Saturn adds first convertible to its lineup |

Saturn adds first convertible to its lineup

ANN M. JOB The Associated Press
This undated photo provided by Saturn shows the 2007 Saturn Sky. (AP Photo/Saturn)

Saturn is getting sexy. Just look at its newest car, the 2007 Sky.It’s a two-seat, rear-wheel drive convertible – Saturn’s first open-top car – and has boffo styling, good road manners and agreeable base power.The sporty interior, in particular, looks far upscale compared with other Saturn vehicles, especially when the $750 optional premium trim package that includes leather seat inserts is added.

No doubt the Sky is going to help change Saturn’s image of a car brand that caters to buyers but whose vehicle designs have been tired of late and whose product offerings have been limited. Launched in spring as an early 2007 model, the Sky has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $23,115. This is for the base model with 177-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission.A performance Sky Red Line with 260-horsepower, turbocharged four cylinder is due out this summer.All Sky cars come standard with a manual cloth top with glass rear window.

Competitors include the front-wheel drive 2006 Mazda Miata MX-5, which starts at $20,995 with 166-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, and the rear-wheel drive 2006 Honda S2000, which starts at $34,600 with 237-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission.Soft tops on the Miata go up and down manually, but the base Miata has a cheaper vinyl, not cloth, roof. The S2000, on the other hand, has an electrically powered fabric roof.Another obvious competitor is the car that the Sky is based on – the 2006 Pontiac Solstice two-seat convertible that has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $20,490.

The Solstice and Sky are built at the same Wilmington, Del., assembly plant and share the same rear-wheel drive platform, engines and transmissions, roof mechanism and other major components.Both cars feature long hoods and short rear ends which epitomize roadsters.But every body panel on the outside of the two cars is different.Thus, where the Solstice is a lighter-weight car with bold styling that exudes a raw roadster personality like that of roadsters of the past, the Sky comes across as a less macho car with more contemporary styling.

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