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Plastic Gravity 01-30-2002 05:09 PM

Chicago SKY line
There's a new blurb about the SKY at GM's media site. No pictures thou. SUPPOSEDLY debuting at the Chicago Auto show.

Saturn Sky Concept Vehicle Caters to Youth

New Generation Roadster Marks New Expressive Design

Most concept vehicles are designed to test public reaction. The Saturn SKY concept, an open-air roadster, does just the opposite.

“It’s a response to what young people told us they wanted,” said Dave Smith, Saturn’s brand character chief designer. “They said they were looking for open air and room for their friends and their stuff, balanced with a sense of responsibility. We just know this is a concept worth exploring.”

The Saturn SKY is a four-season vehicle spacious enough to move people and cargo comfortably through traffic without abandoning the coziness of a classic roadster. The compact convertible combines a hip, energetic design that speaks to an individual sense of style with supreme functionality for people on the go, according to Smith.

A versatile seating package allows the SKY to convert easily from two-place to four-place seating. The extra seats in the rear stow away underneath the tonneau cover when not in use.

The Saturn SKY also provides easy entry and exit. On this concept, Saturn continues with a unique feature to the brand – a rear access door on the driver’s side. This application is borrowed from today’s Saturn coupe, the only vehicle in the market that has this innovation.

The concept vehicle features an Ecotec 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with a low-boost supercharger, mated to a five-speed manual transmission, generating 180 horsepower.

Saturn’s design philosophy is honest, optimistic and expressive, according to Smith. The “honest” design comes through in that the vehicle clearly communicates its intended use and functionality.

Saturn’s signature upswept lines define the exterior, creating an inviting and expressive look. A continuous upswept line follows the hood cutline embraces the headlamps, and a wide, low front air intake is positioned underneath.

SKY features a simple fabric roof that is lightweight and easy to use. The collapsible roof stows in the rear of the vehicle.

Distinctive lighting treatments on the Saturn SKY add appeal to the front and rear of the concept. The long low-profile fog lights glow softly with the striking appearance of arctic ice.

The taillights are powered by LED technology to give the SKY concept a distinctive lighting signature to the rear of the vehicle. The light from the LED lamps is directed in a way that provides a smooth, even glow. SKY’s rear lighting provides the benefits of lightning-quick illumination, lower voltage consumption and lightweight packaging.

Inside, Saturn designers continued with the upswept character line on the steering wheel center and the door panels. The instrumentation is mounted in the center of the console, instead of the traditional location behind the steering column. This has several benefits. It keeps the driver’s eyes closer to the horizon, eliminates obscuration of gauges by the steering wheel and allows for a smaller steering wheel for a sporty feel.

The gear shifter on the five-speed manual transmission can be folded into the center console when the vehicle is parked for unobstructed pass-through.

“Here’s a roadster done the Saturn way,’” said Jill Lajdziak, vice president of Saturn Sales, Service and Marketing. “We’ve been offering a different kind of car since our creation and now we are showing off a car the world has never seen – a stirring, open-air roadster that is an equal mix of fun and function. People can take their friends along and easily talk as they go.”

“This concept vehicle is extremely important for Saturn,” Smith added. “We want to infuse Saturn design with even more daring and verve, continuing some of the brand’s signature cues.”

Saturn SKY Concept Vehicle

Body/Chassis Structure: steel unibody
Body Material: composite
Chassis Material: steel / aluminum
Suspension: strut front and rear
Wheels: 18 in aluminum alloy
Tires: P225/45-R18
Brakes: front & rear disc

Engine: Ecotec 4-cylinder with low-boost supercharger
Engine displacement: 2.2L
Horsepower: 180
Torque: 190 lb-ft
Transmission: 5-speed manual

Height (in / mm): 51.2 / 1301
Length (in / mm): 165.7 / 4210
Width (in / mm): 69.5 / 1765.3
Wheelbase (in / mm): 102.4 / 2601.0
Track (in / mm): 62 / 1575

John10 01-30-2002 07:29 PM

I like the idea of a roadster but I'll wait to vote on the SKY until after I have seen the changes caused by Bob Lutz.

