I've had my SLII for nearly 10yrs and it won't die. It's been stolen, in several fender benders, gone on long road trips, never had covered parking and it's in good condition and runs like a champ! It's by no means a luxury vehicle, but it still gets great gas mileage and has comparative get-up-n-go to current cars in it's class. It's encouraged her family members to purchase Saturns, all at very affordable prices. After 14yrs it still passes the state's strict smog standards, has never broken down or left me stranded, and I would guess is close to or over 300,000 miles on the engine (odometer was broken 5yrs ago when it was stolen). I love my Saturn!
I bought my '94 Saturn used with a rebuilt engine, and it feels like new! Clutch is solid, every gear engages like a new Focus (I've had those, too). I got nearly 250 miles in the city on a half a tank of gas. It takes 50 miles just to come off FULL, and with the 5-speed I spend a lot of time in neutral to save gas. I LOVE it, and what's more, I love having a clean title and NO CAR PAYMENTS!
This has been an amazingly trouble free car. It is 11 years old, consistently gets better than 38 MPG (Hwy) and has had very little maintenance. In fact, I have had 4 repairs (outside regular maintenance) in 9 years of owning the vehicle, and the most expensive was $400.
First and foremost, let me just point out that this is a 1994 Saturn. We bought it for $800 as a daily beater to keep the mileage down on our newer cars (a Ford Fiesta SE Sedan and a Fiesta ST) and let me just say that we ended up falling in love with this car. It's quirky, it's fun, and it's reliable. Its very typical of an early 90s vehicle. Automatic shoulder belts with a secondary lap belt, one airbag in the entire car that I'm honestly not sure functions, plastic everything, no cupholders, and the clear coat is practically gone. But it's one of the most comfortable, dependable, and reliable cars we've ever had. Yes, you sometimes have to smack the dashboard for all of the lights to come on, and yes sometimes a little smoke comes out of the exhaust, but it starts right up every time. The most we've had to invest in repairing it in the last year was $18 for the shift cable bracket. Downside is that since Saturn has been shut down and this car is 23 years old, parts are a bit difficult to come by. Also, the odometer is stuck at 124k. It most likely has about 150k on it.
Overall this car never left me stranded. But, the quality of the car was not good. It only had 76,000 mile on it when I bought it. Yet trim pieces fell off all the time, one of the power windows only worked sometimes, many little things. However, the major issue was that the engine block actually broke where the motor mount bolted to the block (not the mount but the actual block). Thus, I have a perfectly running engine with 82,000 miles on it. But no way to bolt the engine to the car. Pretty much makes the car (or at least the engine) worthless.