In 1983, General Motors promised it would beat the Japanese at their own game with its upcoming Saturn line. It didn’t quite work out that way, although the first generations of the Saturn sedans were credible and received high marks for customer satisfaction. With the 2003 Ion series (starting at $11,995), it looks like GM’s backing the hype. The Ion’s styling, ride, and drive are comparable to its nearest competitors, and while the 140 horsepower 2.2-liter engine gets the job done, a little more kick would make it nearly perfect. For more information, log on to