AutoMatters+

Autos, Consumer Electronics, Motorsports, Travel, Entertainment & More!

By Jan Wagner - syndicated weekly columnist/photojournalist
Home Up Photography News & Views Most Recent Column Other Publications COLUMN ARCHIVES Contact Jan







 

2007 Saturn Sky

 

 
Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky

This is really a tale of two cars, one called Solstice and a very different one called Sky.

 
Pontiac Solstices on an autocross course

The story began in September of 2005 when I had an opportunity to put the Pontiac Solstice through its paces at a GM driving event. I had already been struck by the car’s good looks. After driving it hard for several laps on an autocross course, and comparing it to the powerful Pontiac GTO, I was able to do quicker laps in the Solstice than the GTO. The level of control and grip was excellent. The Solstice also looks great. No wonder Pontiac is selling every one they make.

 

Now fast forward to May of 2006 and part two of our story. The 2007 Saturn Sky is now on display in dealerships, although supplies are extremely tight. I was fortunate enough to be invited to test drive the Sky. I did not drive it on an autocross course, but I did get to drive it on a combination of city streets and a freeway. It was very easy to drive, right from the beginning. If pushed hard, I suspect that it will respond much as the Solstice does, and that is very well.

 
Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky

What is easiest to see and compare between the Sky versus the Solstice is the styling. GM did a really good job differentiating the two brands, while at the same time making them both look great. The Solstice has traditional Pontiac styling cues, led by the signature grille at the front of the car. While sitting inside the driver’s seat and looking through the driver’s side view mirror, it occurred to me that the Sky looks similar to a Corvette of several generations ago. It is very sporty. I have a favorite and you probably will too, although it may not be the same as mine. It is a matter of personal taste. You can’t go wrong with either.

The Saturn variant is also a little more upscale, and that is reflected in its base price. Standard equipment includes one year of Onstar service, air conditioning, projector beam headlamps and foglamps, power mirrors, locks and windows, six-speaker AM/FM CD radio, aluminum wheels and more. It is very nicely equipped. The one I drove added a $3,000 option package which included leather trim, Monsoon premium audio with steering wheel audio controls and XM satellite radio, a limited slip differential and premium (bright yellow) paint.

  

My criticisms of the car concern its soft top mechanism, and also its trunk space – both in terms of size and accessibility. Putting the top up is a chore. In contrast, both the current and previous generations of Mazda’s Miata can be raised (or lowered) in one easy motion, and the Miata’s top does not eat into the trunk. It is unfortunate that GM’s engineers did not do a better job in this area.

Another problem, however, has nothing to do with the car itself, and it is a problem shared with the Solstice. That problem is a serious lack of availability. Go into a dealership, express interest in either car and you’ll probably find what I did – that the salespeople typically do not have cars to sell to you. The one that I saw seemed to be there mostly for display purposes. I was told that I was among a very few people to have been permitted to test drive it.

 

Along with a lack of availability seems to have come additional, dealer-added price stickers. For example, on the beautiful yellow Sky that I drove at Saturn of Kearny Mesa, add-ons including sealants, an alarm, LoJack, a car cover and etching (theft deterrent) further raised the price of this Saturn by over $2,500 – and that was after a package discount of over a thousand dollars. That brought the car’s “Total Value Price” to $29,435. Compare this to the price of a “Standard” model Sky, if you can find one. According to the manufacturer’s window sticker, one of these standard models will be much less expensive, at $23,115 plus a $575 destination charge. I wonder how long it will be before there are enough cars in the supply pipeline.

As always, please share your stories and send your comments to AutoMatters@gmail.com. Enjoy the archives and more at www.AutoMatters.net.  Drive safely and do join me again next time.

Copyright © 2006 Jan R. Wagner – #194 AutoMatters

Send email with your comments and suggestions about AutoMatters+ and this Web site.
Copyright © 2014 Jan R. Wagner – AutoMatters+