2005 Saturn Ion Quick Spin
Upgraded to Average
Page 1: Intro
IRVINE, Calif. – Salt is the bane of automobiles that toil within a day’s drive of the 45th parallel. When it snows, this chemical is spread onto roadways to melt frozen precipitation and ice, keeping the pavement wet but clear for maximum traction. Tires pick up the salty water and spray it into the air in a fine mist, covering cars with a chalky coat of corrosive road salt. Most of a car’s exterior body parts are made of metal, which rusts easily when exposed to the salt, especially if the paint has suffered deep scratches or the car is dented and crumpled from an accident. Not only does the metal rust, but it dimples when careless fellow motorists throw open their car doors in parking lots, striking idle nearby vehicles. Rusty, dented vehicles with door dings used to be commonplace in areas such as New England and the Midwest, but new paints and protective treatments have reduced their numbers in recent years.
Despite advancements in metal crafting, plastic automotive body panels make plenty of sense in urban areas, and in regions where salt is used to clear the roadways in the wintertime. Plastic doesn’t dent and it doesn’t rust. It does, however, expand and contract with the heat and cold, so it needs room to breathe. That’s why the gaps between most of the panels of the plastic-festooned Saturn Ion are large enough to swallow a pen while steel-bodied competitors feature gap tolerances tight enough to keep no more than the tip of a favorite writing instrument from fitting through.
Saturn’s penchant for plastic also means that the Ion’s body panels don’t line up properly, flex when leaned upon, and make a cheap sound when the doors, fuel filler lid, and trunk lid are closed. Big gaps, poor alignments, flimsy bodywork, and a distinct lack of a solid thunk! when closing the Ion’s various apertures make the car feel less substantial than it is; they make it seem poorly designed and engineered, of lower quality, like a low budget rental car.