2004 Saturn ION Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2004 Saturn ION Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Saturn ION Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.2 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 140 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 23/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2004 Saturn ION

  • Despite some improvements in interior materials, the Ion remains a generally substandard economy car that's outclassed by nearly every other compact sedan and coupe on the market.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Low price, customer-focused dealers, large trunk capacity, coupe's innovative rear access doors.

  • Cons

    Flat seats with little support, limited rear legroom, low-grade interior materials, build quality not up to competitors' standards.

  • What's New for 2004

    Saturn has upgraded the Ion with new fabrics, improved plastics and a new radio with MP3 and satellite radio capability. The electric steering has been revised for improved feel at highway speeds, while the sedan's five-speed automatic and the coupe's CVT have been recalibrated for improved gear selection and response. Finally, Saturn has installed additional sound-deadening material to reduce cabin noise. A Special Edition version of the sedan provides black exterior paint, distinctive 16-inch wheels and a two-tone interior.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Long term, great car

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Vehicle: 2004 Saturn ION 3 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5A)

I purchased my 2004 Ion3 almost new at the Saturn dealer, with about 2k miles. That's been 9 years and just over 100,000 miles ago. Perfect car, for me. Only replaced struts, belts, brakes, filters, oil, etc. Had auto transmission serviced once. Absolutely NO problems with this vehicle. Great trip vehicle for me. Disneyland, Grand Canyon, Salt Lake City, wherever I want to go. 30 plus mpg on freeway. I get better mpg when I go faster than stated limits, hmm.. Anyway, I love it so much, that my extended family have purchased three others. Looks like a Saturn lot when all are here. Others may have had problems, but for us. Great car. Wish they still made them. All 5 still work fine.




I'm gonna miss this car

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Vehicle: 2004 Saturn ION 2 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5A)

I bought this car 4 years ago with 59K miles already on it. 2 months ago, I totalled it in a rollover. First off, I'm completely unscathed--I had a couple minor cuts and a little whiplash. Secondly, in 4 years, I took this car to 147K miles--nearly 90K miles--and I had one major repair around 125K, when my timing belt tensioner went out. I had another repair bill over a grand about 5K miles earlier, but that was for the AC fan, wheel bushings in both front wheels, alignment, a radiator flush, and a tuneup. You know, normal wear and tear. This car ran and ran and ran and ran, with good fuel economy (~26-29 mpg) a smooth ride (though a little noisy) in almost all weather. Would buy again.




Bought w/ salvage title -

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Vehicle: 2004 Saturn ION 3 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M)

I traded in my big SUV for this little thing 4 years ago. It had a rebuilt salvage title (flipped over in accident) and 75k miles. I'm up to 120k and we still love it. 30+ mpg and minimal repairs. The only things we've had to do are: keep relays on hand for when the electrical steering goes out. At first this was a monthly occurrence, it has been 2 years since we've had to replace them. We did struts and brakes at 110k. A fuse for the cigarette lighter. Then of course the normal things, battery, oil changes, spark plugs, etc. We plan to drive this car until our family doesn't fit!




Bought in 2004, still love

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Vehicle: 2004 Saturn ION 2 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5A)

I bought this Ion new on 10/28/03 and have enjoyed the last 143k miles. Sure, in the beginning there were some bugs to work out, wiring harness, computer glich, shifter block and a few other small bulletin items that the Saturn dealer dilligently fixed. Other than general maintenance, the only thing replaced was the ignition switch. Each set of tires has gotten 55k, and the oem battery got over 5 years of use. The car has been extremely reliable. Since 25k, the car runs on Mobile 1 and a K&N filter, this has made a difference on mpg. Sometimes I think of selling to get a new car, can't justify it, do a comp with a Cruze, size, power,features, vertually same car! Not sexy, but delivers!



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Overall a great car

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Vehicle: 2004 Saturn ION 2 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5A)

We bought the ion for a nice, cheap car with good gas mileage. My fiance loves the styling and the interior, although to me the exterior looks kinda odd. The seats are fine for around town but i wouldn't want to take a road trip in it. The dash console position is strange but I actually kinda like it. Controls are all very easy to reach and the gas mileage is great. For an economy car it actually rides very nice. And GM's 2.2 Ecotec engine is absolutely flawless. I feel very safe with that engine because of its reliability record.




A true lemon! starting difficulties!

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Vehicle: 2004 Saturn ION 2 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5A)

This is the car that killed Saturn. Mine was plagued with electrical problems: "Passlock" malfunctions made the car unstartable at times. (2 column passlock switch assemblies replaced and the problem came back a 3rd time. A $300+ dealer repair if out-of- warranty.) The sensor in the anti- freeze overflow failed. Left headlight problem due to wiring harness wear. Recall for turn signal mal-function. Noisy McPherson struts in winter. A harsh ride, especially in winter. Cheap- looking seats and interior trim. Only pluses: good gas mileage and no rust due to plastic body parts. A mediocre end to the Saturn legacy. Basically a small Chevy with plastic side panels. Too bad.



Full 2004 Saturn ION Review

What's New for 2004

Saturn has upgraded the Ion with new fabrics, improved plastics and a new radio with MP3 and satellite radio capability. The electric steering has been revised for improved feel at highway speeds, while the sedan's five-speed automatic and the coupe's CVT have been recalibrated for improved gear selection and response. Finally, Saturn has installed additional sound-deadening material to reduce cabin noise. A Special Edition version of the sedan provides black exterior paint, distinctive 16-inch wheels and a two-tone interior.

Talk About The 2004 ION

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 23
  • cty
/
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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