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THE MISSISSAUGA NEWS
2007 Saturn Sky For Saturn, the Sky's the limit
Well balanced Sky a delight to drive


JIM ROBINSON and Road Worthy
May 31, 2006

He was talking about the 2007 Saturn Sky roadster and what he said should have Saturn officials jumping for joy from Oshawa to Detroit.
The Sky is more than just a new image car, it makes a statement about the sea change going on at Saturn to remake its image from a builder of humble, frugal and environmentally-hip transportation into a trendsetter for GM, which is also undergoing one of the most dramatic makeovers in the auto industry.

Saturn started out in the 1980s as an effort to staunch the flow of domestic small car owners to the Japanese, notably Toyota. In the beginning, Saturn even followed Toyota production methods like having everyone wear the same uniform. Saturns were never stylish, but that was part of the plan. After all, bland worked for Toyota and Honda, so it should have worked for Saturn. With rust-free polymer body panels, Saturn was marketed as a safe and environmentally responsible purchase. It worked, but only to a point.

Today, with North American buyers continuing to ebb away from the traditional brands, domestic manufactures have had to make strategic changes.

At GM, the closing of Oldsmobile was offset by the dramatic turnaround at Cadillac that went from moribund to a monster seller thanks to take-no-prisoners styling and world class fit, finish and engineering.

So Cadillac proved it could be done and now GM has turned its attention to Saturn with the aim to remold it into a brand that will be attractive to those wavering over whether or not to buy offshore. The 2007 Sky is the car that had to be built to grab that attention.

The Sky is just about as close to driving a concept car as you can get. Mechanically it is a twin to the Pontiac Solstice that hit the floor of the 2002 Detroit auto show to a swell of public interest that flattered GM but also forced it to try and put it into production. By superhuman effort, GM bucked the naysayers bringing this car to market in just two and a half years. They did it despite not even having a chassis and not being afraid to bring out a simple roadster at a time when other makers had rejected the idea as not being viable.

Rather than Chevy getting its own version of the Solstice, the car was seen as perfect for setting the tone for the new-look Saturn that was then in the works.

From any angle, the Sky is a knockout and virtually indistinguishable from the concept Sky shown in Detroit a year after Solstice. But the styling is more purposeful. It's more angular that the Solstice with a touch of the edgy lines that has worked so well at Cadillac.

Everywhere you go in this car, you get the thumbs up, and not just from kids on the street, but also from a very elegant woman in a white Escalade. When I dropped into the local Saturn dealer to check a few facts, the Sky emptied the showroom of staff. When you impress the people who have to sell the car, you know it's a winner.

Like the Solstice, the Sky is based on the GM Kappa world platform and is strictly front-engine, rear-drive. The only engine currently available is the 2.4-litre, twincam, Ecotec four-cylinder producing 177 hp and 166 lb/ft of torque through a standard five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission as was fitted to my test car. It is a punchy unit with very usable torque. While premium fuel is recommended, it is not required.

There is a five-speed automatic due in the next model year as well as a 260 hp turbocharged "Redline" model coming in the fall.

The Ferrari-red Sky (Saturn calls it Chili Pepper Red) I was driving was the first one GM has made available in Canada for test drives. Like the Solstice, the Sky has nearly perfect 50:50 weight balance and the crux is right below the seat. With the rigid hydroformed chassis and curb weight around 1,300 kg, where the driver sits is at the fulcrum, so turning is light, swift and sure. In short, it is a delight to drive, but because you sit so low and the concept-car inspired front and rear fenders are so high, parking in tight places requires extra care.

Being a concept car made available to the masses, means there are some drawbacks, the trunk being the main one. Concept cars are meant for visual impact and are never driven more than 30 metres onto a show stand. Ergo, air conditioning, comfortable seating and trunk space are generally not an issue.

I can't imagine the hoops GM engineers had to go through to make this "streetable" let alone meet all safety standards for crash and cabin safety.

One of the casualties in this was the gas tank that had to be positioned in the trunk. With the cloth top stowed below the rear deck panel, there is some room for the odd bag of groceries but a cooler or golf bag are out of the question.

Other compromises are two cupholders that pop out of a panel behind the seats that are hard to reach back to access as is the little cubbie that acts as an oddments storage space.

With all-independent suspension and very attractive 18-inch chrome wheels, the Sky has a nice balance that seemed a tad softer then the Solstice I drove last year. As noted it is pretty roomy on the inside once you get seated, but trying to get in with the top up takes considerable genuflexing.

The base price for the Sky is $31,665 and was $36,975 as tested. That's more than the Solstice but the Sky also includes standard features like power locks/windows/keyless entry, ABS, OnStar and air conditioning that are optional on the Solstice. Options on the Sky as tested included: rear spoiler ($325), automatic transmission ($1,250), premium trim package ($1,520) with leather seating, the chrome wheels ($950), the seven-speaker Monsoon sound system that is a bargain at $185 along with the $755 six-disc CD changer I could live without and ditto for the $325 XM Radio that does include three months of free service.

On balance, the deficiencies necessitated by the stunning design are easily outweighed by the fun of driving this car coupled with the very attractive price.

And when it comes to changing hearts and minds about Saturn and GM - and impressing the neighbours - the Sky is already a smashing success.

Body Style:
Two-seat roadster.

Drive Method:
front-engine, read-wheel-drive.

Engine:
2.4-litre DOHC inline four-cylinder
(177 hp, 166 lb/ft).

Fuel Economy:
US EPA numbers (converted to Metric) five-speed manual 11.3L/100 km city, 8.1L/100 km highway; four-speed automatic, 10.3L/100 km city, 8.7L/100 km highway.

Price: CAD$31,665, as tested CAD$36,975.
Website: gmcanada.com

http://www.mississauganews.com/mi/wheels/story/3521467p-4069140c.html
 

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He may have driven the SKY but it seems all his information is coming from previously written text. He didn't try to put anything in the trunk himself thats for sure. We have pictures here on the forum of all the various things that have been stored in the back.

Mark 1000Th Post
 

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look at the price of the car :confused: that should say something about this post!!:willy: :willy:
 

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LiveWire said:
look at the price of the car :confused: that should say something about this post!!:willy: :willy:
Canadian Dollars
 

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LiveWire said:
look at the price of the car :confused: that should say something about this post!!:willy: :willy:
Well even that he says he got from GMCanada.com

Price: CAD$31,665, as tested CAD$36,975.
Website: gmcanada.com
 
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