Goodbye Neon :( , Hello Ion :)

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, due to many factors, mainly mechanic incompetence and dealership jerkishness, I had to get rid of my '02 Neon, it served me well for five years, it never gave me a second of trouble until recently, a phantom creaking/groaning/clunking noise came from the front end during suspension flex or when turning the steering wheel

basically, the recent problems with my car were documented in my “I Hate my car” thread elsewhere here in MPSIMS, so I won’t go into too much depth here

yes the Neon wasn’t known for reliability (mine was just fine though, at least until recently), and yes it had a little over 96K on it, all original miles, but it was paid off, it was mine, I was reveling in the glow of no-car-payment nirvana…

…until last week, when it became clear that the car would need major repairs, totalling a little over $1700, repairs that needed to be done quickly, as the car was actually becoming unsafe, I was torn, do i suck up the repair cost to keep myself out of payments, or replace the car?

well, I shopped around, the Toyota dealership had a nice used '05 Scion xB, but the interest on the loan wasn’t acceptable to me, and i’m not financing a vehicle with 48K on the odo for six years, even if it IS a Toyota, just not logical

besides, the Toyota salesman and manager were jerks, high-pressuring me, and even insulting me today when i told them i purchased a different vehicle…

anyway, back on track, last night, I stopped at the local Saturn dealer and test drove a red '07 Ion 2 with 5 speed manual, as I was considering a used '03 Ion at a local used car dealer, I wanted to see how the Ion felt

suffice it to say, I liked it, really liked it, and the payments were right, but it was almost closing time for them and I needed to think about it overnight…

so after a quick call to my new mechanic this morning to get a second opinion on the Neon (his advice, “get rid of it”), I decided to take the chance, and fill out a credit app on the Saturn website

I’m now the proud owner (well, financer, to be honest) of a brand new (35 miles on the odo at time of delivery) '07 Ion 2, with front and side airbags, antilock brakes, 5 speed manual, air conditioning, a nice CD stereo with iPod line-in jack, OnStar and hands-free cellphone, for $0 down, and 0% financing, admittedly yes the loan is for 72 months, but at 0% interest, who cares, i’m just paying for the car, and with payments of $209/mo, I really can’t argue, that’s almost $20 less than i was paying when i was financing the Neon AND paying 7.5% interest on the loan…

I do still miss my Neon, the darn thing was just so much fun to drive, but sinking almost $2K into a car with almost 100K on the odo wouldn’t be very logical

the Ion is almost as fun to drive as the Neon, it has more horsepower and torque (145HP/150TQ) yet it supposedly gets the same mileage as the Neon (mid 30’s), the only annoyances I have with it so far is that the electric-assist steering is rather numb, it’s hard to feel the road, and I like to feel what my car is doing through the steering wheel, and the stupid traction control needs to be turned off every time i start the car, I’m not a fan of nanny/helper devices in my car, wonder if the Ion’s computer can be reprogrammed to have the traction control set to off by default, it would be handy in winter on snowy roads, but it’s more than useless during spring/summer/fall days with dry conditions

acceleration is quite peppy for a 2.2L Four, and the engine is nearly silent at idle, and aside from the numb steering, it handles, corners and switches lanes with aplomb, it feels more like a sports car than an econobox

one thing I wonder though, why are Saturns more reliable then other GM cars, i mean the Ion is a Delta platform vehicle, similar to the Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5, but you really only hear about Saturns getting high 100K/200K/300K on the odo, why are Saturns more reliable when they’re basically just a Cobalt with polymer body panels?

I’ve got high hopes for this one, I’m hoping to roll 200K+ on it

Goodbye, Neon, I miss you already, you died before your time, CURSE YOU, VERMONT, curse you and your heavily-salted winter roads for claiming an otherwise good little car

and a SCREW YOU to Sullivan Tire in Portsmouth, NH for not advising me of the rust and tie rod problems when you had the car up on the lift numerous times for lubes and tire rotations, you had every opportunity to alert me to the problems festering deep within the suspension and frame components, yet you did not, I lay the blame for the Neon’s untimely demise squarely on your shoulders, you have lost a customer that has had all his cars “maintaned” there, I’ve used you ever since the days of my first “car” a '88 ford crapscort pony, that ends today

and another SCREW YOU Dick Bournival Dodge in York, Maine, for not doing the right thing and even helping with the repair cost, your sticking to the party line of “rust warranty ended in April” has cost you a dedicated customer

and a HEARTY SCREW YOU WITHA RUSTY SUBFRAME to Dalmher/Chrysler (not sure if that’s spelled right, and by now I don’t even care) for sticking to your hardline “expired rust perforation” warranty angle, all I was asking for was a little assistance with the repair, oh well, if you’re willing to lose a customer over this, so be it

and finally a major THANK YOU to Saturn of Portsmouth, NH for knowing what the term “customer-focused” and “Customer satisfaction” really mean, you have gained a dedicated customer, thank you :slight_smile:


I have a 2002 Dodge Neon with 105,000 miles on it and I really like it. Considering my pee-poor maintenance program, I have had little trouble with it (except the timing belt it threw a month ago). The previous car was a '97 Plymouth Neon and it lasted well over 100,000 miles and it was fun to drive. I will miss this one when its time comes.

