The Saturn Sky is a cute, two-seat roadster that has sports-car looks and sports-car handling. The standard 177-horsepower engine, however, provides modest performance.
For those who want a swift kick in the seat of the pants when they squeeze the Sky's throttle, the turbocharged Red Line is just the ticket.
The Red Line's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine produces 260 horses with the turbo, and that's enough to give the Sky sports-car performance. This engine is GM's first to have direct-injection that is more efficient than normal fuel injection.
At normal speeds, the Sky Red Line drives much like the regular model. Mash the throttle, however, and the turbo's extra boost provides a satisfying lunge. The test car had a five-speed manual transmission, but closer ratios would give the car a livelier feel.
The standard Sky starts at $24,195, and the Red Line begins at $27,295.
The Sky's main competitors include the Mazda MX-5, formerly called the Miata, and the Pontiac Solstice. The Solstice is basically the same car under the skin. The Sky is slightly larger than the Mazda, and it feels less nimble, due in part to the 2,990-pound curb weight.
Visually, the Sky is a grabber. The sharply creased body looks muscular. The manual convertible top folds under the clamshell trunk lid, and that means you have to get out of the car to put the top down. Trunk space is minuscule, even with the top up. Opening the trunk when the top was covered with ice was nearly impossible because the top's side panels have to be unlatched before the trunk can be opened.
A convertible sports car needs a solid chassis to deliver on its promise of outstanding handling. To that end, Saturn developed an entirely new chassis made from hydroformed frame rails that run the full length of the car. The hydroformed rails are joined to stamped steel sections and a reinforced center tunnel. The Sky feels tight and free from frame flexing.
The Sky has a nearly ideal 50/50 weight distribution. Eighteen-inch wheels fill the fenders and contribute to good cornering. The combination of performance tires and rear-wheel drive made the Sky a handful, even with traction control, in our recent snowstorm.
The cockpit-style interior is definitely small. The gearshift sits high on the center tunnel. Big, bold gauges are a bit like those from a motorcycle. The pedals are placed for easy heel-and-toe driving. The Sky's instrument panel, with its piano black center section, looks more sophisticated than that of the Solstice.
The Sky is part of a new-product influx at Saturn. Its fun character and sharp looks point the way for future models.
The base price of the test car was $27,295. Options included chrome-plated wheels, leather seat inserts, decklid spoiler, XM satellite radio and premium paint. The sticker price was $30,174.
Three years or 36,000 miles with a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||June 20, 2006|
|Cars.com Staff||Cars.com National||June 29, 2005|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||March 4, 2007|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||December 15, 2006|
|Mark Glover||The Sacramento Bee||September 22, 2006|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||August 5, 2006|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||August 2, 2006|
|G. Chambers Williams III||Star-Telegram.com||July 5, 2006|
|Steven Cole Smith||Orlando Sentinel||June 15, 2006|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||June 4, 2006|
|Anita Lienert||The Detroit Newspapers||May 31, 2006|
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