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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,667 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Saturn Ion Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 012010

Ion 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


I need help, I have a 2003 Saturn Ion, the front end is broke. It swerves all over the road. They recalled many and know what the problem is. Mine they will not fix and I can't afford to pay for it. It's very unsafe and they recalled several models for the same problem and won't fix mine. The warranty just expired and I get no response from any Agency. I just bought this car a few years ago and they know its a factory problem and they won't fix my car. Please help, I'm just a hard working guy trying to support his family. My wife is disabled and I struggle to get by and I can't get any help from the car company. Updated 01/28/11

- Coarsegold, CA, USA

problem #2

Aug 232010


  • 60,000 miles
The car wont start and I changed the battery and had the alternator tested and starter both passed I attempt to start the car the ignition switch clicks then stalls, security system kicks in reads "service engine soon" after about 20minutes the car starts, hear rattling noise in front suspension this is happening all the time for the past year since I bought the car.

- Turlock, CA, USA

problem #1

Aug 272003


  • miles
While driving at 50 mph, the steering wheel drifted to the left and was not turning smoothly, it was hard to handle the wheel. The dealer inspected the vehicle, and could not correct the problem. The vehicle was found mis-aligned and was repaired.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

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