10 Things That Made The Saturn Ion RedLine Stand Out - SUV VEHICLE

10 Things That Made The Saturn Ion RedLine Stand Out

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Saturn is a less well-known and talked about car brand that, unfortunately, is no longer with us. As a lesser talked about subsidiary company of General Motors, they still managed to release 25 years worth of great cars, such as the Saturn Sky, the S-Series Coupe, and the one we are going to take a closer look at, the Saturn Ion RedLine.




Famed for a short life, sporty specs, a very impressive record to its name, and bags of retro coolness, the Ion RedLine is part of a line of sports coupes that not only offer great performance specs, but also the practicality of an everyday car. Today, it also offers you a chance to own a unique performance-based sports compact coupe at a relatively low price.

We have gathered information from multiple sources to bring you a list of 10 reasons why the Saturn Ion RedLine stands out as a sports coupe from the mid-2000s. Information includes the Saturn Ion RedLine’s history, what they are worth today, why the Saturn Ion RedLine is unique, and some interesting facts about the uniqueness of this long-missed and forgotten sports compact.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from General Motors and other authoritative sources, including Classic.com, NHTSA, Fuel Economy.org, Winnipeg Free Press, The FIA, Car Survey.org, and Hot Cars.


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10 Only Four Saturn Ion RedLine Model Years Were Produced

2004 to 2007 For The RedLine

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe interior Showing seats, steering wheel, and gear shifter
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The Saturn Ion RedLine was a very short-lived model of the regular Saturn Ion coupe before being dropped for another model that Saturn was working on. In fact, there are only four model years, which may be why there aren’t many available now, but we will cover that further. If rarity is what you are looking for when buying a classic car, then the RedLine may be worth taking a chance on.

Saturn Ion RedLine Model Years

  • 2004 Saturn Ion RedLine
  • 2005 Saturn Ion RedLine
  • 2006 Saturn Ion RedLine
  • 2007 Saturn Ion RedLine


The RedLine is the first year to feature the GM Delta platform. Because it was based on the Saturn Ion couple, it does share a lot of the interior and exterior features that the regular Saturn Ion boasts. The main difference between the coupe and the sports compact is the powertrain and suspension setup. Again, we will cover this later on.

9 A Limited Number Of Saturn Ion RedLines Were Made

Only A Few Have Been Sold Recently

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe steering wheel.
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If you want to buy a Saturn Ion RedLine, you’ll have to be quick. There is currently only one for sale online and in the last five years, only three have been sold. Due to the fact that there are only four model years of the Saturn Ion RedLine, a limited number were ever built.

The Saturn Ion RedLine Production Numbers

  • 2004: 2,626 built
  • 2005: 1,512 built
  • 2006: 1,135 built
  • 2007: 554 built


Obviously, the Saturn Ion RedLine is not as rare as the beautiful Ferrari 250 GTO, but considering that Saturn was a subsidiary company of GM and had a lot of funding and resources, the production numbers dropped every year from the start. This has been partly blamed on changing customer tastes in the mid-2000s, the popularity of the model compared to other General Motor creations, and because the U.S.A. was still recovering from the early-2000s recession, so less was being produced and bought around the nation.

8 The Saturn Ion RedLine Is A Cheap Classic Coupe

Average Used Price: $5,433

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe in silver front-end Showing wheels and hood
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If you are looking for a cheap classic car to own with a class and style of its own, the Saturn Ion RedLine could be worth looking at. It is a rare sports coupe to own and, according to Classic.com, the average used price for a Saturn Ion RedLine is only $5,433. As mentioned, not many Saturn Ion RedLines are sold, but according to data that Classic.com has released about the sales, the examples that can be bought come with a range of between 16,000 miles and 155,000 miles on the clock and are in relatively good condition for their age.

Saturn Ion RedLine Pricing Information

  • Highest price paid: $7,300
  • Lowest price paid: $4,000
  • Total dollar volume: $16,300

The more expensive examples have lower miles and have been kept as original as possible. But, if you are to buy one, according to owners who have left a review of the Saturn Ion RedLine on Car Survey.org, you can expect a high-quality and low-priced car with a very good reliability record.

