1999 Saturn S-Series 1.9L 4-cyl. 5-speed Manual Consumer Review - My Milage Did Vary

1999 Saturn S-Series - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

151 Total Reviews

SC1 Coupe (1.9L 4-cyl. 5-speed Manual)

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Interior Design
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Build Quality
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
My Milage Did Vary
By pjm83 on


1999 Saturn S-Series SC1 2dr Coupe


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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