One thing I will say now is that I wish Jill, Dave Smith or anyone else Saturn trots out to talk about the SKY would lower the rhetoric. Take a page out of Nike's book: showcase the product to the younger active people you are trying to impress and let them go with it. Instead of talking about "stirring" them, roll out a car that you are confident in the design of, smile and give them the keys.

erick295 01-30-2002 09:18 PM

Center mounted instruments? Those are supposed to be [i]safe[/i]? I don't know about you, but I actually look [i]forward[/i] when I'm driving... next time you go speeding down the road try staring at the vents in your console and see how much it improves your vision.

Oh, and by the way... quite frankly LED taillights annoy the crap out of me. Those flashing, migrane-inducing lights should be banned from U.S. highways. I've seen enough of them on Cadillacs to be convinced that they should be removed.

I'm sorry but [b]I don't think so[/b]. I would much rather see the folks at Saturn working on a real car that people are actually going to buy, not some crazy concept vehicle that only appeals to a minute percentage of people who can't really afford it anyway.

JasonD 01-30-2002 11:06 PM

Although the center mounted console is a change, there is one question I must ask after reading the last post.

How well could you drive if you were staring at the speedometer while you're driving?(assuming it is in the "normal" location)

Moving the eye to the right, instead of down is not a change of effort, simply a change of direction. How much effort is there in moving the eye anyways?

I feel that as long as the panel is within eye movement range, getting used to it will be easier than getting used to any other change in the car. Damn, imagine if people did not buy a new car because the radio button design was cahnged during the cars re-design. Oh, by the way, it would be harder to use a new radio format that getting used to looking in a slightly different direction for the speedometer(I mean c'mon, moving eye, easy... learning the feel of all new buttons and functions, a bit harder I am sure.)

Oh, I love the argument "it just looks dumb". Ok this is a valid opinion. Yet I just want to know why people think this? Is it because they do not like change? The dash will in fact become more symetrical, which should add to the look. I guess I just do not agree on the opinion issues of it being ugly. Just please, no more crud about how hard it would be to adjust, it does not float.

Tenchi Masaki 01-31-2002 01:21 AM

I think they should just do a HUD just like they do on the Z06 in addition to where the instrumentation panel is. That would take away most complaints haha. But how feasible $$-wise is another issue lol.

Plastic Gravity 01-31-2002 02:12 AM

The center mounted instruments are Saturns worst idea since the Honda motor crap.

There are currently 4 cars that(at least that I know of) use the center mount idea, the Echo, the Mini, the BMW Z8 and the Panoz Esperante. All of them have taken it on the chin for using this set up, its very gimmicky, and takes more time to read than if they ahead of the driver. The mini has the brains to offer to the put Speedo where if belongs if you get the Turbo version.

Try it, just try puting say a small round clock on top pf the dash, in the center and try reading going down the road. I tried it with a 4 inch Dia. clock. Its aggravating as hell- and it just plain looks stupid. The people in the back seat ARE NOT driving the car. Put the clock there, like the folks at Infinity wisely chose to do.

WhiteFantastic 01-31-2002 03:36 AM

not confident in this
Don't know why, and I won't pretend to know a lot about the auto market in general...but I just don't think this idea will fly. Or drive. I'd MUCH rather see a good replacement for the SC's.


L300Boy 01-31-2002 04:10 AM

Im interested in seeing the *actual* car, rather than a collection of unfinished and poorly rendered CAD drawings. I liked the first design, but it has room for improvement. This is something that I trust Bob to do right.

If it looks cool, i might consider buying one when it comes out. I have been looking at roadsters for my next car, but i really could use a couple of extra seats -- and if i could hide them when not in use -- even better.

The center console would be a little different, but thats not going to keep me from buying a car. I really dont care, as long as i can read it. Just like how i dont care that the Saturn window controls are on the center console. I still think this a bad idea, as it *will* effect sales. Some people really have some adverse reactions to this. It would be like replacing the steering wheel with a joystick. People dont like changes to 100+ year old rituals and come up with excuses why its unacceptable. These silly social issues are really holding back some very interesting, unique, and possibly useful concepts and ideas.

I was really hoping to see LED technology used in the actual headlights. If not in the SKY, its bound to happen someday. LEDs are getting better every day. Im sure the automotive lightbulb industry would have a fit over the release of such an item ;)

180hp, 190 torque, 5 speed manual, probably a light car too. Considering saturn's drivetrain reputation, this should be a quick little car :D I expect 6 secondish 0-60.

L300Boy 01-31-2002 04:31 AM

When is this show? I cant seem to find this article either.

