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2004 Model Guide - Every Brand, Every Car


2004 Saturn Model GuideNew equipment additions to create spirited performance models highlight improvements coming to the 2004 fleet of coupes, sedans and wagons clustered behind the Saturn label of General Motors.

Look for a new moniker to emerge that describes the sporty new modified vehicles - it's the Red Line. Saturn will introduce Red Line versions of the quad-door ION coupe and the car-like VUE sport-utility wagon in 2004. These Red Line models carry souped-up powerplants, performance-tuned suspensions and body styling with unique aerodynamic accents.

VUE, entering a third year of production with the models of 2004, promotes a smooth ride quality in a shapely package containing two rows of seats for passengers and a rear bed for cargo. It shows cabin enhancements across the line with acoustical elements added to reduce noise and new decorative materials installed such as nickel-finish trimmings.

ION, skewed to four-door sedan and quad-door coupe conformations, popped up last year in Saturn's line as replacement for the original S-Series cars and brought clever innovations and sleek styling to the small-car segment. For 2004, ION gets refinements for powertrains, cabins and bodies. And there's a premium special-edition sedan edition due in a black paint design and flashing bright alloy wheels.

Saturn's mid-size L-Series cars borrow a platform, suspension and various mechanical systems from several brands produced by GM in Germany and Sweden, namely Opel and Saab, so the L-cars take on European airs regarding performance and handling. Expect all L-Series sedans and wagons to be badged as the L300 model and equipped with premium gear including a four-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), traction control and curtain-style side air bags.

Saturn VUE
2004 Saturn VUE

Styling for Saturn's compact-class SUV seems rugged and strong but also progressive and friendly. The VUE reveals familiar proportions of a sport-ute with the tall stance and boxy cabin but also clean lines of an industrial design with simple shapes.

Crafted with a unit-body structure typically used for cars rather than trucks, VUE blends the best features of a traditional SUV - the tall stance and a spacious cabin with flexible seating and cargo capacity - with favored traits of a tightly constructed sedan, like the easy-of-entry to comfortable seats and an easy-to-drive personality.

For locomotion, VUE pitches the EcoTec four-cylinder engine and a powerful new V6 option. The dual-cam four achieves 143 hp, while the new 3.5-liter V6 runs to 250 hp. Entry point occurs with VUE in front-wheel-drive (FWD) format toting the four-cylinder engine and a manual five-speed transmission. Next comes VUE with all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), followed by the V6 VUE keyed to a new five-speed electronically-controlled automatic with grade logic control.

The VUE Red Line special edition gets its suspension dropped and ground effects added around the body plus special 18-inch wheels on tap, and it stocks the 250-hp V6. More entertainment options apply to all VUE models in 2004, such as an optional DVD-based rear-seat entertainment system and new audio kits with MP3 capability.

Read our Review: Saturn VUE

Saturn ION
2004 Saturn ION

After only a year of production, Saturn's compact-class four-door sedan and quad-door coupe gain refinements inside and out for 2004 models.

Crisp and edgy styling for the body of ION commands attention due to strong geometric shapes mingled with angular flanks and a bold but squared tail counterbalanced by smooth rails extending over the arched cab. The Quad Coupe has two extra doors set behind the front doors. Hinged at the rear, each back door swings wide and permits easier access to rear seats.

In the cabin, the back of the front passenger bucket folds forward to form a flat horizontal surface, and backs of the rear seats, divided into two sections, also fold flat. Changes to cabins of both coupe and sedan versions of ION for 2004 include a monochromatic instrument panel, soft-to-touch paint applied to the center stack of controls and revamped colors for the radio panel and shifter bezel.

Powertrain options multiply. Standard plant is GM's EcoTec four-cylinder in a dual-cam design displacing 2.2 liters and generating 140 hp. Standard transmission is a manual five-speed by Germany's Getrag. Optional for the sedan is a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic, while the Quad Coupe offers a CVT.

The ION Quad Coupe Red Line special issue will put a supercharger on the EcoTec four to push it to 200 hp. It also uses a heavy-duty Getrag five-speed manual with a short-throw shifter stick. A performance-tuned exhaust system, the suspension tweaked and dropped 10 mm, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS plus 17-inch forged alloy wheels - all also go to ION Red Line.

Read our Review: Saturn ION

Saturn L-Series
2004 Saturn L-Series

Saturn's mid-size sedans and station wagons for 2004 hone to a single trim called L300. That was the top-end model last year, and all of the 2004 editions reflect that by stocking a high level of standard features.

The equipment includes a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, ABS and traction control, curtain-style side air bags, a nice stereo system with CD deck and six speakers, plus power windows and cruise control, automatic headlamps and more.

Outside, the L-cars cars carry foglamps, dual power mirrors with heat elements and 16-inch chrome-coated wheels. Two powertrain options exist with GM's EcoTec four-cylinder plant as the standard but boosted this year to 140hp. Optional is a two-cam 3.0-liter V6 that delivers 182hp. (...BACK)