The Saturn marque is a subsidiary of General Motors, set up in the 1980s in response to the flood of German and Japanese small car imports to the USA eating into GM’s market share.
The first Saturn, a small saloon, came off the assembly line in 1990 accompanied by advertising which depicted Saturn as a ‘Different Kind of Car Company’ that put ‘People First’, slogans that soon established it as a reliable marque providing value-for-money compact family cars.
In 2003, the company gave itself a sporty makeover by introducing Red Line — beefed-up versions of existing cars in the Saturn range — and for 2007, it produced its first proper sports car, the two-seater Saturn Sky. The Sky comes both as a basic (177 bhp) roadster and, for an extra $4,200, a Red Line (260 bhp) model with a posher interior, better suspension, dual exhaust and the most powerful of GM’s turbocharged and direct-injected Ecotec engines.
The Sky is built on the same front-engine, rear-wheel drive platform as GM’s Pontiac Solstice and Opel GT models but has cuter looks than either. In fact, it’s one of the most eye-catching autos on the road, let alone to have emerged from the GM stable.
Its phenomenal success can be put down more to the allure of its styling than its handling, which is no more than mediocre. It also has some irritating flaws — a removable soft top that is frustratingly awkward to manage, hardly any trunk space and disappointing quality in the overall finish.But when eye-candy is as enticing as this, who really cares if it’s not the most agile car on the road?
The Sky goes fast and has undeniable sex appeal; moreover it’s at an affordable price. Only the most pernickety petrolhead is going to moan about this adorable-looking little roadster.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
2.0 l (122 cid) DOHC Straight Four
Top speed of 141 mph (227 km/h); 0-60 mph (97km/h) in 5.8 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
In February 2009 General Motors announced that no new Saturn models would be produced and that the marque would be phased out by 2011 as part of GM’s restructuring plan to cut costs and make the company eligible for government assistance to prop it up during the global recession.