Hello, sunshine. The new 2007 Saturn Sky brings some welcome warmth and activity to the Saturn brand. This is the division's first convertible, and its impact on the otherwise dowdy Saturn lineup could be equated to having Maria Sharapova show up at a pick-up tennis match full of middle-aged and badly dressed men. Fun to drive and relatively easy on the wallet, the Sky's attractive shape will certainly turn a lot of bystanders' heads. For the starting price of approximately $23,000, the Sky provides a lot of value for the money.
Like its corporate cousin, the Pontiac Solstice, the Saturn Sky is a two-seat, rear-drive roadster with a manually operated convertible top. The two cars are built on the same chassis, which draws inspiration from the Chevrolet Corvette in that they utilize hydroformed longitudinal rails and are quite stiff. The Sky and Solstice also have very similar dimensions and curb weights and use the same powertrain. The Sky receives differentiation through its altered interior and exterior styling and some minor differences in equipment levels and suspension tuning.
Like the Solstice, the Sky can be a fun roadster to drive. Even the base model, with its big 18-inch wheels and tires, provides a high level of grip. The 2.4-liter engine, while not exactly a model of refinement, provides enough gusto to keep one's attention from waning. The turbocharged Saturn Sky Red Line, with its 260-horsepower engine and stiffer suspension tuning, is a major performance bargain; Saturn says it can do zero to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds.
The main downside to the 2007 Saturn Sky is a lack of refinement that permeates just about every aspect of the car. While the Sky is entertaining up to a certain point, more demanding drivers will be frustrated by its slow throttle response, numb steering and bland exhaust note. In addition, the trunk is more of a "trunkette," and the interior lacks storage space and proper ergonomics.
Choosing between the Sky and Solstice will come down mainly to your preference in styling, and availability at the dealership. Alternatively, one can check out the Mazda Miata, which was fully redesigned for the 2006 model year. The Miata is a little more expensive, but it boasts a higher level of quality and a more interactive driving experience. Overall, however, the Sky is certainly the most exciting product to come out since Saturn's inception and will no doubt please dedicated Saturn fans and others seeking a great-looking roadster with a relatively low price tag.
The 2007 Saturn Sky is a small two-seat convertible. There are two trim levels available: base and Red Line. Standard equipment highlights include 18-inch wheels, a manual cloth top with a glass rear window, automatic headlights, keyless entry, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, air-conditioning and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player. One can upgrade the audio system to a more powerful seven-speaker system that also has an MP3-compatible in-dash CD changer and the option for satellite radio. An optional Premium Trim package adds leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted audio controls, and a bit of flashy metallic trim for the sill plates and pedals. The Saturn Sky Red Line is similarly equipped but also has a special interior and exterior styling details, a sport-tuned suspension, performance tires and a standard limited-slip rear differential.
Though dainty roadsters aren't typically known for having roomy cabins, the 2007 Saturn Sky is better than most in terms of offering enough room for large occupants to stretch out. A wraparound dash and high door sills surround the driver like the cockpit of a fighter jet, and bolstered seats are comfortable and supportive. The transmission tunnel is unusually wide, though, which can put the squeeze on larger drivers, while eliminating any possibility of center storage space. The Sky's retractable top is also a bit fussy; lowering it requires the driver to turn a latch on the windshield, pop the rear deck lid with a button in the glovebox, then get out of the car and manually fold the top down into its well before slamming the rear deck closed. It's not difficult, but it is tedious compared to the MX-5's one-handed operation. We're also not fans of the Sky's trunk, which provides just 5.4 cubic feet of space with the top up.
Base Saturn Sky models come with a 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that develops 177 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque. The Sky Red Line has a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with direct injection. It's capable of 260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both cars send their power to the rear wheels through a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic.
When thrown into a corner, the Sky tends toward safe understeer unless provoked with the throttle. Most drivers will find the car's substantial lateral grip and quick steering enjoyable enough to make the Sky a fun and engaging canyon companion. Ride quality is quite acceptable for normal day-to-day use, and the Sky is a better highway cruiser than the Miata. The base 2.4-liter Ecotec engine, which is pretty much the same engine found in a multitude of GM economy-oriented products, is merely adequate in terms of acceleration and refinement. Thankfully, the Sky Red Line is a more serious performance companion thanks to its more powerful engine and stiffer suspension tuning. It's impressively quick in a straight line, but numb steering and an imprecise throttle prevent the driver from obtaining a true connection to the car when driving hard on curvy roads.
Antilock disc brakes are standard equipment. So is OnStar, GM's telematics system. Side airbags aren't offered, but stability control is standard on the Red Line trim.
The Saturn Sky, a two-seat roadster, is all-new for 2007.