John10 01-31-2002 08:45 AM

I agree with JasonD's observations about the center mounted console. When I first read that Saturn was considering such a thing I used a small cardboard box as a focal point and set it at various places on my SL2. With it center mounted at a fairly high level I was actually able to use my peripheral vision to see it and maintain my eyes on the road much better than I could watching the real instruments while looking down. What really surprised me when I did this was the amount of time I am now taking my eyes off the road to look at the current instrument cluster. I and most others don't pay attention to that however because we all do it in quick glances and have learned how to adjust. I may or may not like the ultimate style of a center mounted cluster but I don't believe it will cause anymore problems with watching the road than the current configuration. Now if someone was really concerned about field of vision vision they would install a heads-up-display option that could be seen on the windshield but that might be too expensive for an economy car.

Plastic Gravity 01-31-2002 10:20 AM

[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by L300Boy [/i]
[B]Just like how i dont care that the Saturn window controls are on the center console. I still think this a bad idea, as it *will* effect sales. Some people really have some adverse reactions to this. It would be like replacing the steering wheel with a joystick. People dont like changes to 100+ year old rituals and come up with excuses why its unacceptable
I was really hoping to see LED technology used in the actual headlights. 180hp, 190 torque, 5 speed manual, probably a light car too. Considering saturn's drivetrain reputation, this should be a quick little car :D I expect 6 secondish 0-60. [/B][/QUOTE]

The center mounted window controls work better on the coupe, with only two switches side by side. I don't like the VUE's goofy placement at all. As far as the joystick idea goes, I don't think I'd like that either. Not for the reasons you'd think thou. The joystick would likely work great for spirited driving, but what about when your lazily pulling out of the drive thru, holding the steering wheel with your knee, or what about dialing in reverse lock in the snow? For a computer game like NFS, it works good. But we don't live in that computer game. I'd much prefer they concentrate on a good drive by wire system, that removes the steering column, replacing the gear driven steering wheel, with a wheel that's merely an input device. It would have the lightning quick response of the joystick and the reduced travel, but not the offend the people used to having a steering wheel.

I'll be honest, I checked, I like the idea of a sportier Saturn(not a lot of it, but well, I'm trying to give it a chance)-with some changes. I vote no on the center instruments(I would NOT buy a car with that), and I didn't like the front end styling from the CGI mockup. Overall, the car styling is too conservative. It doesn't take any chances. I don't like the 180HP motor...I'm very concerned that this car will be substancially heavier than the original S series...especially in 4 seat roadster form. I also thing that 180HP is rather low for a 2.2L Supercharged engine, considering that the japanese are getting this and more from smaller plants, with NO supercharger. The 2.2 Ecotech motor makes 143HP in the VUE, so your only getting 37 HP from the S/C? WTF!!! That's pathetic. OTOH, at least the 190ft-lbs of torque is very healthy...thanks to the boosting. I think the name is pretty cheesy too. SKY=Sonvertible...yes, we all get it...its just too cute. Use the "HYPERION" moniker that was in the running for the VUE. The car is really a drop top ION coupe anyway, right?

The LED lighting idea is worth pursuing. It could change car styling just as much if not more than todays projector beam designs did.

One more thing: TURN DOWN THE SPIN. Jill, youre a horrible spokesperson. Stop with the spin. I agree with John6, just let the car speak for itself. If there really is one.

DBLW1 01-31-2002 10:46 AM

Don't tell me that a center instrument console won't turn you off. For the mini and Z8 it's for a designer thing. For the Echo, Prius, and ION, it's a budget thing.

Toyota Echo

If you check out the other thread, you'll see there's a lot of style similarities of the CGI'ed SKY dash and the Echo.

[URL=]CGI'ed SKY interior[/URL]

erick295 01-31-2002 11:49 AM

Sheesh, look at that thing... there is no logical reason to mount instruments in the center like that... the driver is the only one who needs to see them, and I still don't buy that it's easier to read them. You're looking straight ahead most of the time, so as far as I'm concerned it's easier to glance down rather than down [i]and[/i] to the right.

I don't think a HUD would be that expensive, actually... all you'd need is the speedometer on there. That's all people look at all the time except for the tachometer... but you can't effectively replace a tach gauge with a number display. I really don't know how much a HUD would cost, but since Pontiacs have had them for awhile I know GM has the technology in their grasp. I don't think it could be that expensive... and it would [i]definately[/i] increase their sales - probably by 10 fold. There are very, very few people likely to accept a center-mounted cluster, but I don't think anyone would object to a small HUD.

