof they put in. I constantly get the map lights to flicker on and off due to vibrations, all of which has never been fixed by the factory as "we could not duplicate the results." When it comes to the Heating and Air conditioning I will warn you that even when it is not turned on I still feel air/heat coming through the vents. Not quite sure how to explain that. The other gripe I have about it relates to the nozzles. When you want to change the direction of the flow it works great from design allowing you to swivel it in many different directions, but it does not have vents per say to close. When you try to close the valve by turning the nozzle sideways you will hear a loud whistling noise which is quite annoying.

On the other side of things it is very spacious and reasonably comfortable. It worked great for me while in college when constantly transporting stuff back and for, but for the long term I'm ready for something new. All in all it's a decent car nothing more nothing less.
I have had my Ion for six years. In the begining it was great. I loved. I even named it. But once you move to a place with harsh winters, the love is gone. I have had nothing but problems with the transmission. I have a manuel. I learned how to drive with a stick shift and have never driven anything else. So I know what I'm doing. in the last two years, I ha replaced the clutch, the clutch pedal had to be replaced because the plastic mechanism wore down and my clutch failed while I was driving on a busy street, and now the clutch won't disengage and my engine lift keeps coming on sporatically. Saturn wants to charge me $2k for the repairs and tries to make it seem like it's my fault. I was going to just sell it under value and not worry about fixing it. But now it is undriveable and everytime I come to a complete stop it stalls out, even though my clutch is all the way in. Oh and the slave cylinder needs to be replace, which means that when I could drive it I had to shift gears with two hands because it was so difficult to get the gear into place. Talk about dangerous. The demise of my car is devestating, especially since I took such good care of it. All the maitenance was done on time and usually early. I am so disapponted.
I love the center-mounted instrument panel. The car accelerates much faster than you would expect.

I haven't had any major problems - just a strange noise with the cabin fan, and the compass on my rearview mirror broke after about 5 years, though the thermometer still functions properly.