2006 Saturn Ion review and pictures

Posted on Monday, 21 August 2006 , 16:08:29 byEmil

Filed under Saturn

Saturn Ion

The 2006 Saturn Ion became a more powerful player in the small car segment featuring a 2.4-liter Ecotec inline 4-cylinder engine capable of developing 170 horsepower and 224 Nm of torque. The model is available in five models: the Ion 2 and Ion 3 sedans and quad coupes. It delivers incredible levels of performance, refinement, comfort and safety. The Enhanced Performance Package also includes modifications to the suspension to provide the more nimble handling that sport-oriented drivers enjoy. The output is being sent to the wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission with smooth shifting and quiet operations. Like all Saturn models, the Ion was designed with an emphasis on safety and security.

With new enhancements that include an available 170-horsepower (127 kw) engine, the 2006 Saturn Ion becomes an even more powerful player in the small car segment. And thanks to OnStar, now standard on all models, the Ion continues to demonstrate Saturn?s commitment to provide excellent customer care with continuous safety.

The Saturn Ion is available in five models: the Ion 2 and Ion 3 sedans and quad coupes, as well as the performance-oriented Ion Red Line. The Ion 1 sedan has been discontinued for 2006. With the new changes, Saturn Ion delivers an even greater level of performance, refinement, comfort and safety.

Plenty of power options on sedans and quad coupes

New for ?06 is an available 2.4L Ecotec inline four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing (VVT) that delivers an excellent combination of power and fuel economy. This engine, available on the Ion 3 with the Enhanced Performance Package, delivers an impressive 170 horsepower (127 kw) and 162 lb.-ft. (224 Nm) of torque.

The Enhanced Performance Package also includes modifications to the suspension to provide the more nimble handling that sport-oriented drivers enjoy. Valves that control the flow of hydraulic fluid within the suspension struts are modified to provide more resistance, and the stabilizer bar diameter is increased.

All Ion engines are from GM?s Ecotec family. Each has distinct performance and hardware differences, but all share a basic all-aluminum architecture and construction that includes:

* Dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per cylinder
* Twin counter-rotating balance shafts
* Low-friction, roller-finger follower valvetrain with hydraulic lash adjusters
* Zero-maintenance chain camshaft drive
* Extremely compact dimensions and low mass
* Direct mounting of all accessories to the engine structure to eliminate common sources of noise, vibration and harshness
* Full circle transmission attachment is more rigid than most 4-cylinder powertrains for reduced noise and vibration
* Oil Life Monitoring System for optimum oil change frequency
* No routine maintenance apart from oil/oil filter changes
* Catalyst located close to the exhaust manifold to speed catalyst ?light-off? and reduce hydrocarbon emissions

The standard Ecotec 2.2L inline four-cylinder engine generates more standard horsepower (140 hp/104 kw) than primary competitors and strong low-end torque for excellent launch feel and passing performance. California models with the 2.2L engine are SULEV-compliant.

The Ion?s standard transmission is a five-speed manual, with smooth shifting and quiet operation. This transmission injects a sporty, European feel to the Ion?s driving experience.

The optional Hydra-Matic 4T45-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission offers reliable operation with seamless shifts. The 4T45-E uses Dexron III fluid and is ?filled for life,? meaning there is no scheduled maintenance required for the transmission under normal operating conditions.

All Ions can be flat-towed ? pulled behind another vehicle without the need for a special dolly ? making Ion an ideal choice for RV owners.

Comfort and convenience

Inside the 2006 Ion, the most apparent change is a redesigned center console/center stack that provides additional inboard knee and leg clearance with enhanced fits and appearance. The new design provides additional storage above the radio for storing sunglasses, mobile phones, spare change or other small items.

New fabric in the Ion 3 interior, as well as new inserts in the Ion Red Line?s Recaro seats, enhance the overall interior appearance. An available leather trim package (Ion 3) offers additional refinement with leather-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

The Ion interior continues to feature a distinctive center-mounted instrument cluster. On the same horizontal sight line as the side-view mirrors, the center-mounted design also allows the driver to set the steering wheel in the most comfortable position without needing an adjustment to see the instrument readings.

