Saturn's attempt at making a hopped-up, tuner version of its Ion quad-coupe is a design in oddity. First, I understand the reason behind the concept. Saturn wants to cash in on the tuner aftermarket explosion just like every other manufacturer. Second, they only have two vehicles that remotely fit into that demographic with the Ion coupe being the likeliest choice, the Vue a decent runner-up. The Vue Red Line was one of the first vehicles In The Autoblog Garage as well.
Instant impression of the Ion is that the interior isn?t as bad as many of the other Saturns I?ve been in recently, including the Vue. The plastics are fairly well done for an aging model and the quad doors are actually pretty handy and easy to use. The radio and environmental controls are much better than on other GM products I?ve tested and the Recaro seats stand out as some of the nicest around. In fact they look a lot like those in the Mitsubishi Evo.
But like a Saturn there are already issues with quality. The car squeaks. I don?t know where it?s from, but seemingly underneath the steering wheel you?ll hear a tiny squeak over every mild bump. Sigh. Maybe all the extra parts they?ve thrown into this specialty model are the culprit. The suspension is tight and the Red Line designation does shine through in the handling department. Speed hasn?t been overly impressive so far, despite the 205 horsepower supercharged engine.
In the next few days we?ll test the performance aspects as best we can and report back since that is supposedly the bread and butter of this vehicle. The value of purchasing an Ion Red Line might also be a question. The sticker reads $21,320. That?s a lot of change especially when you can get a meatier SRT-4 for a similar price. But a recent trip to eBay found two new Ion Red Lines that went for around $15,000.