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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Test Drives
2007 Saturn Sky
Dan Lienert, 06.05.06, 12:30 AM ET

Overview
One of the prizes designer Chloe Dao earned for winning Bravo's recent season of Project Runway was a new Saturn Sky roadster.

A spokesman for General Motors (nyse: GM - news - people ) says Dao has not received her roadster yet--but we think it doesn't really matter if she ever drives it. The Sky is more about catching eyes and attracting people to a previously humdrum brand than about performance. Associating the Sky with a fashion-design competition was a smart move for GM, because the Sky is the first Saturn designed to be a fashion statement.

This is a vehicle that gets noticed. People all over Manhattan, from bicyclists to garbage-truck drivers, commented on the convertible as we drove it around recently with the top down. "Is that the new Saturn?" they would ask excitedly. This was something we had never encountered before--and not just because we have succeeded in our goal of driving Saturns as infrequently as possible over the years.

Normally, we'd be far more excited to be test driving a Porsche or an Acura than a vehicle from a comparatively humble brand, known much more for customer service than for exciting rides. But the Sky is hot--both in terms of styling and the attention it's getting. As an effort to inject some life into a snoozy GM division, it succeeds where the company's Pontiac GTO, with its dull styling, failed.

The Sky's razor-sharp exterior, a blend of curves and sharp creases, is anything but bland. It is sexier than its sister vehicle, Pontiac's Solstice, which has a stubby nose and Braun shaver grille.

The Sky also better serves buyers who want a grown-up look. A nice roster of factory options can take the Sky from PG-13 to R-rated. With $2,500 worth of extras such as leather seat inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sill plates in metallic finish, stainless-steel pedal covers and 18-inch, chrome-plated aluminum wheels, our test car looked sinister. It even had a tasty color scheme: a "silver pearl" exterior with a red interior--not easy to pull off. On a Ford (nyse: F - news - people ) Mustang, a red interior looks cheesy. But in the Sky's more tastefully styled cockpit, it works.

The problem with this handsome vehicle is that it's what we might call "sculpture:" all show and no go. In the segment, Mazda's Miata sets a high standard for performance. While the Sky is just as handsome as the Miata, it is not a lot of fun to operate. To see what we mean, read on.

Highs: Sharp interior and exterior styling. Gets noticed. One of the hottest American cars. Good value. Cool name.

Lows: Horrendous manually operated top. Underpowered. Noisy. Slower, less refined and less fun to drive than a Mazda Miata.

From The Driver's Seat
Just getting into the Sky's driver's seat can be an adventure. If you want to raise or lower the cloth convertible top first, don't plan to be on time for wherever you're going.

Foregoing a power-operated top is what allows manufacturers to sell roadsters in the low $20,000s. But the Sky's heavy, impossible-to-master roof is the clunkiest, least user-friendly unit on the market. Even the Corvette's detachable hard top--you have to dismount it completely then walk it around to the trunk--is easier to operate.

Before we left our garage, we practiced raising and lowering the roof over and over again; if we hit rain, we didn't want to be the chumps in the flashy car who couldn't get the roof up. We weren't 100% confident that we had the technique down when we left, but at least we knew how everything was supposed to work--in theory.

But on the edge of Riverside Park on New York's Upper West Side, we needed about ten minutes to raise the roof. No matter how many different ways we tried, we just couldn't seem to get the front of the roof to align properly with the top of the windshield, and we had a really hard time locking the fasteners on the rear of the roof into the surface near the trunk (we had to do it by slamming the roof down with both palms, one side at a time and so forcefully our feet left the ground; it looked like we were giving the trunk violent CPR). A guy walking his dog spent several minutes bemusedly watching us start and restart the procedure until we got it right.

Who has time for this? And more importantly, if you buy a car that calls this much attention to yourself, you're surely not the kind of person who wants to be seen behaving this way.

Unfortunately, you don't get a great payoff once you get into the car. The interior is handsome, but the ride is not memorable.

While the Sky has an oversized but speedy gearshift controlling a five-speed transmission, as well as crisp steering and a suspension that is surprisingly sturdy on New York's atrocious street surfaces, the car's lack of power is disappointing. When you mash the throttle, nothing seems to happen.

The Sky has more horsepower than the Miata (177 vs. 170), but the manual-transmission model we tested weighed nearly 500 pounds more than a comparably equipped Miata, meaning the Mazda has 15% more hp per pound. This is one reason why the Miata is nearly a full second quicker in the zero-to-60 mph sprint (6.5 seconds vs. 7.2).

The Sky tries to mask its need to go on a diet with a noisy exhaust note, which instead of growling just ends up being loud and not particularly sexy (the best description we have heard is "agricultural").

What a shame. But hopefully the Sky's styling will be enough to make Saturn more than just the mediocre brand with the folksy dealers.

Should You Buy This Car?
It disheartens us to see such a gallant effort from a domestic automaker--the best Saturn ever, in fact--and still have to say "pass."

