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Spitball
03-22-2008, 11:13 AM
We are going out shopping for a Saturn Sky later today with my 23 year old daughter. She is getting ready to start her internship in the fall and has developed some kind of logical argument that this car is in some way part of her major needs. She used to use these same argument tactics when she was little and it always resulted in a kitten, a hamster, a bunny, or whatever fuzzy critter she wanted. I'd say no but we ended up with a ton of pets anyway.

Does anyone know about these cars? I am really not much of a car guy and hate these kind of trips. Actually, she is the car expert in the family. She has a 1997 Pontiac Firebird (leather seats, chrome wheels,Pioneer stereo) she will probably be willing to trade.

I'm not sure what kind of advice I need but anything will be appreciated.

paintmered
03-22-2008, 11:26 AM
We are going out shopping for a Saturn Sky later today with my 23 year old daughter. She is getting ready to start her internship in the fall and has developed some kind of logical argument that this car is in some way part of her major needs. She used to use these same argument tactics when she was little and it always resulted in a kitten, a hamster, a bunny, or whatever fuzzy critter she wanted. I'd say no but we ended up with a ton of pets anyway.

Does anyone know about these cars? I am really not much of a car guy and hate these kind of trips. Actually, she is the car expert in the family. She has a 1997 Pontiac Firebird (leather seats, chrome wheels,Pioneer stereo) she will probably be willing to trade.

I'm not sure what kind of advice I need but anything will be appreciated.

I think Saturn still does the no-haggle pricing thing. The Sky has 2.9% with $1,000 back right now.

The Sky's re-badged twin is the Pontiac Solstice. I'm not sure how practical a two-seat convertible is for a primary vehicle, but I've heard good things about the Sky. If she's worried about gas mileage, I'd try to talk her into an Astra coupe instead.

Saturn has quietly turned itself into a solid brand over the last 2-3 years. I think in the future, all of their vehicles will be Opels with Saturn badging (like the Astra and Vue). I know I'm going to take a solid look at their lineup for my next vehicle purchase.

mole44
03-22-2008, 12:03 PM
I think Saturn still does the no-haggle pricing thing. The Sky has 2.9% with $1,000 back right now.

The Sky's re-badged twin is the Pontiac Solstice. I'm not sure how practical a two-seat convertible is for a primary vehicle, but I've heard good things about the Sky. If she's worried about gas mileage, I'd try to talk her into an Astra coupe instead.

Saturn has quietly turned itself into a solid brand over the last 2-3 years. I think in the future, all of their vehicles will be Opels with Saturn badging (like the Astra and Vue). I know I'm going to take a solid look at their lineup for my next vehicle purchase.The sky isn't just a rebadged solstice. It has all different body panels. Just the same platform. My uncle has a Sky, he seems to love it. But he hasn't had it that long either. I heard that the Solstice got some bad reviews reliability wise, so that may be something to look into.

Spitball
03-22-2008, 12:06 PM
I think Saturn still does the no-haggle pricing thing. The Sky has 2.9% with $1,000 back right now.

The Sky's re-badged twin is the Pontiac Solstice. I'm not sure how practical a two-seat convertible is for a primary vehicle, but I've heard good things about the Sky. If she's worried about gas mileage, I'd try to talk her into an Astra coupe instead.

Saturn has quietly turned itself into a solid brand over the last 2-3 years. I think in the future, all of their vehicles will be Opels with Saturn badging (like the Astra and Vue). I know I'm going to take a solid look at their lineup for my next vehicle purchase.

Thanks, paintmered! I really appreciate your feedback. She switches back and forth between the Sky and the Solstice. Do you think they are safe cars?

BTW, I like that no-haggle aspect. I hate that game. The salesman is always a major league veteran and I'm a pantywaste single A benchwarmer.

Spitball
03-22-2008, 12:14 PM
The sky isn't just a rebadged solstice. It has all different body panels. Just the same platform. My uncle has a Sky, he seems to love it. But he hasn't had it that long either. I heard that the Solstice got some bad reviews reliability wise, so that may be something to look into.

Thanks, Mole! I googled "Solstice reliability" and found a site that gave it a "predicted mediocre" ranking. What exactly is meant by "reliability"? Are we talking about the need for major repairs or something else?

mole44
03-22-2008, 12:17 PM
Not necessarily major work I guess, but at least small stuff, more often than the norm. At least that's how I look at "reliability" lol. This is just what I heard from a buddy of mine that was looking into getting a solstice.

