- Quick steering and responsive handling
- Red Line delivers awesome acceleration without lag
- The uncompromised design is still a treat to look at
- Seats lack comfort and support
- Awkward driving position and ergonomics
- Lack of interior storage
- Manual top mechanism could be much simpler
- Cargo space limited with top down
The 2008 Saturn Sky has an especially seductive shape, but it lacks the expected charm and simple sophistication from behind the wheel.
The 2008 Saturn Sky is a stylish, low-slung two-seat roadster that shares a platform (though not exterior panels) with Pontiac's Solstice. It is arguably the more attractive of the two, with an especially distinctive interior theme, and comes with additional standard equipment, including features like air conditioning, standard 18-inch rims, keyless entry, and anti-lock brakes.
The Sky's standard engine is a 2.4-liter, 177-horsepower inline-four connected to a five-speed manual transmission, with a five-speed automatic available as an option. For 2007, a high-performance Red Line version of the Sky joined the lineup. It features a 260-horsepower turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, firmer suspension setting, polished 18-inch wheels, and dual chrome-tipped exhaust, as well as its own interior enhancements, such as Red Line-specific instruments (including a digital boost gauge), metallic sill plates, and stainless steel trim. Both 2008 Saturn Sky models have rear-wheel drive, with the engine mounted in front.
With either engine, the lightweight 2008 Saturn Sky turns in brisk performance; the Sky can get to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds with the manual gearbox, according to Saturn, while the turbo shortens that to 5.5 seconds. The base engine lacks refinement and can be quite coarse in sound and feel, but the Red Line's turbocharged engine and different gear ratios make the car feel more sophisticated and responsive in ordinary driving; the turbo doesn't bring much lag (hesitation) either.
The 2008 Saturn Sky has a ride that's firm, though not downright hard, with quick-ratio steering that feels precise and brings a good feel of the road. Even approaching the limits of adhesion, the Sky handles predictably.
The Sky is quite disappointing in ergonomics, with the standard narrow seats not offering a lot of comfort or support and some controls located in odd places. For instance, the power window switches are along the armrests near where one's elbow would normally go; the steering wheel doesn't telescope and it's oddly located for taller drivers relative to the shifter; and short drivers will feel far away from the pedals and too close to the steering wheel. The cabin in the 2008 Saturn Sky also lacks modern must-haves, such as abundant storage cubbies and sturdy cup holders.
The Sky's soft-top arrangement is also disappointing; raising the top requires getting out of the car to secure two anchor points, visibility is more impaired than typical with the small rear window, and when down, the top tucks into the trunk and occupies much of the already limited cargo space. When up and in place, the top in several test cars exhibits excessive wind noise.
The base 2008 Saturn Sky roadster comes quite well equipped, especially considering its affordable base price. The list includes power doors and windows, cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry, and a decent AM/FM/CD audio system with iPod accessory plug. There's also a Carbon Flash SE model that brings appearance extras similar to the Red Line, including 18-inch chrome wheels, projector-beam headlamps with black bezels, leather seats, stainless steel pedals, and metallic sill plates. For 2008, stability control is now standard on both models, as is a limited-slip differential. A new radio with XM is standard as well, while a Monsoon audio system is an option.
In addition to electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes are also standard, but no side airbags are offered on the 2008 Saturn Sky, making it one of few remaining models not yet offering them. The Sky has been crash-tested by the federal government and got four-star results in frontal and side impact. The low roadster was also one of just a few cars to obtain top five-star results in NHTSA's rollover risk rating.