I purchased a 1995 SW2 soon after I was T-boned at an intersection and totaled my earlier car (a 1994 SC1 - which held up very well in the accident. I have sampled a number of cars over the years since there are couple of car dealerships in the family so I have lots to compare to the SW2. The SW2 was a big surprise, the handling is tight and particularly good for Canadian winters. The DOHC engine is buzzy but powerful-a good hill climber. The 5-speed manual has good clutch take- up. Surprisingly there are lots of aftermarket performance parts. I added some low cost mods-a cone air intake and front strut bar - very noticeable inprovements- recommended.
Some design flaws Ceiling light fell out because clip broke, washer fluid cover broke - same reason, water poured into car when it rained - had to have new rubber gutters installed. Transmission was repaired two years ago and water pump died shortly after purchase. Otherwise, car has been reliable. Need to replace it with an suv because we are moving to a mountainside accessible over gravel roads - keep losing my little car in the pot holes.
Drove it for 53,000 miles. It wasw FUN to drive. This car doesn't get enough credit for being the great handling car that is is. The steering had great feedback and felt VERY conected to the road. I would have liked more power, and the gas mileage (30 around town, 38 highway) could have been better.
Having always driven imports I really wanted a domestic for a change and wanted a station wagon. The Saturn has been reliable and inexpensive to own. I paid twice for similar repairs on the Acura that I previously owned. The engine had been replaced in this car and has prvided ample performance and economy. Would I buy another? Absolutely.