Cyclone792
03-22-2008, 12:26 PM
GM had a recall on the Sky and Solstice last month:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22359333/

The Feds are also apparently looking into issues on the brakes with the Sky and the Solstice. That just came out a week or two ago.

I don't have any first-hand knowledge about the Sky, but I have owned a 1996 Saturn SL1 for nearly 7.5 years now, though I'll be junking it in the next two to three weeks. The S-Series model had two massive flaws with it: they burned an incredible amount of oil, and it had valve body issues in the transmission. I think it was something like more than 50 percent of all S-Series models had one or both of those problems.

Unfortunately, mine wasn't really any different as it's been going through a quart of oil every 100-150 miles for several years now. The transmission issues - when in drive - would creep up mostly in warmer weather as it would oftentimes get stuck in 3rd gear. Another transmission issue with those models is the so-called "reverse slam," and it occurred when putting the car in reverse. The transmission wouldn't slide into reverse until you hit the gas pedal a bit, and then it would violently SLAM into reverse.

On the plus side, the car is sitting at 210,097 miles ... so while the incessant oil burning and occasional transmission issues have been a serious annoyance, the car has ultimately lasted quite awhile.

Now the S-Series model was discontinued after 2002, and hopefully Saturn won't have any of those issues in any of their newer models.

IslandRed
03-22-2008, 04:57 PM
For what it's worth, the Consumer Reports auto issue gave the Sky its lowest reliability rating for the categories of "drive system," "body hardware" and "body integrity." But it's worth noting that cars are generally built pretty well these days and "unreliable" is measured against the average and not a fixed standard. Mercedes and Audi tend to have their cars fare poorly in the CR reliability ratings, for example. I imagine that the vast majority of Sky owners don't have big problems with their cars.

The biggest strike I'd have against the Sky or Solstice is, even by the standards of roadsters, the trunk and lockable storage space is laughable. If this is going to be her only car and her "needs" will ever involve carrying more than a book bag while the top is down, she might want to reconsider.

mole44
03-22-2008, 08:41 PM
If she is totally set on a two seater convertible, I would have her take a look at the MX-5 (mazda miata). IIRC, the last reviews I read on them were excellent. Plus I'm a bit of a Mazda homer as of late. Owned my 3 for three and a half years now, and I love it more now than the day I got it. No problems at all, knock on wood.

Spitball
03-23-2008, 05:35 PM
Well, we went to a Saturn dealership, as well as Pontiac and Nissan dealerships. I must say the no haggle atmosphere of the Saturn dealership was nice, and the salesman at the Pontiac place was great. He even admitted he liked the look of Sky better. The Nissan guy was alright but he tried hard to make a sale. The Nissan 350Z was out of her price range so he tried to interest her in other cars. My daughter has total tunnel vision when it comes to the type of car she wants, and she wasn't interested.

She is more sold on the Sky than ever now, but she can't justfy the monthly payments for a new one at this time. She is searching and hoping for a used one in the $20,000 range. That might be unlikely, but she is a determined person.

Thanks for all the input, guys.

paintmered
03-24-2008, 07:09 AM
Well, we went to a Saturn dealership, as well as Pontiac and Nissan dealerships. I must say the no haggle atmosphere of the Saturn dealership was nice, and the salesman at the Pontiac place was great. He even admitted he liked the look of Sky better. The Nissan guy was alright but he tried hard to make a sale. The Nissan 350Z was out of her price range so he tried to interest her in other cars. My daughter has total tunnel vision when it comes to the type of car she wants, and she wasn't interested.

She is more sold on the Sky than ever now, but she can't justfy the monthly payments for a new one at this time. She is searching and hoping for a used one in the $20,000 range. That might be unlikely, but she is a determined person.

Thanks for all the input, guys.

Finding a used Sky might be difficult. 2007 was the first model year for that car.

Spitball
03-24-2008, 08:48 AM
Finding a used Sky might be difficult. 2007 was the first model year for that car.

Right, the dealer pointed that out, and yet they had two. One was a 2007 and the other was a 2008. Unfortunately, they were both turbo versions and still priced in the high 20's.