My 1995 Ford Aspire (as in “it aspires to be a real car, ha ha”) is about 500 miles short of 200K. Mileage is still around 47 mpg, runs like a top. It cost about $9,000 back when we bought it. We hit a deer and drove over over its body this summer, and I thought for sure the car was done for, but we only broke the front license plate cover. (The 1994 Aspire I had before this one was totaled when a Jeep pulled out in front of me; I estimate that I was going about 40 mph on impact (almost no time to brake), and I got a small cut on my hand. Crash test passed!)

I shake my head at all the new car ads out there bragging about having 28 or 30 mpg, and I’m not looking forward to the sad day when we have to go car shopping. (Our other vehicle is close to 250K, so the day is coming . . .) I fear I’ll be sorely disappointed.

I hope you enjoy your Ion. I have a ten-year-old SL2 that has served me very well. I’m at 104,000 and climbing. My plan is to keep this car as long as I possibly can. Considering that in the past two months I’ve driven it (as of today) entirely across the US with not a hint of a problem, I’m thrilled. (I moved from Maryland to Idaho almost two months ago, and am now visiting family in the Seattle area, it didn’t take me two months to get across.) I love my car!

I had an SL2 also and was very happy with it. When I bought it, a similarly-equipped Honda of the same vintage and mileage was nearly $5,000 more than what I paid for the Saturn. The only reason I traded it in was because I needed a vehicle that had more cargo capacity.

Agreed, it’s rather silly, to me, that mileage is marginal at best, nothing worth bragging about

now that I have a tachometer, I’m going to do my best to break the upper 35 MPG barrier in the Ion, i’m sure it can be done, if I keep the revs around 1K to 1.5K and do a good amount of coasting down hills, it might just work, it’ll be boring but it should work

I just realized something, the Ion can actually help me save a little money, since it has OnStar, I don’t need to renew my AAA coverage, and since it has a hands-free phone, I don’t need my cellphone anymore, I can cancel my Verizon cell phone account and save about $45/mo

I HATE phones, and I only use my cell for emergencies, the phone in the Ion is better, no it can’t play Tetris or anything like that, but it’s there when I need it, fully charged, and with a strong signal, and since I can buy minutes as needed that last for one calender year from date of purchase, i won’t be paying $45/mo for a phone that’s never used, i mean, in the past 3 months, i’ve used my Verizon cell phone maybe twice, for about a 3 minute call each time

I hate phones, so the cell phone built into OnStar fits my needs just fine

the only thing that unnerves me about OnStar is the fact that “Big Brother Is Watching”, part of me wants to just disable the OnStar system so I can’t be “tracked”, or at least find a way to turn it off when I don’t need it, so I can at least be partially untraceable

If you used your cell more, you can add a line to your Verizon account and not have to purchase minutes to use your hands-free Onstar phone. But if you don’t use it that much, it makes sense to do what you said. The Onstar system is not “on” unless you push the button and initate a call to them, or your airbags go off. They don’t have time to care where you are. :wink:

Good for you! As I stated in your other thread, I worked for Saturn for many years and I think that overall they are great cars. I wish that an Ion would have worked for me, but it just didn’t have enough cargo room.

Saturns aren’t necessarily more reliable than the others. It’s just that the Saturn branch of GM tends to have a higher commitment to customer satisfaction than any of the other branches. Seriously, I worked in the Service department and it would amaze me to head over to our sister store that sold Chevrolets and see how poorly they treated their customers and got away with it!

Something that you might want to keep in mind if you plan to keep this car long term is that performing the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance is very important for several reasons. 1) For the well being of your car. 2) If at some point in the future you’d like to have help from Saturn after your car is out of warranty they will heavily consider whether or not maintenance was performed and whether or not it was performed at a Saturn retailer. They like to call this being a good partner. Just FYI.

Why do you have to turn the traction control off every time you wanna drive?

Considering that I’ve never heard of a 1995 Aspire getting more than 30 MPG, I’d say you should call Ford. They’ll do a commercial about you. (The U.S. Department of Energy says 25 MPG city, 31 MPG highway, 28 MPG combined.)