In late 1996, CJ and I purchased our first Saturn – a burgundy SL1, which became CJ’s primary vehicle. We were so happy with it that we purchased another one in 1999 – this time a blue SL1. "Blue" became my primary vehicle for the next 7 years before being traded in for my current vehicle (a white Kia Rio).
We traded in "Red" for our third Saturn in 2004, this time a burgundy Ion. The Ion became CJ’s primary vehicle up until this week, when on Monday she got rear-ended. She texted me right after it happened:
The good news: I’m fine & the car is mostly fine.
The bad news: I got rear-ended and the trunk doesn’t shut because the bumper is crumpled.
The car was still drivable, and the bumper was still attached, so after dealing with the police, CJ just bungeed the trunk down and came home. Our insurance company (Progressive) was awesome – arranging for the car to get into a local body shop the next day, and also arranging for a rental for CJ while it was in the shop.
Then I got this text from CJ yesterday:
When you have a moment, please call me at home
Uh-oh. When I called, CJ said she just spoke with Progressive. The agent said that the cost of the repairs would exceed the value of the Ion, so they offered to cut us a check for it. In other words, the car was officially totaled. The amount they were offering for the car was generous given its age – nearly 12 years – and its mileage. We decided to let the Ion go.
When I got home, though, I found there was an unexpected side effect of us letting it go. Lucy was on the verge of tears when CJ told her. She insisted that she wanted to ride in the "red car" one more time. Lucy has grown up with the Ion. The Ion and the Rio are the only two family cars she has ever known.
So, this week – a week that literally started with a "Bang!" – we said goodbye to the longest-running vehicle we’ve ever owned. It also brings to a close nearly 20 years of Saturns for us. While they’ve had their share of quirks, recalls, and repairs, our Saturns were very reliable vehicles.
Thank you, Saturn, for keeping us safe, and getting us from point A to point B all those years.