Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2003 Saturn Ion Overview
A Fresh New Approach, Saturn Style
Saturn has replaced the aging S-Series with an all-new model, the 2003 Ion. Due out in Fall of 2002, the Ion retains the same high-quality build and innovative design characteristics of the car it replaces, but adds a few new tricks the S-Series never dreamed of.
The Ion coupe features a unique forward facing rear door that open to allow the rear seat passengers easy entry and exit from the car; both the Ion sedan and coupe retain Saturn's dent resistant side-body panels. GM's new Ecotec 2.2-liter is the sole power plant for the Ion, and it's an impressive piece of work. The little 140-horsepower engine pulls strongly and exhibits none of the vibration and roughness usually associated with four-cylinder engines. In addition to the new engine, the Ion offers the choice of a 5-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a first in this class of car.
Inside, you'll find far more head and legroom than the previous S-Series provided. The Ion is two-inches taller and six-inches longer than its predecessor and you can really feel the difference once you sit inside. The seats are taller, with better side and lower leg support and the dash is a complete departure from anything you've seen in Saturn to date. The speedometer, gauges and tach are all placed in a small, center-mounted dash pod and angled toward the driver. It's a pretty cool set up, but takes some time to get used to, as you have to glance to your right instead of straight ahead to read the gauges.