Sky delivers a pleasing, lively ride
THE RIDE: Two-door, two-passenger 2009 Saturn Sky Red Line manual-folding top convertible. DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2008 and sharing its basic design with the Pontiac Solstice, this high-performance model delivers a pleasing and lively ride. The rear-wheel-drive roadster handles sharp turns and road imperfections with confidence and poise. TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine produces an imposing 260 horsepower at 5300 rpm and 260 pounds-feet of torque at 2500 rpm. The roadster is mated to a standard 5-speed manual or an optional 5-speed automatic transmission. Front and rear suspension is equipped with a short/long arm, stabilizer bars and coil springs. The hydraulic power rack-and-pinion steering provides excellent feedback to the driver. We were quite impressed with the Sky's stopping power. LOOK & FEEL: The clamshell hood decked in decorative vents grabs your attention. As if that isn't enough, your eyes are drawn to the striking chrome grille bar with the integrated Saturn insignia, black-bezeled projector headlights and dual polished aluminum exhaust outlets. Slide into the well-bolstered leather seats and you will find yourself behind the wheel of a robust three-spoke tilt steering column. Upscale black and chrome finish can be found on top of the dashboard, doors, parking brake and center console. The Sky Red Line logo imprinted on the seatbacks is an instant giveaway that this is the high-performance version of the convertible. Also unmistakable is red stitching on the seats, steering wheel and doors. The three-gauge instrument panel of speedometer, tachometer and fuel readings conveys a rich ambiance. We liked the location of the Driver Information Computer in the tachometer with controls on the steering wheel.BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P245/45R18; wheelbase, 95.1 inches; length, 161.1 inches; weight, 3,045 pounds; fuel capacity, 13.6 gallons; city, 19 mpg; highway, 27 mpg. SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability and traction control, antiskid system, limited-slip differential, OnStar system, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard. OUT THE DOOR: $31,630, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. WHY DIG IT: Who says they don't make affordable convertibles any more? The boldly styled Sky Red Line is a perfect example of a performance-oriented ride with a thought-out interior. Happy top-down motoring.
Nitish S. Rele is an advertising staff writer for The Tampa Tribune.