Really, I think she is going to have to shift her focus, but that won't happen overnight. Realistically, she should be looking in the $15,000 range, but the Sky seems to have a hold on her dreams.

bucksfan
03-24-2008, 01:21 PM
Right, the dealer pointed that out, and yet they had two. One was a 2007 and the other was a 2008. Unfortunately, they were both turbo versions and still priced in the high 20's.

Really, I think she is going to have to shift her focus, but that won't happen overnight. Realistically, she should be looking in the $15,000 range, but the Sky seems to have a hold on her dreams.

I'd try to stay away from 1st model years as well, just generally speaking. Gives them a year to get the bigger bugs out.

RBA
03-24-2008, 01:30 PM
Mini Cooper Convertable.

WebScorpion
03-24-2008, 03:08 PM
Right, the dealer pointed that out, and yet they had two. One was a 2007 and the other was a 2008. Unfortunately, they were both turbo versions and still priced in the high 20's.

Really, I think she is going to have to shift her focus, but that won't happen overnight. Realistically, she should be looking in the $15,000 range, but the Sky seems to have a hold on her dreams.
The only convertible less than $20K that I know of is this one:

The Smart Fortwo Cabriolet
http://www.autoholic.de/images/news/blog_dt85-Neues-Smart-Fortwo-Cabrio.jpg

Even with heated leather seats, light sensing headlights, rain sensing wipers, they're less tha $18K. I think there may be a waitng list for them, tho. www.smartusa.com (http://www.smartusa.com/)is the web site address and I'm not sure how many are being sold in the US. Nice little car, great gas mileage, if you can stand being a little different from the rest of the public. Who knows? they may turn out like a Prius...after 4 years, you can sell it for almost the same price you paid for it.

Ltlabner
03-25-2008, 07:17 AM
Nice little car, great gas mileage, if you can stand being a little different from the rest of the public. Who knows? they may turn out like a Prius...after 4 years, you can sell it for almost the same price you paid for it.

Or they may be mixed in the recycle bin with the rest of the pop cans.

Spitball
03-25-2008, 04:08 PM
I don't think I'll be able to sell her on the Mini Cooper Convertable or the Cabriolet because she is pretty focused on the Sky and, to a lesser degree, the Solstice.

I brought up the first year aspect of a used 2007 Sky but she wasn't swayed from her mission. She found two (one in Alabama, one in Illinois) on-line last night that were in the $21,000 range. She has a little more than $2,000 saved up and figures she can get $4,000 for her 1997 Firebird. That would get her loan down to the $15,000 range she can afford.

I don't know how she is going to pull this off, but she is really trying to make it work...all while studying for her comps.

Spitball
05-18-2008, 08:26 AM
Just an update, she decided to go with a Nissan 350Z. After several weeks of searching, she found one she liked and could afford. It is a 2004 model.

Does anyone have any experience with 350Z's? It seems like a really nice ride.

gm
05-19-2008, 07:59 PM
GM had a recall on the Sky and Solstice last month:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22359333/

The Feds are also apparently looking into issues on the brakes with the Sky and the Solstice. That just came out a week or two ago.

I don't have any first-hand knowledge about the Sky, but I have owned a 1996 Saturn SL1 for nearly 7.5 years now, though I'll be junking it in the next two to three weeks. The S-Series model had two massive flaws with it: they burned an incredible amount of oil, and it had valve body issues in the transmission. I think it was something like more than 50 percent of all S-Series models had one or both of those problems.

Unfortunately, mine wasn't really any different as it's been going through a quart of oil every 100-150 miles for several years now. The transmission issues - when in drive - would creep up mostly in warmer weather as it would oftentimes get stuck in 3rd gear. Another transmission issue with those models is the so-called "reverse slam," and it occurred when putting the car in reverse. The transmission wouldn't slide into reverse until you hit the gas pedal a bit, and then it would violently SLAM into reverse.

On the plus side, the car is sitting at 210,097 miles ... so while the incessant oil burning and occasional transmission issues have been a serious annoyance, the car has ultimately lasted quite awhile.

Now the S-Series model was discontinued after 2002, and hopefully Saturn won't have any of those issues in any of their newer models.

Another weak link of the SL-1 engine was the water pump housing, which tended to crack if the engine overheated...creating an oversized oil/water blender