Saturn-come-lately, the new kid in town/everybody loves you, so don't let them down. The Eagles make some great music for driving, and the Saturn Sky is a great car for driving. Really, any convertible makes for great driving, and the Sky is certainly one of those. But the Sky isn't so great for listening to music while driving, because at 70 mph the wind noise is a fair match for the maximum output of the stereo. Is the stereo only a minor irritation, or is it a tell-tale sign of a much bigger problem? — like a patch of red skin that's ... well, we certainly don't know enough about rashes to make this analogy work. Clear skin, all around the Jalopnik, that's for sure.
At any rate, we know a few things about people taking to us in cars, and the Sky garners a lot of attention. That's the good news. The bad news (at least for Saturn's brand managers) is that, despite four badges, prominently displayed, nobody knows it's a Saturn. Then again, such anonymity could be good news, because the current Saturn lineup rivals mid-80s Peugeots for sheer ugliness. If the Sky is forming new impressions about Saturn, it can only be a good thing.
There's more good news, because the Sky's interior comes off as much nicer than its Kappa-platform sibling, the Pontiac Solstice. There's still plenty of cheap plastic, but — seeing it's not a Porsche — expectations are reasonably lower. What is unacceptable is the lack of storage bins inside the Sky. There simply isn't much space to put things that need to be at hand, like a cell phone. There's a storage compartment between the two seatbacks, and a small pocket in the front of the seat pan, but the trim covering the transmission tunnel doesn't have any indents or contours. Another nagging issue goes back to the radio, where the display is completely washed out in even slightest hint of direct sunlight. These are things that probably should have been taken care of in development, but it's also something that goes along with bringing a concept car from the show stand to the showroom. Anybody who has seen a Dodge Viper up close will no doubt understand.
Which brings us to the Sky's roof. Considering the competition, it's a bit sad. Raising or lowering the top is a multistep process that always involves getting out of the car. When it's down, storage space evaporates. Those planning a weekend excursion al fresco need the wisdom of Solomon: Do you bring back the case of merlot or the new clothes? It's one or the other.
Fortunately, these concerns fade in the driver's seat. This, again, is a property of convertibles — much like how a bottle of wine will assuage any doubts about driving home on Sunday without pants. But the Sky is particularly good at making you forget your cares, because it's very good to drive. No, it's not as good to drive as the Mazda
MX-5 Miata. The Sky is 400 lbs. heavier, over-tired, and has a less responsive engine. But that's not really the point. Although both roadsters (and the Solstice) occupy the same market segment, it seems the target audience doesn't really overlap. Style and personal taste are just too much of a factor here, and Miata lovers and Sky lovers are two different kinds of people. The important thing though is that the Sky is a solid effort, and despite its flaws, we need more cars like this on the market, if for nothing else but for the general sanity of the population. Consider the wonderful therapeutic effects of taking a convertible out for a joy ride. At an average speed of 60 mph, achieving 22 miles per gallon (EPA city) at $3 per gallon the Sky costs $8.18 per hour, which is a lot cheaper than a shrink. And, given how much attention we got from driving the Sky, it will probably boost your self esteem as well. For an as-tested price of $26,205, in a lot of ways the Sky is bargain. [by Mike Austin]