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2007 Saturn Sky The classier sibling comes along

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By Rick Newman
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If the eyepopping new Saturn Sky convertible looks familiar, that's because it has a twin: the Pontiac Solstice, which debuted over the winter. And like the bodacious Solstice, the Sky is overflowing with cleavage. With just a little bit more substance inside.

At the entry level, the Solstice is a stripped-down looker that comes up way short on refinements. For a bit more money-prices start at about $24,000--the Sky is a classier package that's meant to signal the resurgence of Saturn as a fun, affordable lineup of cars. Basic features, like air conditioning and power windows-optional on the Solstice-are standard on the Sky. There's a dark lacquered console, which conveys a soup�on of taste. Anti-lock brakes are standard, an important offering on a vehicle likely to be driven aggressively.

Mechanically, however, the Sky is virtually identical to the Solstice, for both better and worse. On the plus side, it's a fun car to drive. How could it not be? The chassis sits superlow, the tires cling to the pavement, and the Sky tracks tight curves as if it's on rails. But as with the Solstice, there are major frustrations: Poorly laid-out interior features, too much cheap plastic, and noise, noise!, NOISE! The Sky is the most interesting car Saturn has offered in a long time, but if the brand is going to come alive once again, it's going to have to aim higher.

Snapshot

saturn_skyNits: The manual seat adjusters are almost impossibly out of reach, practically requiring you to get out of the car to recline the seatback.

G forces: Find the curviest road you can, and have a ball. The Sky is so small and grabby that it corners more tightly than physics should allow. The engine isn't particularly zesty, though, and just when you're in the mood for some truly sporty driving, it disappoints. The ride is rough, but no complaints there-that's what you get in a roadster.

Gizmology: The dashboard controls are a little slicker-looking than in the Solstice. But they still feel flimsy. One nice surprise, given the corner-cutting elsewhere in the Sky, is a clever cupholder that pops out of the dash on the passenger side. Stowing the convertible top, by contrast, is one of the most convoluted operations ever required of a driver. The Mazda Miata's top, in comparison, stows with a couple easy maneuvers that don't even require you to get out of the car.

Kid marks: There's no back seat, but the kids will beg for a ride anyway.

Hot or not: Hot. It's cute and imposing all at once.

Pain at the pump: Modest. Mileage rankings range from 20 mpg/city to 28 mpg/highway.

Crash course: Not crash-tested by the government or by private testing organizations.

Price points: Base price is $23,690. Price as tested: $25,355. (All prices include delivery.)

More info: www.saturn.com/saturn/vehicles/sky/overview.jsp

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