The quad coupe continues to offer dual rear-access doors. Combined with a front-passenger fold-flat seat (Ion 2 and Ion 3 models), the wide-opening rear-access doors help maximize the usefulness of the interior space by making it easy to load and unload passengers and cargo, even large objects that wouldn?t typically fit in a compact car.

Sound decisions

Ion offers a variety of audio choices to make the trip more enjoyable. An AM/FM stereo with CD player is standard on Ion 2, and Ion 3 and Red Line models also add standard MP3 capability.

A new family of radios provides an upscale appearance with flush design and chrome accents. All sound systems include an input jack to accommodate portable audio players, and a new digital signal processor provides improved sound quality. Uplevel radios now offer speed-compensated volume, up to 36 station presets (can mix AM/FM/XM together), MP3 folder and playlist access and a Music Navigator feature that allows sorting of MP3s by artist or album.

An AM/FM stereo with six-disc in-dash CD and MP3 player and speed-compensated volume are available on all models, along with the Saturn Advanced Audio System, which consists of six premium speakers and a 160-watt amplifier. XM Satellite Radio (continental U.S. only) is available and features more than 120 coast-to-coast, digital-quality channels of original commercial-free music and premier news, sports and talk as well as advanced traffic and weather information for select major metropolitan areas nationwide. Consumers can subscribe to the basic service for $12.99 a month. In addition, GM customers with GMAC financing can choose to include the XM subscription in their car payments .

A new, combined XM/OnStar antenna declutters the vehicle by eliminating the need for two separate antennas on the vehicle.

Safety and security

Like all Saturns, the Ion was designed with an emphasis on safety and security. OnStar Dual-mode (analog-digital) equipment is now standard on all Ion models. OnStar?s digital equipment also includes enhanced hands-free voice recognition capabilities including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada . Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and OnStar Hands-Free Calling that allows drivers to make and receive voice-activated phone calls using an externally mounted antenna for greater reception.

Also new for 2006 on all Ions (except the Red Line) is GM?s Passenger Sensing System. If the system detects an unoccupied front passenger seat or the presence of a smaller occupant, the front passenger air bag is designed to automatically turn off so it will not deploy in the event of a frontal collision. A status indicator on the instrument panel alerts occupants that the passenger air bag is on or off. Even with this system, Saturn strongly recommends restraining child passengers in an appropriate child seat placed in the second or third row of the vehicle. Never install a rear-facing infant seat in front of an active air bag. Saturn also recommends that all children age 12 and under ride in the rear seat when possible.

Built-in crashworthiness features include the vehicle?s structural design, with a steel spaceframe that helps absorb the energy of a crash while protecting the integrity of the passenger compartment.

Dual-stage frontal air bags are standard, and head curtain side air bags ? which help protect both front and rear occupants ? are available. The Ion sedan and quad coupe offer an optional anti-lock braking system and traction control across all non-Red Line models.

Ion also comes with a factory-installed anti-theft system with remote keyless entry, standard on Ion 3 and optional on Ion 2. An engine immobilizer is standard on every Ion, which reduces the risk of vehicle theft by shutting off fuel to the engine if the correct ignition key isn?t used.

Exterior enhancements

2006 Ion models feature redesigned wheel packages that offer fresh styling and contribute to the overall appeal of the entire lineup. Sixteen-inch, six-spoke machined alloy wheels are standard on the Ion 3. Sixteen-inch painted alloy wheels are optional on the Ion 2. Fifteen-inch steel wheels with restyled covers are standard on the Ion 2.

New exterior colors for 2006 are Cypress Green and Golden Cashmere, replacing Dragonfly Green and Golden Wheat (Ion 2 / Ion 3 sedans); Fusion Orange (quad coupe); and Laser Blue (specialty color available mid-year).