A funny thing happened to me over the weekend. My computer blew up. There I was ready to write a full reporting of my weekend in the Saturn Ion Red Line and instead I spent it at Micro Center trying to build a new computer using my old hard drives. When the bill started to eclipse my Autoblog salary I decided to go the route of buying an already built PC and transfer any saved info I could.

Needless to say this was keeping me from writing, driving, taking more photos etc.

Therefore, the poor Red Line did not get as extensive a test as I would have liked to give it. But to be honest I don?t think any more driving would have impressed me in this vehicle. In the Ion?s plus column I have:

  • Nicer interior than expected
    Amazing Recaro seats
    Superb stock stereo
    Tight handling
    Quick shifter
    Quad doors

The negatives though include:

  • Horrible clutch action
    Steering wheel needs an extra half turn in many situations
    Alignment was off considerably
    Very annoying squeak would not go away
    Outdated exterior style
    Not enough torque
    Center mounted gauges were never looked at
    $21,000 price tag

As mentioned earlier it seems the Red Line can be found for much less than the sticker if you look for it. But what would really drive a person to the Red Line? If you?re a Saturn fan and want a bit more power than I can understand the purchase. However, there wasn?t enough performance to make me choose the Saturn over any of the competition. In fact, this is why I?d like to see Mazda come out with a Mazdaspeed 3 at $21,000. Saturn though has a long way to go before they can match the quality and performance of the rest of the compact tuners out there. The Dodge SRT-4, Civic Si, Acura RSX, Scion tC and Toyota XRS all seem like better packages that offer a variety of performance and features that Saturn can?t match.

Check out Days 1 and 2.

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