"It was June 2006, and I was in sudden need of a new vehicle after wrecking my truck. I looked at what I needed from a vehicle, and found myself in a quandary.
For day to day runs, I needed something small, agile, and fuel efficient. But I have a tendency to take long road trips, and for that I needed a car with good handling, acceleration (For onramps and interstate lane changing) and I really needed some driver comfort.
I was flat broke, waiting for my insurance to clear up my pickup, (Total loss, paid off with nothing to spare) so I had no down payment. I wandered into the Saturn dealership, and fell in love with a Saturn III that had pulled a 5000 miles as the service departments customer loaner vehicle.
I managed to score some zero financing kind of love, and landed a car that suited my multi role needs. The Ion3 came fully loaded with all the creature comforts that make my 8 hour road possible, while sipping gas at a mere 28-30 mpg on my morning commutes. It turns on a dime, and handles very well at 70-80 MPH interstate speeds.
-Very agile handling, very tight turning radius for its size.
-Good MPG for its size.
-Lots of legroom for the front passengers.
-ONstar is very reassuring to have when I'm driving through the boonies where my cell has no bars.
-Scratch-resistent panels are amazing, I can't believe GM did away with them. My car looks outstanding for a two year old car with 50K miles racked up driving across the country and back. Paint on sheet steel looks good new, but the Ions' plastic panels are aging quite gracefully. No dents, no dings.
-Spacious engine bay. Its good to know that if I ever have to work on my car, I'll have plenty of space to do it in. The Air filter, oil filter, fuse panels, are all easily accessed. Not what I expected from a modern car at all.
-Great bad weather handling characteristics. I was out driving in Shreveport LA during hurricanes Katrina and Ike, I felt the car hydroplane, but I never lost control. Very forgiving in wet and bad weather.
-Poorly thought out interior design. The front cupholders interfere with the HVAC controls, the Console is too small to hold anything. The power adapter is under the E brake arm. mounting a change pail under the E-brake was a bad idea. The center console interferes with the rear legroom too much, taking up space. The rear power adapters are too low; They're vulnerable to FOD and spilled liquids. The rear seats lower, but the framing is built to where it doesn't really increase the space any. I have a long rifle case that I simply cannot fit in the trunk no matter what I do.
-Rear passengers have very little leg room. The backseats were made for small children and infant car seats. Full sized adults will not be happy in the backseat.
- The fuel receptacle is sunken in too deep into the body, the fuel door is too small. It can be a challenge to refuel the car at times.
-The car sways a little too much when maneuvering. It feels like someone should have fine tuned the suspension a little more.
-Very poor cargo carrier. Due to the oddly shaped trunk and persnickety fold down seats, plus the poorly thought out interior layout, this car cannot utilize its fully interior volume for loading boxes and cargo and such. If you pack a lot of luggage, you may want to invest in a roof rack."
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