I have a a 2003 Ion that my wife drives. Whenever I'm driving it I get the sense that it isn't not getting to the highest gear. Is this typical to the vehicle ?

Asked by Aug 12, 2013 at 12:57 PM about the Saturn ION

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

8 Answers


No, not typical. So I assume you have an automatic trans?

yes, it is an automatic transmission. I've asked my mechanic if he feels it is shifting properly and he seems to feel that it does. But it just has an odd feel to me. I've read where some of the ion transmissions do not have an overdrive. Does that apply to automatics ?


Do you have the sedan or the coupe? The sedan uses a 5spd automatic. The Coupe uses a CVT or Continuous Variable Transmission and that doesn't shift like a convention AT. It revs higher and the rpms just increase as you push on the accelerator.

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it's a 4 door , which I always considered a sedan ?.....but .......the way you desribe the CVT makes me wonder if that is what is throwing me. The transmission just doesn't sound and act in a way that I expect it to.


As you drive most transmissions will enter their highest gear well before highway speeds, so count every gear to see if you're using 4 or 5 ratios at 80+km/hr

That's what I've been doing and it doesn't seem to get past 3 noticable ratio changes.......and yet she drives it every day and there are no tell tale signs of major problems


Correct the sedan is a 4 door. So 5th gear is the overdrive. The newer transmissions will shift more quickly since there are 5 speeds. At 45-50mph you should be in 5th gear and tacking around 2000rpm. You would know if you were in only 3rd gear at 55mph, your tachometer would be over 3K.

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Thank you for your help. I will check the RPM

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