2008 Sky New Car Test Drive
The Saturn Sky is a high-fashion, two-seat roadster designed to compete against the Mazda MX-5 Miata and other roadsters. Like the Miata, the Sky is relatively affordable when compared against the BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK, Porsche Boxster, Audi TT, and Honda S2000.
We think the Saturn Sky is well worth a look for anyone who wants a fun, two-seat cruiser that can drop the top and let the sun shine in. It doesn't have the agility of the Miata, but the Sky is a classic sports car with classic sports car running gear: rear-wheel drive, a fully independent suspension, powerful four-wheel disc brakes, high-performance tires, a double overhead-cam engine, and a manual gearbox.
Saturn's roadster is built on GM's worldwide Kappa platform, a rear-wheel-drive architecture shared with the Pontiac Solstice in the U.S. and the Opel GT in Europe. But while the Solstice is rounded and quietly muscular with relatively subtle surface decoration, the Sky is lean, sharp, aggressive and extroverted. Given their mechanical similarity, the two cars look remarkably different with dramatically different styling. The base Sky comes better equipped than the base-level Solstice.
The Sky comes with a choice of engines. The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder is a sensible engine, while the Sky Red Line features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder boasting 260 horsepower. The Red Line also comes with special front and rear styling, high-performance tires, and a sports suspension.
For 2008, the Saturn Sky comes better equipped. All 2008 models come with StabiliTrak electronic stability control, a limited-slip differential, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a power height adjuster for the driver's seat. The standard audio system has been upgraded and includes XM Satellite Radio. Customers can choose top and interior leather colors independent of paint color, instead of having to accept a prescribed factory combination (for an extra cost, of course).
New for 2008 is a torque beam added to manual-transmission models to isolate noise associated with abrupt torque transfer away from the passenger compartment. The system was originally developed specifically for the added power and torque of the Red Line, but was then extended to all models with manual gearboxes late in the 2007 model year.
Another benefit the Sky offers is Saturn's one-price, no-haggle car shopping and one of the best dealer networks in the country.
The 2008 Saturn Sky comes standard with a 172-hp 2.4-liter inline-4. The base Sky ($25,855) comes with air conditioning, power windows and door locks, power mirrors, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver's seat, GM's Driver Information Center, OnStar, and a black cloth interior. The standard audio system is now a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 unit with XM Satellite Radio, speed-compensated volume, automatic tone control, TheftLock and Radio Data System (RDS). Tires are 245/45VR18 Goodyear Eagle RSA all-season radials on 18-inch painted aluminum wheels.
The Sky Red Line ($30,115) packs a 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged to 260 horsepower; along with a performance-tuned suspension; 18-inch polished aluminum wheels; 245/45WR18 Goodyear Eagle F1 high-performance tires; unique treatment of the headlights, grille, and bumper; and dual polished exhaust outlets. Inside, the Red Line features metallic sill plates, stainless steel pedal covers, specific gauges, and a digital boost gauge integrated into the Driver Information Center.
Options include a 6CD changer ($295); a 225-watt, seven-speaker Monsoon sound system ($395); a decklid spoiler ($275); and 18-inch chrome wheels ($545-$795). Leather seating is available as part of a Premium Trim Package for the base model ($750), or as a stand-alone ($475) for Red Line. The Weekend Get Away Package ($790) includes console and trunk storage bags, a wind blocker with storage bag, molded splash guards, and all weather floor mats; all decorated with Saturn and/or Sky logos.
Sunburst Yellow paint costs extra ($195), as do those custom color and trim combinations we mentioned in the intro ($590).
The Carbon Flash Special Edition ($2,395) applies chrome wheels and many Red Line appearance features, both interior and exterior, to a base model. A similar package for the Red Line ($1,395) also combines chrome wheels and some special trim.
Safety features that come standard on all models include front and side air bags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and OnStar emergency communications. For 2008 StabiliTrak electronic stability control and a tire pressure monitor have been added to all models.