Used 2003 Saturn ION 3 Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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2003 Saturn ION - Consumer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating

42 Total Reviews

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Happy owner since new
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By cartopcamper
on

Vehicle

2003 Saturn ION 3 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)


Review

We've owned since new a 2003 Saturn Ion 3 sedan with 5-speed manual transmission. It now has about 145K miles and is going strong. All of our 5 kids learned how to drive a stick in this car. The clutch finally needed replacement at 137K miles. I live in Southern California. While a daughter attended school near Boise, ID, I'd drive up a couple times a year via Nevada back roads. I wouldn't see another vehicle for hours while driving through the desert, so I'd drive 100 mph for long periods without a problem - still got great mpg. I still use this car if driving long trips by myself. Only problem for us was/is the ignition key switch issue - about $350 to fix, and I haven't yet


Best Features

1 MPG! 2 Being able to park anywhere and not worrying about dings. 3 I am glad we got the 5-speed manual trans as it seems people have problems with the CVT automatic. 4 Roomy for a little car. I'm 6'3 and have driven with 3 other adults 2000 miles round trip w/o complaint. 5. Good performance w manual trans, handles mountain roads and 100+ mph well. 6. Handles a small trailer well


Worst Features

That darn ignition switch!


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O K car.
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By leo
on

Vehicle

2003 Saturn ION 3 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)


Review

Owned since 8/07. Took some time to adjust to. Gear shifting is awkward compared to a Honda or Toyota. Great turning radius. Chronic ignition switch problem that shows up in winter. Wipers are plastic and are very delicate in cold weather with snow or ice. Fabric is cheap and stains easily. Seats not all that comfortable. Like car a lot but have been let down more than once.


Best Features

Nicely designed car. Great layout. Fair leg room at best. Really good sound system for a cheap one. I like the color load capacity and trunk space. Great turning radius.


Worst Features

Get rid of the failing ignition switch and put a robust wiper system in. Saturns gone so lots of luck on these.


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What I expected
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Kyle
on

Vehicle

2003 Saturn ION 3 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)


Review

I bought my Ion3 new in 2003. 0% interest and 3 mos deferred because I had just graduated college. It's no BMW 3 series, but it's been good overall. 30 mpg on highway; 22- 24 in city (with hard driving). Have not had the build issues others reported -- recalls were done quickly and everyone was friendly. My CD player doesn't skip and noise is what I'd expect for a car this size. Center console display is cool and looks much sharper than a Corolla from 2003. Plastic body means no dents; trunk is nice. 5 speed automatic is nice for extra oomph in passing or city accelleration. Would buy a Saturn again, but one a little more souped up. Good starter car.


Best Features

Center display dials; leather, CD, sunroof all in entry level car.


Worst Features

Seats are a bit uncomfortable and should have lumbar support. Driver's side floor mat is not durable. Leather, while nice, was pretty cheap.


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Terrible in Snow & Ice
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Rob
on

Vehicle

2003 Saturn ION 3 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)


Review

Liked my SL1 better! Steering is terrible, never felt right since I bought it! Problem was fixed in 2005 model year. Ride is comfortable, seats stink, not enough support. Economy is okay at 29MPG average. Stereo was replaced 3 times in first year, but no other problems. Car is reliable transportation for short trips, not for long distances. Stay away from snow/ice, traction is poor at best. Excellent on dry pavement. Braking is very good. If you don't mind being thrown sideways when you hit bumps then this car will be satisfactory. If you want a car that handles well, try something else.


Best Features

Premium stereo is excellent. Styling. Good accelleration.


Worst Features

Steering/suspension. Seats. Steering wheel design.


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Appreciate at the pump
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Hessian
on

Vehicle

2003 Saturn ION 3 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)


Review

This is the 8th Saturn I've owned and it has been the best, fuel-wise and dependability-wise. We have driven it nearly 5 yrs. now and only minor problems. Our major complaint is comfort. The driver's seat is impossible for long drives. Little cushioning, hardly any lumbar support. And no room in the back seat. This is the car for those seeking dependable transportation at affordable prices. It'll get you where you want to go cheaply. Your pocketbook will appreciate it, even if your back doesn't.


Best Features

I like the positioning of the instrument panel to the right of the steering wheel. Much easier to see. Also enjoy manual transmission. Fun to drive.


Worst Features

Make front seats comfortable. Need more cushioning in bottom and more lumbar support in the back. Also would help if the seat were to be able to be moved into different positions, not just back and forth.


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