Saturn's 'Battle-Weary' Ion Gets a Recharge


Its no secret that Saturn's two-year-old Ion will get a rather significant overhaul later this summer with the introduction of the 2005 models. While the sedan will get a restyled front facia complete with a new grill (the coupe's styling will remain the same), its from the inside of both the Ion sedan and quad coupe where you'll likely notice the most change. Gone is the often criticized small steering wheel and hard plastic dashboard surfaces. Instead, you'll find a steering wheel similar to the one used in the Ion Red Line and softer, richer materials used throughout the cabin.

The "battle-weary" Ion, as described by the Detroit News for all the criticism it has received from the media, will also feature new, more comfortable front seats, interior fabrics, and a more potent 170-hp VVT Ecotec powerplant that will be available mid-year. Driving dynamics are also said to be much improved. Back on the outside, sources say the sedan's new front-end features a grey mesh grill that sits between the headlamp fixtures. A thin, tasteful chrome accent bar spans across the top of the grill.

Facilitating much of this change is the arrival of the all-new-for-2005 Chevrolet Cobalt. The Cobalt rides on the same General Motors Delta architecture as the Ion. "A lot of things we learned from the Cobalt, we're rolling into the current Ion," Lori Queen, head of GM's small car team, told the Detroit News. "Quite frankly, people are shocked when they get into a new Ion."

Look for a full list of changes to be posted online at when they become available in August.

Source: Detroit News

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The Detroit Free Press reports that workers at GM's Lansing Delta Township manufacturing facility in Michigan, where the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave are built, could be back to work building new vehicles again as early as Monday next week. Production of the popular large crossover models stopped April 17th when workers went on strike over several unresolved local plant issues.