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7 The Saturn Ion RedLine Is A Practical Performance Car

A Cozy And Comfortable Interior

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine coupe rear-end Showing spoiler, rear-doors, trunk, and rear-wheel
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As the RedLine model was created from the standard Saturn Ion coupe, a lot of the best and most practical features were used for the ‘sporty’ RedLine. Boasting a cargo capacity of 14.2 cubic feet, a short length of only 185 inches, and 42.2 inches of front legroom, the Saturn Ion RedLine is a reasonably practical car that can offer decent performance specs.

Saturn Ion RedLine Key Practical And Safety Features

Though you would expect the standard features mentioned to be included in a modern performance coupe, such as the 2024 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT63 S E, for a car that can be purchased for under $6,000 today and had an MRSP of $19,000 in 2007, the RedLine does offer comfort, in the form of well-padded Recaro seats and ample room, safety, and a unique style.


6 The Saturn Ion RedLine Sports A Unique Exterior Design

It Is A Quad Coupe

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe interior Showing suicide doors, rear and front seats
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The first thing you notice about a car is the exterior design, unless you can hear it way before you see it. Unfortunately for the RedLine, that is not the case, but what you do get is a unique and sporty-looking quad coupe that has some unique quirks to it.

Saturn Ion RedLine Key Exterior Features

  • Low and sporty look
  • Rear spoiler is standard
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Aerodynamic and cutting lines along the body and nose
  • Unique rounded rear-end
  • Rarely featured ‘scallop/suicide doors’


If there is one thing that really stands out about the Saturn Ion RedLine’s exterior design, it is the scallop doors. There are a handful of cars on our roads, such as the Mazda RX8, Rolls-Royce Phantom, and Lincoln Continental, that feature scallops or ‘suicide doors’, but unfortunately, they have lost popularity over the years because of safety concerns. Despite this, they do offer a unique feature that is not seen often and make for a real talking point to whoever sees your rear passengers gracefully, if not timidly, emerge from behind them.

5 The Saturn Ion RedLine Was Replaced By The Astra

Lots Of Coupe Lessons Were Learned From The RedLine

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe alloy
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2007 was the last year of production for the Saturn Ion RedLine and signified the end of the line for this sporty coupe. With the end of the RedLine, came another short-lived car for Saturn, the Saturn Astra (2008-2009). Unlike Opel, though, Saturn did not import any of the bodies of the Astra from Europe. Instead, they used what they had and only offered the Astra as a hatchback with a single powertrain option.


Ion RedLine Features That The Astra Uses

  • The GM Delta platform that features on the RedLine
  • Large cargo space
  • Family usability with lots of legroom and headroom
  • Relatively frugal engine

The Ion RedLine was also the last Saturn car to feature light-weight plastic body panels. They were then changed over to composite panels. Over the years, though the Astra had existed for a while before the Ion, the continuation of rugged design cues, and convenience features that are boasted on the Ion, blossomed and made the Astra one of the best family cars with some performance potential on the market.

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4 The RedLine Shares A Powertrain With A Powerful Chevy

A Powerful Engine For A Light Coupe

supercharged 2.0-liter inline-four featuring in 2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe engine
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The RedLine shares a supercharged DOHC engine with the sporty sedan, which is the Chevrolet Cobalt SS. Weighing a mediocre curb weight of 2,933 LBS, the RedLine does have the potential to be a fast car, especially with the upgrade packages fitted (we’ll go into this in a little though), and can produce some pretty impressive 0-60 MPH times. For the purists, the Saturn Ion RedLine also only boasts a 5-speed manual transmission.

Saturn Ion RedLine Stock Specifications

Engine

2.0-Liter Supercharged Inline-Four

Transmission

Five-Speed Manual

Horsepower

205 Horsepower

Torque

200 LB-FT

Driveline

Front-Wheel Drive

0-60 MPH

6.3 Seconds (estimated)

Top Speed

Unpublished


(Data was collected from General Motors)

The standard 2007 Saturn Ion’s powertrain can only muster up to 145 horsepower, so there is a noticeable difference between the Ion and the Ion RedLine. It seems that the more powerful engine is a hit with owners, with one owner on Car Survey.org scoring the car’s performance a very humbling 8 out of 10.

