Used 1999 Saturn S-Series Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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1999 Saturn S-series - Consumer Reviews

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My Milage Did Vary
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By pjm83
on

Vehicle

1999 Saturn S-Series SW1 4dr Wagon


Review

I purchased my Saturn used, with 52k miles, for $4k. Given the price of the car, I didn't demand much from it. I could forgive the uncomfortable seats, the anemic engine, the spartan interior; all I wanted was good gas milage and reliability. I was partially satisfied. A wiring problem killed the headlights at 85k. At 90k, the rear wiper stopped working. The car began burning oil in this time period as well - I was a lot less impressed with the fuel economy when I was routinely adding other fluids to the car. 100k, and the engine mounts loosened, adding more to an already-obnoxious rattling while driving. At 115k, the transmission went kaput. I had expected to drive the car further.


Favorite Features

Fuel economy was a high point. The car had an automatic transmission (there was no option to designate this when choosing a model for the review) -- which usually saps efficiency -- and still managed 30 mpg around the city. The wagon body style and folding rear seats provided a bottomless pit to stow cargo. Going camping in the mountains, I found the car had more space for passengers and their gear, than the engine was really able to move.


Suggested Improvements

I had purchased this car largely based on reviews raving about it's reliability -- some saying they'd gone over 150K without anything more than basic matinence. Getting only to 115k, before facing repairs costing more than the value of the car, was a major disappointment. I'd suggest Saturn look to improving the overall build quailty of the car. I experienced a lot of trouble with the amenity features failing: there was a lot of rattling and creaking; the rear wiper failed; pieces of plastic covering from the dashboard frequently came loose. The cupholders needed to be redesigned: they were pushed so close to the front console, a beverage would block the use of the HVAC controls.


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Best-Quality American-Made Car of the Late '90s!
9 of 13 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By skeetervt
on

Vehicle

1999 Saturn S-Series SL1 4dr Sedan


Review

I bought my 1999 Saturn SL1 -- used -- in September 2002. It had just over 31,000 miles on it at the time. Nearly nine years and over 186,000 miles later, I won't part with it until it finally dies -- or I die, whichever comes first. Even today, with more than 217,000 miles on it, my Saturn still runs very smoothly. And aside from the usual parts replacements you'd expect to have as your car ages (brake pads, battery, shocks & struts, spark plugs and, of course, tires), it has never had a major mechanical failure. As far as I'm concerned, the 1999-2002 Saturn SL1 and SL2 were the best-quality cars that Saturn's Spring Hill, Tennessee plant ever produced.


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A good, if not exceptional, sedan
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By landric
on

Vehicle

1999 Saturn S-Series SL2 4dr Sedan


Review

I bought a SL2 new in early 1999. I went with the 5-Speed manual with a power package, ABS with traction control, alloy wheels, and the AM/FM cassette w/EQ. Overall, I had a good experience with the car. It was reasonably fun to drive, got excellent fuel mileage; 40 MPG on the highway regularly, and I never had a problem. When I had to replace the tires at about 40k I got slightly wider 60 series (rather than the stock 65 series) tires and that improved handling significantly. The manual shifted crisply and the engine was happy at higher RPMs. I put 68k miles on the car in 3 years and traded it on a new 2002 Mazda Protege ES, which was a much better car for about the same price.


Favorite Features

Great gas mileage, smooth shifting manual transmission, totally reliable for the 3 years/68k miles I owned the car, and reasonably priced with the options I wanted. I bought the Saturn over a number of imports because I really wanted to buy American. I was happy with the car overall, and I don't regret the purchase. I really liked the fact that the engine had a timing chain rather than a belt, no costly replacement necessary at about 60k. If I found a SL2 manual for the right price in decent shape now, I'd consider it for a back and forth to work daily driver.


Suggested Improvements

I did not like the location of the power window controls between the seats and the front seats lacked support and didn't go back far enough for me to be really comfortable on long drives, for someone taller than my 6 feet, this car would probably be a no-go. The change from rear discs to rear drums on the 99 was not an improvement, and the stock 65 series tires lacked grip, making the car less fun to drive than it could have been. The ABS/traction control was optional, and I had a hard time finding a manual transmission car so equiped, so I had to settle for a second choice color. ABS should be standard on all vehicles.


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Great Car
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Anonymous
on

Vehicle

1999 Saturn S-Series SL2 4dr Sedan


Review

This is our 3rd S series car, and like the first 2, a very reliable ride. The S series is very simple, economical transportation. Routine maintenance is all that has been needed. This car gets around 32 MPG, 36 on the highway. We bought this one with 70k miles. It now has 200K miles. 2 sets of tires,drive belt, and and cleaned the EGR valve once. Thats it. You will get bored with it before you wear it out!


Favorite Features

Simple to work on. MPG. No rust.


Suggested Improvements

Cupholders!


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Great little car
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By green saturn girl
on

Vehicle

1999 Saturn S-Series SL2 4dr Sedan


Review

When I bought my Saturn I never expected to have it for 11 years! Hardly a problem. Tires replaced once; brakes replaced once; just keeps going! Great gas mileage. One downfall; burns a lot of oil so you have to keep up on changes, not the greatest in the snow.


Favorite Features

Plastic exterior keeps car looking new. GREAT gas mileage. Very little repair.


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