I bought this car from my dad back in 2004 with 140K miles on it. It now has about 213K, and the engine is running great - it's performed almost like a Japanese car. Other than routine maintenance (oil changes, the odd tune up, new tires) the only things I've had to replace on this car were an engine mount and a rear windshield (the windshield can't be blamed on the manufacturer - some kid smashed it one night). The cosmetics of the car aren't great, but what do you expect from a car that's been kept outside for over a decade? It needs a little oil added about once every other tank. But it gets amazing gas mileage (about 29 in town and almost 40 on the highway).
It just keeps going!
Oh, and it has a remote, and dimming headlights. No one expects a car this old and this cheap to have those things.
Saturn has bitten the dust; when this car goes, I'm looking into something with more horsepower.
A 1996 Saturn SW2 was my first car, I bought it at a cheap price with 139,000 miles on it. I put about 30,000 more miles on it in 3 years. The only major issue with the car was an oil leak that I knew had to be repaired when I bought it. Other than that, it was routine maintenance and minor repairs.
When the heater coil broke, the car was pretty close to 170,000 miles and the price to fix it was nearly the price of the car itself, so I sadly had to say goodbye.
Overall, the car was EXTREMELY reliable and the gas mileage was great. I drove it to and from college (over 100 miles away) with no problems. I'd buy the car again if I could. Definitely well worth what I paid!
26mpg city/30mpg highway
Good in the snow for a little car
Easy to drive
Extra space in the back was convenient
Car was low to the ground and many found it hard to get out of (You get used to it).
I have a '96 SC2. It has about 145,000 miles on it and runs like it is new. The interior is a little small, especially when you try to pack people into the back seats, but for driving it is very confortable. It has great handling and hugs corners and is very fun, especially with performance mode on the transmission. It is very reliable, everything works, all I have to do is keep the oil changed. Overall, it is a great first car, gets 30mpg and is fun to drive.
-Heater is very hot
-Small so easy to park
-Cheap, plastic interior
-Can't fit cups in front cupholders when it's in park
-Climate controls are akward sliders and are blocked by cups
-Small back seat
I have had my 96 saturn for about the last 7 years. It was bought used by my grandparents and then sold to me when they wanted a new one. I didn't have a lot of problems with it at all in these last 7 years. Have never had any big issues until recently. Has 196,000 miles and I have a bad cylinder. Unfortunately I have to find a new car before mine really stops running. I was very pleased overall and it just seems like a fluke that I did not get more miles out of it. I am now looking at a 1999 Saturn SL2...so obsessed with the Saturn.
Comfortable, heats up quickly, not a lot of big issues.
Only some small things have gone wrong...windshield wipers started acting up, one of the windows stopped working, the car makes the ding noise when it shouldn't, sometimes the dome light won't turn off and the defrosters only works when it wants to. Also guzzles oil and the AC compressor has issues. These things aren't terribly bad for being 16 years old.
The Saturn 96 SC2 has been my first car and I plan to keep her until she dies. I have had her for around 8 months now and she hasn't brought me any real problems except from conditions left from the previous owners. It's a small car so it's recommended for single or a couple. She has great gas mileage and gas is pretty easy on her. I have her on 139,000 from 133,000 when I got her.
One thing I've noticed is she is very fragile for the snow, but she is very agile in the spring, summer, and fall.