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2007 Saturn Sky

Anti-Sticker Shock

    Either way you slice it, the Sky is drop dead gorgeous. Those are just about the last words I ever expected to utter about a Saturn. But then again, the Sky isn’t exactly my girlfriend’s Saturn. Though I wouldn’t mind if it was.
     I had my doubts when GM announced that it was going to develop this bargain priced roadster platform dubbed Kappa. I believe stunning was one of the words used to describe the concept, but we all had our doubts. Especially when they announced that Saturn would be getting a version of said platform. And while they tried to prepare us our stubbornness held until the moment that cover came off and our jaws hit the pavement. How do you change the image of a dwindling unexciting car company? One fantastic car at a time!
     The Sky is revolutionary for Saturn, a signal of things to come. The chassis is rock solid, with nary a whisper of a wiggle in the cowl. The vehicle is stable and secure in corners making each hairpin and switchback seem a relaxed ritualistic task. The slightest twitch of steering input provokes immediate and precise turn-in. The body moves with a confidence and stature not at all dissimilar to that of the not-so-distant cousin Corvette. The 18” Goodyear Eagle RSA’s hold you firm to terra firma and provide you with all the feedback the short and long arm front and rear suspensions can translate. And does so without so much as disturbing your Starbuck’s Grande Carmel Mochiatto, if you wish it not too. The only disappointing part of the whole package was that our midnight blue Sky came equipped with the optional 5-speed automatic transmission. The tranny does its job, but at the expense of even more unhappy noise, vibration, and harshness from the already raspy 2.4-liter EcoTec. Moving 2,963-lbs is not a trying task for the 177-horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque this engine produces, as our trial Solstice proved last fall. But when combined with this tranny things go south fast. Forget driving “spirited” and just be content with having the most attention-grabbing car on the block.
     And we mean that! The Sky is plain and simply gosh darn pretty. Few casual onlookers will think Saturn when they see such an eye-catching vehicle. In fact, visiting Europeans will immediately think Opel, as across the pond this car is dubbed the Opel GT. But regardless of that we have here a roadster as distinct from its sister Solstice as water is to club soda. Both will wet your pallet, but the Sky has the memorable bite. A crisp all-business face resides in place of the rounded happy snout of the Solstice. Instead of teardrop headlights and taillights the Sky has jeweled angular units. Driving lights and extra grille areas adorn the front end. Our tester came equipped with the standard 18” painted alloy wheels. Chromed hood louvers, door handles, and grille inserts add flash to the darker colored vehicles such as ours. The louvers are non-functional but are stylish enough that most won’t care. The Saturnized rearend gets a bit of a nip and a tuck and supposedly adds a couple tenths to the open cubic footage of cargo room, our experts didn’t find it, but they did like the new taillights. The exhaust tip is neatly integrated into the lower bumper but looks lonely, as does the rear back light, but both are functional.
     The Sky interior is a bit more accommodating than the Solstice. The general grade of materials seem to be of higher quality while the shaping of the instrument panel is more uniform for driver and passenger and not wrap around. Panel gaps and material feel is quite good while the splashes of metallic, chrome, and piano black trim keep the eyes feasting. This is no drab GM interior. Our car also had the two-tone tan-on-black leather seating surfaces, which scored high marks with our staff. The corporate stereo head unit is very intuitive. The MP3 player jack is a nice touch. On the downside, the cupholders are all but useless, interior storage is non-existent and the window controls require a double joint in your forearm. The convertible top has a bit more insulation than the Solstice and sealed a bit better than our pre-production Pontiac did, but there is still a good deal of wind noise. Also, the trunk space is limited to 2.0 cubic feet of space with the top down and only 5.4 cubic feet with the top up. So unless your luggage is tube shaped to fit around the large protruding gas tank your cross-country excursions might be limited to day trips. Once you get by those shortcomings, however, the Sky’s cockpit is a comfortable place to spend many hours traversing this country’s many great roadways.
     Solstice or Sky? Our vote is Sky. If your fun factor is derived from how good your car looks and how you look in it, than you will probably be fine with the automatic and standard suspension. But for those looking to extract a bit more driving fun out of their ride stick with the stick, and opt for the limited-slip differential and sport suspension. You won’t outrun a Mazda MX-5, but you will out handle and outclass one. So how much would you say this Sky rang the register? Many of those we talked to ballparked it between $30,000 and $35,000. So for $26,884 we think that this little Saturn rings high in the value quotient. It’s anti-sticker shock, as one local put it. What do we say? Bring on the Redline!

The Good:
Best looking GM vehicle to date, superb handling, attractive sticker price.
The Bad:
Engine and automatic tranny combo is a dog, trunk space is laughable.
The Verdict:
Fantastic roadster with drop your jaw styling, but the powertrain needs some noise, vibration, and harshness work.


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