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Saturn Sky 2007: The Weekly Driver Car Review

If there’s one sure thing about the Saturn Sky, it’s the new sports car’s attention-grabbing appearance. Passersby stopped me at traffic signals and asked questions. Restaurant patrons came to my table and inquired. Neighbors wanted to know about the Sky, and even friends who care little about cars were interested.

The Sky was introduced as the manufacturer’s first “high-performance” convertible sports car as a 2007 model although it was first available in the spring of 2006.

The two-seater, which shares its basic design with the Pontiac Solstice, is available in two options, the 177-horsepower base model and the 260-horsepower, turbocharged Red Line. Both models, like the Solstice, are rear-wheel drive and have 5-speed manual transmissions as standard equipment. (A 5-speed automatic is also available in both models.)

My weekly test drive was the base model, but it featured two option packages, including a premium leather trim package, automatic transmission and an upgraded sound system.

Like the Solstice, Honda S2000 and Mazda Miata, the Sky is at its best with its rag-top down. The vehicle’s exterior design, which some have compared to a Lotus, is sleek and handsome. The car’s standard 18-inch aluminum wheels are perfectly contoured under the body. The Sky simply looks fine maneuvering through city traffic or cruising down the highway.

The Sky has an affordable starting price at just slightly more than $23,000. But its attractive price comes at a “cost.” The convertible top, for example, is manual. And while it easily fits into the trunk, the two side flaps and the center trunk hood latch are difficult to properly secure. The “trunk is ajar” warning light repeatedly flashed during my test week.

(An area dealership technician explained that securing the top has been a regular problem for the Sky and he offered a technique to the finesse the top firmly into a secure position.)

The Sky has a few additional shortcomings. Consider:

* With the top down, there’s no trunk space; With the top up, the trunk compartment is nearly useless because of its odd convex design;

* The Saturn has  only a 13 gallon fuel capacity;

* Most gauges are adequately sized, with the exception of the very small (and difficult to see) gas gauge.

Still, considering its price point, the Sky does have a lot offer. Its steering and handling are superior. The two passengers sit low in vehicle, providing the oxymoron of being in a spacious cockpit. Acceleration is sufficient event with the base engine, but the car was slightly underpowered in some hilly scenarios.

The Sky has a sizable list of standard features — projector beam headlamps and foglamps, daytime running lamps, rear window defogger and remote keyless entry with an alarm. Smaller but nicely presented standard features include three stowable cupholders and a tire sealant and inflator kit.

My test vehicle also included a premium trim package (leather seats, leather steering wheel, steering wheel audio controls, etc.) at a $750 addition. The automatic transmission added another $850 and the XM satellite radio and three months of service added another $350. With the options total at just slightly more that $3,000 and the standard $575 destination charge, the Sky’s final prices approaches $27,000.

Saturn  has attracted a lot of attention with the Sky and it’s a fine-looking vehicle. But the Sky also well defines the adage of waiting for the second or third year of a new vehicle before making a purchase.

The Weekly Driver: 2007 Saturn Sky

Safety Features — Dual front side airbags.

Fuel Mileage (estimates) — 22 mpg (city),  26 mpg (highway).

Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; Roadside (24-hour) assistance program, 3 years/36,000 miles.

Base Price — $23,115.00

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