- Eye-catching design
- Red Line delivers amazing acceleration
- Excellent steering and nimble handling
- Minimal cargo space when top is down
- Soft top is more difficult to lower than it should be
- Virtually no interior storage
- Uncomfortable seats
- Awkward driving position and ergonomics
The 2009 Saturn Sky looks great and in the Red Line trim is a blast to drive, but its ergonomics and quality keep it from truly competing with the Miata.
The 2009 Saturn Sky is an attractive, ground-hugging roadster that shares mechanical bits with the Pontiac Solstice, but is arguably better-looking than its corporate cousin. It also comes with more standard equipment, including air conditioning, standard 18-inch wheels, anti-lock brakes, and keyless entry.
Engine choices for the Saturn sky go from mild to wild with the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder delivering 177 horsepower and the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder in the Red Line that pumps out a screaming 260 horsepower with very little turbo lag. Both engines can be joined to either a manual or automatic gearbox featuring five speeds pushing power to the rear wheels.
The Red Line model also features a 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. For 2009, Ruby Red and Hydro Blue Limited Edition Packages come with a new split-spoke wheel and a sport stripe.
Both engines propel the Sky well, as it is a lightweight car. According to Saturn, the base Sky makes it to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds with the manual, and the Sky Red Line hits the same mark in 5.5 seconds. The 2.4-liter is not very refined and can feel and sound coarse. The 2.0-liter turbo, on the other hand, is very smooth and responsive with little turbo lag.
The 2009 Saturn has quick-ratio steering that feels precise and brings a good sense of the road. The ride quality is firm, though not terribly hard. Handling is predictable even approaching the limits of adhesion.
While the Sky excels in overall design and styling, it fails to impress in terms of ergonomics. The base seats are narrow and not very comfortable, the steering wheel doesn’t telescope, and the pedals don’t adjust. These leave shorter drivers feeling too close to the wheel and taller drivers placed far from the shifter. Other ergonomic oddities include a dearth of storage spaces, oddly placed and flimsy cup holders, and window switches that are placed where your elbow would normally rest on the armrest.
The convertible top on the Saturn Sky is also disappointing in execution; raising and lowering the roof requires getting out of the car and securing two anchor points (much more of an ordeal than it is with the Mazda Miata). Visibility is poor with the top up, and with it down, trunk space all but disappears. On the road, several test cars exhibit a lot of wind noise with the top up.
The base 2009 Saturn Sky roadster comes quite well equipped. 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. Stability control and anti-lock brakes are also standard on both models, as is a limited-slip differential. A radio with XM is standard as well, while a Monsoon audio system is an option.
The 2009 Saturn Sky rolls into a new model year with only minor changes. New for the 2009 model year is an available Bluetooth hands-free connection, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and three colors.
The Saturn 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. Side airbags are not available.