The Sky is a good value, but so is the Miata--a car that is faster, more refined and more fun to drive. A trip in the Miata is exhilarating, while a trip in the Sky is pleasant at best. Also, Mazda has had nearly 20 years to work out the kinks in the Miata range, while Saturn is a rookie in the roadster market.

The Sky's lack of pep is unfortunate, but the forthcoming, red-hot Sky Red Line model should address the problem. With a turbocharger, 260 hp and a zero-to-60 time of 5.5 seconds, the Red Line should be a scorcher--and should deliver on the promises made by the Sky's sexy styling.

Look for the Red Line early this fall. Until then, that racy front end is writing checks the Sky's engine can't cash.

Specs
Manufacturer Contact: www.saturn.com
Base Price: $23,690
Suspension Type: four-wheel independent SLA
Acceleration: zero-to-60 mph in 7.2 seconds
Engine Type: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower: 177 @ 6,600 rpm
Torque: 166 pound-feet @ 4,800 rpm
EPA Mileage: 20 city/28 highway mpg

http://www.forbes.com/vehicles/2006/06/02/saturn-sky-2007_cx_dl_0605test.html?partner=topix
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Although most 2.4L Sky owners are probably happy as can be with their Skys, I kinda agree with the Forbes article... with the standard engine to me it is mostly "eye candy". The turbo will fulfill the promise of an amazing sports car!

Without the turbo engine, the Sky or Sol wouldn't even be in my top ten... regardless of how great it looks.

With that amazing turbo, the reasonable price, AND the great looks... nothing else out there even comes close!
 

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Wow!! Someone has a real problem if it is taking them ten minutes to raise the roof.

I timed myself and my wife.

13 seconds for me and 18 seconds for my wife.....

My sister is 4 ft 11 In, weighs 95 pounds, and she can raise the roof in less than a minute...... Has a little trouble with pushing the back of the top into the trunk but she can still raise and lower the roof 20 times faster than this reviewer!
 

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Ya, the roof comments were crazy. While it may not be the easiest roof to raise and lower, it's definitely a 30 second process tops, I probably do it in 15 seconds now that I'm used to it.

I also agree a bit regarding the power this car is lacking. That being said, I love my Sky and don't plan on getting rid of her even though I do wish she had a bit more power.

The Miata is so plain and boring, I hate when people compare the Sky to it. It doesn't even come remotely close.
 

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This is the first all negative review I have seen. Yes they say the performance is not as good as the MX5 but I really don't think it would be that much less. Total package is what I'm looking for! $, Style and performance. I don't think I would be wrong in saying this car does have the 3 key things.
 

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I guess them thar city folk don't be anoin what a roadster is fir. It is fir cruisin out ta see iffen ol betsy has enough feed an whatnot. It tant fir racin around them cow pies or agoin thru tha pig slop, it be fir showin tha honey bunch a good time at tha A&W drive in on a weekend nite. Sho them boys at forbes don't be anoin a good thing iffen it bit them on tha backside britchs. Skip ...In my own dang opinion....Besides I don't read no Forbes rag anytime around here.......:lol: :lol: :cool: Of course we might have that issue in tha ol two-holer out back......
 

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I have a miata too and the top is a one hand, while in the drivers seat, job to lower. The sky is as we all know harder to put down but I am willing to take the extra time cause it looks so much better down than the miata. Its kind of fun popping the trunk and tucking the top away too.
 

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The last roadster I had...

My 1979 Triumph Spitfire... It had a top that stowed behind the seats, and a "boot" to snap in place to cover the ugly top when it was retracted.

To lower it, you had to do two latches (one on each side) behind the visors, then exit the car, undo four snaps on the drivers side, fold the flap back onto the rear window, undo four snaps on the passenger side, fold that flap back, then press in the middle of the rear window while lowering the top to fold behind the seats...

THEN -

If you wanted to look cool (which got old pretty darned quick) you had to open the trunk, retrieve the boot, and line it up over the retracted top with coat-hanger hooks inside the car and about 20 snaps all around the outside that more or less lined up with the snaps on the body of the car (emphasis on "less" versus "more.")

Note that if the rear window was unzipped you had to zip it up before lowering the top. That took a bit of gymnastics to reach all the way over to the passenger side for the zipper and work all the way across the back. But I left that step off for "simplicity."

So, after THAT...

To lower on the SKY, one latch, a "badoink" on the key fobber, then lift the deck lid, lower the top into it then slam the lid is a DREAM! And no boot to fiddle with to cover the ugly-ass top.

Rasing: One "badoink", a lift and latch, then a slam and two pops. Heck, I'd still be undoing snaps on the damned Spitfire!
 

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From the driver's seat I can reach back, raise, and lock into place the roof. Now I haven't timed myself but this is done in mere seconds, jump out close the clam shell and snap down the buttress. Likewise I can lower it from the driver’s seat but it is faster to unlock the top jump out and store it away. These guys are idiots or severe over exaggerators saying that it takes 10 minutes. They even admitted to practicing first, these guys are rating cars for a living. I could just go on all evening like this but I guess what bothers me the most is that years ago I use to buy these various magazines seeking out the “EXPERTS OPINIONS” before making a major purchasing decision. Hell our newest member to the forum knows more than these guys. Long story less long is if you are not one of the first one’s to own something new (in this case the Saturn SKY) always ask someone that already owns rather than listening to some one paid to provide an opinion.
 

