Saturn Sky continues the legacy of storied two seat convertibles that should carry FTD emblems. They are just plain Fun To Drive.
These long-time automotive favorites go back to wire wheels, big round headlights and no doors. Their popularity rests with sporty handling, affordable price tags and manageable soft tops.
To that must be added the color yellow. Nothing says fun in the sun better than a yellow two-seater no matter what the vintage.
The test Saturn Sky came in "sunburst yellow." That was on a shape with a bold front end wider than the rest of the car. It is reminiscent of the Dodge Viper and Chevrolet Corvette, both yellow road monsters.
Beneath the yellow is a 2L four-cylinder engine with turbo charging and 260 horsepower. It's frosting on a yellow cake.
It's OK that the five-speed manual transmission kicks the Sky to 60 mph in a mere 6 seconds and change? Below 6 seconds takes a little more work but can be done.
That engine is up front driving rear wheels that helps to account for the sudden takeoff and the mastery of twisty roads. Front wheels do the steering and back ones provide the push--the natural order of things.
The tires attach to independent suspensions that promote good handling. Four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking tame the speed.
There's the Stabiltrak system vehicle stability control that dampens wild enthusiasm.
•Engines: 2L Turbo I-4
•Dimensions: 95.1" wheelbase; 157.1" length
•Base price: $28,425; As tested $31,029
•Fuel economy: 22/31 mpg
Getting into and out of the two-seater requires a lot of bending by the tall/wide driver. Once in, there's plenty of legroom. The five-speed manual transmission falls easily to hand and shifting is quick. For some reason, the turbo boost gauge is hidden amongst other data in the driver information center. The cupholders protrude into the unwary from the back of the console between the seats and from the center console itself.
The interior is rife with touches like stainless steel pedal covers and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The lined top unlatches easily from the windshield. It's not powered, so it's best to disembark to finish the job.
Saturn execs see the Sky as a new direction for the normally staid brand. "Saturn is introducing a bold new design and level or refinement with Sky. The Sky represents the future of the Saturn brand," says Jill Lajdziak, Saturn general manager.
"The vehicle's strong front end is the new face of Saturn with a pronounced fender peak and a bold, chrome bar that carries and integrated Saturn badge," says Ed Welburn, GM vice president for global design.
That means new Saturns will look more like the very stylish Sky. Left unanswered is just how much yellow comes with the new wave.