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2004 Saturn Ion Red Line Quad Coupe Road Test

A Factory-Built Saturn Tuner Car?

Every year car manufacturers seem to tune out an already popular selling vehicle. For example, this year Toyota introduced

I see so few ION Quad Coupes as it is, so when the Red Line came out I was curious and confused at the same time. (Photo: Alexandra Straub, Canadian Auto Press)
the Celica GT-S Tsunami edition and Corolla XR-S. In 2003, Mazda offered up the MazdaSpeed Protegé, while in 2002 Honda brought out the Civic SiR, and the list goes on.

But the Saturn ION Red Line in 2004? It's an interesting thought. First of all it's not everyday that I see an ION Quad Coupe on the road. In fact, I rarely see them at all. So when the Red Line came out, I was curious and confused at the same time. Curious because I wanted to see how it compared with other factory-tuned compacts, and confused because the ION isn't exactly the sportiest pieces of

I can't say I was expecting much from this domestic auto manufacturer's rendition of a tuner car. (Photo: Alexandra Straub, Canadian Auto Press)
machinery on the automotive market. In other words, it's an odd choice to upgrade.

Odd or not, it's all Saturn has to work with in the compact coupe/sedan segment and in its attempt to make the car more popular the decision is probably a good idea. Just the same, I can't say I was expecting much from this domestic auto manufacturer's rendition of a tuner car, which is no doubt why I was surprised at its spirited performance.

I must confess, though, that after a couple of days behind the wheel I shifted my view of the sportiest ION, from seeing it as an American-made tuner car to little more than an ION with an optional powertrain and a couple of aesthetic add-ons.