My 2005 was the first of seven Saturns and by far the best. Reliability, fuel economy, handling in snow all exceeded my expectations. The dealer was outstanding and made the experience one I shared with everyone I knew. Had GM not tried to standardize the service and product into the mainstream of its other economy lines, I am sure Saturn could have survived the last shrink down. This was a tough, safe, reliable car that I enjoyed thoroughly.
The most reliable car ever! I owned Japanese vehicles for countless years, but the Saturn has beat them all. My two Honda's ate threw alternators like crazy and the hood release cord on the one snapped, which meant no access. My darling Saturn has been unbelievably dependable with minimal issues.
So, this car is 21 years old now, so I doubt anyone is actually looking at buying a used SL-2, but here's the skinny. I am the 2nd owner, having bought it from my brother. I have done essentially no maintenance on it, aside from fixing things when they break. That would include alternator and valve cover gasket. Door locks and power windows have been great, which I have found to be a rarity in other cars. The cabin is loud from road rumble, but not bad if you turn up the stereo (more on that later). At ~ 120K miles, the tranny will start slipping, and it will gradually get worse. I'm at 150K now, and it's unbearable. I would fix it and keep this car if not for one thing that every 90's era Saturn owner probably knows. This car is an open invite to prowlers and car thieves. If you have one or more Saturn keys, you can walk through a parking lot and probably open and test drive any other Saturn there. It's been broken into (without the need to actually "break" anything) multiple times, and stolen once. I have a big gaping whole where my custom stereo used to be. I would happily buy a newer used Saturn that has (or I could put in) an alarm system.
I bought my 1995 SL (base model - no a/c or power anything!) in 1996 as a second owner, with 41,000 miles already on it. Paid under $10K. This car is still going strong. I now have 245,000 miles on it and in all these years have only done routine maintenance - no break-downs, no major fixes. It does drink oil, but come on -- it's at 245K! I've recently been test-driving a variety of sports cars (350Z, Z4, Miata MX-5, Audi TT) and, when I came back to my Saturn, I have to admit, while it's no sports car, it IS a fun, low, zippy car! Gas mileage is amazing - 43 MPG COMBINED in summer (35 in winter, and I live in Minnesota) and NO VISIBLE RUST. I bet I'll drive it another 100K at least.
I purchased my Saturn in '97 used with around 68,000 miles on it. I'm not one to keep up on regular maintanance but the car performed great anyway. Fun to drive! If I wanted to pass someone on the road, I just dropped down a gear and was gone! Many "fender benders" that would have been costly if not for the dent-free body. Ran the car from NC to OH with the oil cap off (unknowingly) and the car never skipped a beat. The most reliable car I've owned.