I bought my Saturn SL1 new in 1998. I have driven it in FL, Puerto Rico (big no for cars), CA and VA. Drove cross country from CA to VA and was far more reliable than my 2003 MPV. Not a show stopper, but it's reliable and economic. Great vehicle for new drivers. Not too much power. No problems for the last 6.5 years, only maintenace (oil, brakes)
Value and reliability
Use after market brakes. OEM brakes tend to wear out quicker.
Nice car overall. The 5 speed is definitely the way to go w/SOHC engine. Very quick thru gears 1-3 and the transmission is very tolerant of many driving styles. Excellent car for teaching new drivers to use a manual transmission. Check Engine light does come on when spark plugs get old/used. Replace with standard Wal-Mart Autolites, drive for a few miles and the light should go away for another 30k miles. Dealer will insist on changing out plugs, wires and ignition control module ($500) donít spend it until replacing just the plugs. Dash is clear and easy to read/controls are generally well laid out and logical. Visibility is excellent. Visibility is excellent. Simple engine layout makes for easy maintenance.
Firm and precise steering makes driving pleasant. Quick acceleration and good brakes make it a good first car choice. Gets 38 MPG in combined driving. Car has 75k miles and is very reliable. Polymer doors and fenders make tight parking spots a no worry for dings. Very easy to wash and maintain.
Seating position is low. Seats need to be height adjustable. Can get noisy at high speed and high winds will make it sway. Tires are too narrow with more than 2 people aboard. Larger tires. If the brake pedal light switch is not adjusted properly the brakes will engage prematurely and drag.
The car, except for the leaky interior
and poor gas mileage, isn't so bad. At
least not since I had to hire a lawyer
to get Saturn to honor their warranty
when the transmission went bad. I've
been to 4 dealerships in 3 states and
one had worse service than another.
Calling the corporate office was a
nightmare. The car would roll backwards
when on the slightest incline, although
it was in drive [it's an automatic] and
they tried to convince me that's the
way it's supposed to work.
I will never buy a Saturn again.
The rumor of good gas mileage is
unfounded. I have never gotten good
mileage from this car. Every other car
I've driven I've been able to obtain
higher than listed gas mileage. Bye
sunroof, except when it leaks. It can
be comfortable as long as you're not in
it for a long trip.
Interior needs to make sense. The cup
holders are all akwardly placed.
I bought my Saturn SL1 brand new in
1999. I was very happy with it for the
first 65,000 miles, however, I did
have a minor coolant leak that was
untraceable. Upon reaching 70,000
miles I found out where the coolant
was going. Saturn SL1's are notorious
for cracked heads, and my coolant was
leaking into my oil. Saturn declined
responsibility for this, nor did they
offer to aid in any way. So much
for "Customers First". I had to invest
$1700 for a new head, in a car that
was only 5 years old, for a defect
that Saturn claimed they had fixed. I
changed my oil every 3,000 miles and
did all prescribed services at the
mileage suggested. I will never buy
another Saturn again.
I bought my 1999 Saturn SC2 (3 door)
new in January 1999. I have owned it
almost 6 years now but have only put
35000 miles on it. Overall, I am quite
satisfied with it. I have only had two
mechanical problems with it in 6 years
(I had to replace the air conditioning
compressor and oxygen sensor).
Otherwise, it has been very reliable.
The third door has been very handy, and
it has good acceleration for a small
engine. On the downside, the cabin can
be noisy at high speeds. And the
dashboard and door panels rattle and
creak in below zero temperatures. But,
overall, I have no regrets about buying
Good handling and acceleration.
Economical on gas. Good value for the
money. Great customer service from
Better interior materials. Dials
instead of horizontal levers for