I'm not sure they could ever make an LED bright enough to use as a headlight with such a low voltage to work with, but if they can find a way kudos to them... LED's are great. What they need to do is make the taillights activate with increasing voltage so they fade on and off like standard bulbs. Not much, mind you, but enough to get rid of that obnoxious instant on-off effect. Does anyone actually enjoy following Cadillacs at night? Every time one of those people turn on their turn signals I want to scream. Those lights are horrible!

Swizelman45 01-31-2002 12:06 PM

I really don't have a problem with the LED taillights on the Cadillacs and night.....I like them actually, the more you see the taillights the better.

In fact, I was following an SL2 the other night, and I was surprised at how small the tailights actually were!!! I mean, all the red area and you make a tiny spot for the actual light!! I think they should replace them to make the lights actually bigger than the signals!!! LEDs for the S-Series would be great IMO.

Plastic Gravity 01-31-2002 12:15 PM


Time to change my vote. I like this one even less than the CGI SKY. That nose is hideous. How could lutz approve something with that stupid black square in the middle? YUCK!!!!

The hood looks like it was taken right off the SL2. I don't like the oldsmobile headlamps either. The lower intakes are an improvment over the gaping fish mouth the other car had, but its time to right this one off.

DBLW1 01-31-2002 12:15 PM

Personally, I like the Deville's LED taillamps. It really gets to me that the majority of this group likes DRL for the safety factor, but when it comes to LED's split second faster brakelamp activition, they complain that it comes on too fast. Geez, that's what they're suppose to do! A split second faster to let the guy behind you that you're braking may avoid you from experiencing a rear end accident. Not to mention, LED are as bright as conventional bulbs but last longer and requires less power. Drive behind a car with spoiler w/LED brake lamp on it. Watch when it brakes and you'll see that the spoiler LED brake lamp comes on a half second faster than the taillamps. It probably won't seem much of a difference, but mentally, you'll notice the instant on of the brake lamp more than the taillamp.

Plastic Gravity 01-31-2002 12:20 PM

[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by JasonD [/i]
[B]Oh, I love the argument "it just looks dumb". Ok this is a valid opinion. [/B][/QUOTE]

Look for yourself...its worse than I imagined. The Echo looks thought out compared to this.


DBLW1 01-31-2002 12:22 PM

In fact, I was following an SL2 the other night, and I was surprised at how small the tailights actually were!!! I mean, all the red area and you make a tiny spot for the actual light!! I think they should replace them to make the lights actually bigger than the signals!!! LEDs for the S-Series would be great IMO. [/B][/QUOTE]

YEah, I notice that a long time ago too. It seems that the changes for the 2000+ SL models made the brake lights quite small for the amount of red back there, especially in the SL2. I think I would measure it about 1"x2" area for each side. The 95-99 SL brake lights were probably twice the size and much more cleaner looking than the 2000-2002 SL's.

energyunplugged 01-31-2002 03:45 PM

L300 Boy:

Here is the info on the Chicago Auto Show you were asking about. I got it from the My Saturn section of They have every event you can think of posted there. I hope this helps!




L300Boy 01-31-2002 05:29 PM

Thanks for the info!

BTW, where the hell did these pictures come from?!

The SKY is looking more like a time machine from a 1940's movie or something. All i can say is ... the interior looks weird. Almost new beatle weird. Maybe weird/bizzare could be good.. ? It definately isnt boring -- thats for sure.

The technology is there. Active matrix console (!), with active matrix icon'ed buttons. Looks expensive, lets hope you dont break it. I hope the display is a front lit active reflective (IE: GBA), or else there will be some serious problems in the sun (especially with a convertible). Yes, the GBA is dark, but a proper front-light system makes this display technology 100% functional and well lit in both dark and very bright environments. Take your laptop outside on a sunny day and you'll know what i mean.

It needs more changes -- that front end grill needs to be changed from that square to a rectangle (rounded perhaps) between the lights and the bottom intake. Perhaps the bottom intake could be changed from two bars into one. The back end, sides, etc. look great. Nothing original, but great anyway. Looks like a TT / New Beattle cross with a dash of saturn and GM. Maybe this is applying to the new german threat? VW has an impressive average age.

The backend has hints of the solstice ... so, assuming the same design team did both, what the hell happened?

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