More refinement is among the list of improvements to the Saturn Ion for 2005. The 2005 Saturn Ion is smoother, quieter, and more comfortable than last year's models. And a new grille improves the looks of the sedan models. The changes raise the 2005 Ion to the level of being a compelling choice in a strong class of compact cars. The Ion was redesigned and launched as an all-new model for 2003. It received some updates for 2004, but the changes for 2005 are more substantial. For starters, the 2005 Ion sedans and coupes are more comfortable, with new seats that are larger and more supportive, addressing a big complaint with last year's models. Adding to this comfortable new seating position is a larger steering wheel, a surprisingly important feature. The 2005 Ions ride better than last year's models. They're smoother and quieter, making them more pleasant in daily use. Handling is sharper, making them more enjoyable to drive. Extensive mechanical improvements to the 2005 models include revised suspension settings and improved steering feel. A new four-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission in the coupe and the five-speed automatic in the sedan, both of which had been problematic. The 2005 Ion sedans look better that last year's models, with a new front-end treatment that gives them a classier, more elegant, more mainstream, more upscale appearance. The Ion sedans offer four-door practicality. The front seats offer lots of headroom, and the back seats are roomy. A well-equipped Ion sedan retails for just $15,000. Ion quad coupes feature innovative dual rear-access doors, small doors like those on an extended-cab pickup that maximize the usefulness of the interior space by making it easy to load and unload cargo. We found we could stuff large objects into the back seats that will not go into a traditional two-door coupe. Enthusiasts will gravitate to the high-performance Red Line coupe, which features a 205-horsepower supercharged engine. Saturn says it's good for 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds. We found it fun to drive, with strong throttle response and a sporty exhaust note. It comes with Recaro seats for comfortable support in corners. Surveys of buyers indicate the Saturn Ion is easy to buy and have maintained. Granted, Ion's quality is not up to those of the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, according to ratings from J.D. Power and Associates surveys, but Saturn buyers tend to be happier with their dealers, citing hassle-free sales and service. Saturn was ranked well ahead of Honda and Toyota and was outranked only by luxury brands in J.D. Power's 2004 Sales Satisfaction Index, which surveys buyers of new vehicles on the purchasing experience. Maintaining one is a satisfying experience as well. Saturn ranked No. 2 in a 2003 J.D. Power survey on customer satisfaction with dealer service, outranked only by Infiniti and well ahead of Honda and Toyota.