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.


definitely annoying
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 cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #1

Nov 182014

Ion 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,180 miles


The fricken light keeps coming on every time I start the car and remains on and I have antifreeze filled in there right where it is suppose to be so I don't understand why it keeps coming on? I don't know what to expect other that it's making me afraid to even want to drive this car that I just bought and spent my last dime. I mean, what do I do? I am a single disabled person as it is! With all the problems that I am coming across I think the manufacturer should buy this car back !!!

AND WAIT!!! It just keeps getting better, stay tuned for my next complaint, which is really gonna kill you.....UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

- , antioch, CA, USA

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