2003 Saturn Ion
CarComplaints.com Notes: The Saturn Ion was a compact bundle of hurt wrapped up in a cheap, plastic shell. With so many defective components and a safety rating that a bicycle would be ashamed of, it’s a blessing this car only lasted five model years.
The 2003 (and 2004) Ion was cursed with GM’s flawed attempt at a continuously variable transmission, known as the VTi. It had such a high failure rate that a class-action lawsuit was filed against GM, eventually prompting a settlement and a warranty extension. GM discontinued the VTi for the 2005 model year – surprise, surprise.
The 2003 Ion was also part of one of the largest and most controversial recalls of all-time. A defective ignition switch in millions of GM vehicles could accidentally turn the car off and disable important safety components like the power steering and airbags. The problem resulted in at least 13 deaths, but what made it worse was that GM knew about the issue for 10 years before doing anything about it.
So was the transmission warranty extended? Yeah. Was the ignition switch recalled? Eventually. Is this car safe to drive? Not really. Honestly, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Worst 2003 Ion engine Problems
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- won't start intermittently12
- completely died while driving1
- engine bucks almost stalls when shifting1
- engine knock1
- NHTSA: Engine And Engine Cooling33
- NHTSA: Vehicle Speed Control31
- NHTSA: Engine18
- NHTSA: Engine And Engine Cooling: Engine14
- NHTSA: Vehicle Speed Control: Accelerator Pedal4
- NHTSA: Engine And Engine Cooling: Engine: Gasoline: ...2
- NHTSA: Vehicle Speed Control: Cruise Control2
- NHTSA: Engine And Engine Cooling: Engine: Gasoline1
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Compare Saturn Ion Model Years
Curious how the 2003 Ion compares to other years?
Check out our Saturn Ion overview to see the most problematic years, worst problems and most recently reported complaints with the Ion.