NHTSA — Latches/Locks/Linkages: Hood: Latch Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
12,667 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Saturn Ion accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #3

Oct 012004


  • Manual transmission
  • miles


2003 Ion has had blower fan, clutch switch, cylinder cable hood latch, brake light bulb, wiper module all replaced with in months apart from each other. The rotors were warped and the tail lamp failed.

- Lake Hopatcong, NJ, USA

problem #2

Jan 282004

(reported on)


  • 24,000 miles
Hood latch broke. This is the cable which enables consumer to open the hood from the inside.

- Florence, NJ, USA

problem #1

Jan 242004

Ion 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 14,000 miles
2003 Saturn Ion 1. during cold weather the passenger side window frosts. The controls are set for defrost, air on and blower medium high. Even with the blower on high there is very little air coming from the passenger side defrost outlet. A co-worker has a similar problem with his Ion. The dealer said the system is operating as designed. 2. the hood latch freezes and the hood canT be opened to add window washer fluid. Sometimes you can get the hood open but you canT relatch the hood completely without pushing the hood release handle down. A co-worker has a similar problem with his Ion. 3. some the edges on interior plastic parts on the are very sharp. The worst is the compartment door to the left driverS leg. This popped open and had a sharp rough edge. As I exited the car I cut my leg. I fixed this myself by filling the edge.

- Fairport, NY, USA

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