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10 minutes to put up the top? Give me a break. Now thats a good laugh for today:lol: I think these so-called Forbes reporters have a big check from Mazda waiting for them.
 

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where are they located? maybe we should all get together and drive our Skys up to their front door and let them see how long it actually takes to put the top up and take it down. 10 minutes... geesh.... i can put it up in less than 30 seconds easily without being rushed.... I guess they had been smokin something when they tested the Sky...
 

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IslandHopper said:
10 minutes to put up the top? Give me a break. Now thats a good laugh for today:lol: I think these so-called Forbes reporters have a big check from Mazda waiting for them.
I could build a freakin garage in 10 min....:jester:
What a bunch of whimps -- we don't want them driving SKYs anyway...:D
 

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Rick Tinley Park said:
I could build a freakin garage in 10 min....:jester:
What a bunch of whimps -- we don't want them driving SKYs anyway...:D
:agree:
I think I could put my top up in less than one minute, with one arm tied behind my back. Go ahead Forbes, pick the arm!:thumbs:
:cheers:
 

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Everyone post their comments to the editor.

I just went to the artical and posted comments to the editor, I told them they could publish them if they want...but since i blasted their review i doubt they will unless a bunch dispute their claims....
 

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Kind of makes you question the rest of the article too doesn't it? I agree the car is not perfect yet but it sure has a head start on a lot of the others. I'm enjoying my Chili Pepper Red one until my Redline comes in.:cool:
 

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Axel said:
Test Drives
2007 Saturn Sky
Dan Lienert, 06.05.06, 12:30 AM ET
Lows: Horrendous manually operated top. Underpowered. Noisy. Slower, less refined and less fun to drive than a Mazda Miata.
QUOTE]

I just had to add my .02 on this review. As has been stated by others, the "horrendous manually operated top" doesn't take ten minutes. It's not that big a deal for those of us who have one - less than a minute and in most cases 30 seconds is all it takes. If you are in such a big hurry that 30 seconds is too long - go buy something else, please.These guys must be challenged in some way.
Underpowered. Maybe. For those looking to blast by everything on the road you'll want more horses. For my money - I can tool along just fine and it gives me the giggles on the backroads. Plenty of go for me.
Noisy? Not sure about that. I mean, jeeze, what are they looking for, a library?
Slower? If the test numbers are to be believed, only by a couple of tens which is .. oops, missed it.
Less fun than a Mazda? Didn't by a Mazda and I am having plenty 'o fun.
I must not be that savy to have gone for the SKY. The Forbes folks must think I'm a sucker. Well, they can think that all they want. It was my money, I did the research and, knowing full well what the "issues" were with the car, bought one any way.

And I STILL suffer from SGS :D
 

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bigdog said:
Axel said:
Test Drives
2007 Saturn Sky
Dan Lienert, 06.05.06, 12:30 AM ET
Lows: Horrendous manually operated top. Underpowered. Noisy. Slower, less refined and less fun to drive than a Mazda Miata.
QUOTE]

I just had to add my .02 on this review. As has been stated by others, the "horrendous manually operated top" doesn't take ten minutes. It's not that big a deal for those of us who have one - less than a minute and in most cases 30 seconds is all it takes. If you are in such a big hurry that 30 seconds is too long - go buy something else, please.These guys must be challenged in some way.
Underpowered. Maybe. For those looking to blast by everything on the road you'll want more horses. For my money - I can tool along just fine and it gives me the giggles on the backroads. Plenty of go for me.
Noisy? Not sure about that. I mean, jeeze, what are they looking for, a library?
Slower? If the test numbers are to be believed, only by a couple of tens which is .. oops, missed it.
Less fun than a Mazda? Didn't by a Mazda and I am having plenty 'o fun.
I must not be that savy to have gone for the SKY. The Forbes folks must think I'm a sucker. Well, they can think that all they want. It was my money, I did the research and, knowing full well what the "issues" were with the car, bought one any way.

And I STILL suffer from SGS :D
Of course he did point out that Mazda has had a 20 year head start refining the MX-5 and if they will look I am sure the Sky is worlds ahead of where the Miata was 20 years ago.... The Sky will catch and pass the MX-5 this fall...easily.
 

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I agree about the under-power issue, BUT guess what... I want people to see me. So slow is the way to go. If you want more power then you'll also need to stiffen up the ride too. I've had kids on low-rider bicycles to 85+ year olds in pick-ups check out the car. Style to a wide range of people, young and old alike. :cool:

10 minutes to get the top down. What a group of losers. Under 30 seconds easy. I can see Forbes people having a problem, they are money people, it takes time to find somebody to do the "heavy" labor required to work the top. lol
 

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My 4'11" wife can put the top up and down with no problem. A person would have to be dumb as a sack of rocks if it takes them 10 min to put a Sky top up.
 
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