According to Fuel Economy.gov, the 2004 Saturn Ion RedLine can achieve a combined MPG rating of 23 MPG, so not really up to the gas-savvy standards of the plug-in hybrid with the longest driving range for 2024, but we are guessing if you are looking at buying an older performance-based car, that won’t be a problem.

3 A Competition Package Was Introduced in 2005

Upgraded Features Included With The Competition Package

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe rear-end Showing badge
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If the Saturn Ion RedLine isn’t enough of what you are looking for from an awesome mid-2000s sports compact, then you might be interested to hear that in 2005, Saturn released an optional competition package to bump up its driving credentials and exterior appearance. For a model of car that did not stick around for long, GM and Saturn released a lot of extras to ensure that customers who did get a Saturn Ion RedLine on the road, enjoyed every moment they had with it.

RedLine Competition Package Key Aspects

  • 17-inch gunmetal painted alloy rims
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Optional as an extra on top, projector-beam fog lamps

Compared to cars today, though you can get different trims for a lot of models, especially if you are looking at a pure performance car, the Saturn Ion RedLine was available with a lot of optional extras. Unfortunately, according to data that we have found, a RedLine with the competition package has not been sold recently.


2 Upgrades For The RedLine Were Introduced In 2006

More Power And More Racing Credentials

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe in silver Posing in front of offices
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On top of the optional performance package, Saturn also released two engine upgrade packs that could boost the power output, torque, and 0-60 MPH times. The Stage 1 and Stage 2 kits were available from $500 to $750 at the time. If you can find a used Saturn Ion RedLine with a Stage 1 or Stage 2 kit already fitted, you are bound to see some better performance specs than the ‘base’ trim.

Saturn Ion RedLine Engine And Performance Upgrades

  • The Stage 1 kit includes a recalibrated ECU to allow for higher horsepower and high-flow fuel injectors.
  • The Stage 2 kit includes everything that the Stage 1 kit includes, but also features a smaller drive-belt and pulley combination for the supercharger.


The Stage 1 upgrade boosts the horsepower output from the stock 205 horsepower to 236 horsepower and increases the torque to 205 LB-FT. The Stage 2 upgrade increases the horsepower again to 241 horsepower and increases the torque to 218 LB-FT. That is the same horsepower output as the 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI at a fraction of the cost and with a lot of mid-2000s charm!

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1 The Saturn Ion RedLine Was Used For A Land Speed Record

A Legendary Record Holder At The Bonneville Salt Flats In Utah

2004 Saturn Ion RedLine Coupe in silver Posing in front of offices
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You read that correctly, for a car that is long-forgotten by many, the Saturn Ion RedLine was actually a land-speed record holder. The record was successfully broken in 2003, as a special project before general release to the public, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the G/Blown Fuel Altered class. The altered RedLine was loaded up with methanol and achieved a staggering 212 MPH. Yes, that doesn’t sound a lot today, but, that is nearly 30 MPH quicker than the previous record holder in the same class from 2001.


How The Saturn Ion RedLine’s Record Compares To Others

  • Saturn Ion RedLine – 212 MPH
  • Current land speed record: 763 MPH
  • 1929 record by Henry Segrave in Golden Arrow: 231 MPH
  • 1935 record by Malcolm Campbell in Blue Bird: 301 MPH

Though the Saturn Ion RedLine did achieve a land speed record in its class, it is still way behind the likes of other record holders. Though to be fair, the Ion RedLine does boast a four-cylinder engine, not a jet engine. If you are looking to buy a Saturn Ion Redline, expect decent reliability, and some fairly impressive performance specs, don’t expect the world’s fastest production car though, and a car that is rarely seen on our roads that is bound to turn heads because of its unique qualities.

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