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Variance

The Revolution Revisited

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The Revolution Revisited

-Variance

April 14, 2006

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You may recall six months ago I wrote my article Saturn’s Revolution. In it, I waxed lyrical about Saturn’s latest products and thought they were they key to a complete Saturn turnaround. The three products as you know are the Sky, Aura, and Outlook. The thing of it is that back then, we didn’t know the Sky would have much more to offer, the Aura was still a concept and the Outlook hadn’t even been revealed to public eyes yet.

Fast-forward six months later to the New York International Auto Show...

The Sky with No Limit

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If you needed any more reason to lust after a Sky, I’d first smack you upside the head and kindly ask what the hell is wrong with you and if you were blind and/or stupid. Then I would direct your attention to the Saturn Sky Red Line.

The Sky RL improves upon the gorgeous standard Sky in power and (surprisingly) looks. It powered by the new direct-injected, turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec engine that’s used in the Sky’s platform-mate, the Solstice GXP. This gives it about 47% more horsepower and 56.5% more torque than the base car. The Red Line also has detail changes done to the body to make the Sky look meaner and better (something I didn’t think was humanly possible).

• The headlights are tinted.

• The front fascia side intakes have been revised.

• Dual exhaust outlets are added.

• Red Line badging appears on the rear and on the seats.

• Finally, there’s what really lets people know you own a turbo Sky: a “Turbo” badge on the rear.

What’s an S2000?

Saturn’s True Aura

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The Aura Concept looked very promising indeed. It had a sharp and aggressive design becoming of an Opel and a modern interior that looked to be one of the better ones in its class. As we all know, concepts are often different from production cars but the production Aura was to retain much of the concept’s looks. The actual result...?

Well, obviously some toning down has occurred: the fender flares and lower front fascia are a bit less bold, the wheels are different and the interior looks less sci-fi. However, the overall design inside and out is pretty much unchanged which is a good thing since the Aura looks pretty good. The Aura is to come in two trims, XE and the higher-level XR. Not surprisingly the XR is the more impressive of the two. It comes with a 252-hp 3.6L HF V6 engine and it paired with a new 6-speed automatic transmission which features paddle shifters on the wheel.

The Aura will be facing some very stiff competition. The new Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion are available now and are selling very well. Not to mention the new Nissan Altima (also shown in New York) and DCX family sedans the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring are just around the corner. The Aura will be in for a tough fight but I believe it will be able to hold its own.

The Brand’s Outlook Has Been Revealed

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Until recently, the look of the Saturn Outlook was (outside of a few spy shots and teaser photos) a big mystery. The mystery was solved April 12 when GM unveiled the entire Outlook to the world for the first time. The Outlook is the first production vehicle based on GM’s Lambda platform. The Outlook is a seven-passenger crossover available with FWD or AWD and is powered by the same 3.6L V6 and 6-speed transmission used in the Aura. In the Outlook, it provides more grunt: 267 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque in the XR (less 2hp and 3 lb-ft in the XE).

Admittedly, when I first saw the Outlook, I wasn’t blown away by its styling. It’s not that I don’t like it; I just was expecting something a little different. As I type this, the styling is growing on me but I’m still not as in awe as I was with the Buick Enclave concept. The interior, though, is very impressive in my opinion. It has a rich look to it that is pretty inviting. It should compete well against the likes of the Chrysler Pacifica and upcoming Mazda CX-9.

Now GM, will you please finally kill the Relay? We have something much better now.

My Prognosis

I can proudly say in can stand by my belief that I stated back in October: these new Saturns are going to lead to great things for the brand and General Motors. Saturn has never been in a better position to create some headaches for its competitors and there’s still more to come. There’s still the current Vue and Ion to take care of. If the PreVue concept is anything to go by, the future of the Vue looks very bright. As for the Ion, it’s future isn’t as clear but personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Saturn Astra in our future.

Saturn is quickly more and more becoming the GM brand to watch.

Edited by Variance

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Good article, it was short and to the point, which I like.

If only the Aura and Outlook featured the piano black finish I'd like them even more.

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As for the Ion, it’s future isn’t as clear but personally, I would be surprised to see a Saturn Astra in our future.

You would? Or did you mean wouldn't? Seems to me that they'd be stupid not to replace the Ion with the Astra, especially with the whole "future saturns will differ from their opel cousins by some emissions details only" stuff. Makes it clear that what we'll get will come from what they have, and not likely anything else.

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You would?  Or did you mean wouldn't?  Seems to me that they'd be stupid not to replace the Ion with the Astra, especially with the whole "future saturns will differ from their opel cousins by some emissions details only" stuff.  Makes it clear that what we'll get will come from what they have, and not likely anything else.

Sorry, supposed to be "wouldn't". I got to keep working on these damn typos. :banghead:

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Sorry, supposed to be "wouldn't". I got to keep working on these damn typos. :banghead:

well it doesnt seem like a premium brand needs a compact car...

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I'm not sure Saturn is quite convinced it can go premium, they're putting 17" steelies on the Aura base. Those are going to be a little heavy :-(.

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Acura RSX?

thats a sports car...

true true... i've been talking on the fast lane that either pontiac or saturn need a 3 series and a IS350 beater... so yes a small vehicle needs to be there... but, it must be done right

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Guest Josh

The Sky RL makes me want to ditch the xB, go out and get a car loan.  Sex on wheels.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The xB should make you want to go get a car loan just to save your life.

All joking aside, the Sky Redline is a fanstastic vehicle as well as the Solstice GXP. I've yet to see one consumer owned SKY on the road but have ran into 6 Solstii's within the last two days most here on Jefferson in Metro-Detroit.

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The xB should make you want to go get a car loan just to save your life.

All joking aside, the Sky Redline is a fanstastic vehicle as well as the Solstice GXP. I've yet to see one consumer owned SKY on the road but have ran into 6 Solstii's within the last two days most here on Jefferson in Metro-Detroit.

I think the Sky is just rolling onto dealer lots now aren't they whereas the Solstice has been available for months.

Will be interesting to see in the summer which one sells more.

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out of all those pictures the aura and sky are the only ones that say cool to me.

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Well saturn does if they want to stay true to their brand...and their loyal customers.

I've been lurking around C&G for awile and finally desided to register as a poster.

Remember it's just MY view and not the company or the corporations view.

Because I work for a Saturn retailer I have to choose my words wisely, but I probably wont.

Our customers are changing, at least thats what the plan is. Will we still take care of your VERY LOYAL customers, of corse we will, Do we hope you gain new customers buy having a totally different product market, you bet! Will we loose some possibly, but we hope not too.

We are in the process of a product and marketing shift. As some have said before we are becoming the "new Oldsmobile" in the GM lineup. That is not going to be a easy cookie to swallow for some.

I have been with Saturn since 1999. I beleve change is a good thing and right now we need change.

As the new Saturn tagline says:

"LIKE ALWAYS, LIKE NEVER BEFORE"

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