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
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
119,180 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Saturn Ion accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #1

Nov 182014

Ion 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,180 miles


I LOCK ALL the doors everytime I get out of the car and have to do them by hand because one minute the electric button will work and the next it doesn't, though you do hear the clicking sound as if they are opening or closing.. The problem is that when I come back to the car ALL THE DOORS ARE UNLOCKED!!

At first I thought I was crazy because I was showing my friend something and we were standing outside my car after locking the doors. About 15 min. later when I heard a click, click and asked my friend w/" what was that ? She said her purse tapped against the car, I thought nah, but we went on and left in her car. ANYWAY, when she dropped me off about an hour later I have to pass my car when walking to my apartment door and when doing so there it was again "click, click". I kept walking and said "NO-WAY", I know I'm not hearing things & went back to check the doors and sure enough they are all unlocked, sh*t is really starting to freak me out at this point.. SO I look around thinking "is somebody screwing with me?"

SO I LOCK THE DOORS again and I check each one before walking away. OKAY, they are locked. I wait about 15-20 min., got back outside to check, KOOL they are still locked! Morning comes, I go to my car and BAM, the doors are all unlocked again.... So THERE IS ELECTRICAL CURRENT OPERATING ON It's OWN!!! AND, YOU CAN ACTUALLY HEAR THE DOORS LOCKING AND UNLOCKING ON THEIR OWN!!.......... The thing is I don't know how much time in between each time that the next click will happen...BUT it's really CREEPING ME OUT!

In case of a accident " HELL ", I don't know what to expect ??? Will the doors LOCK UP ON ME, IF and WHEN I NEED TO GET OUT ??? PREVENTING ME from BAILING out??? REGARDING "" MY LIFE ""in case of an EMERGENCY""!!!!" Makes a person " STOP and think, WHAT ELSE? " ..... What other ELECTRICAL WIRING " is attached " to the " ELECTRIC DOOR LOCKS?? ...." ANYTHING," can go wrong !,....... THE car could shut down!............. the lights could malfunction!,...............Wiring could catch fire, !.......HOW MANY DEFECTS , HOW MANY COMPLAINTS can come from just " ONE " little car???.........The SAME KIND of CAR, that has been TAKING PEOPLES LIVES!!!!............. HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE have to DIE ?, before THEY take this MORE serious?? I PRAY that i Don't end up added to their count ? ........ Added to the number of " PEOPLE whom have ALL-READY DIED ".

- , antioch, CA, USA

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