Used 1997 Saturn S-Series Consumer Reviews
I bought my '97 SW2 9 years ago with only 15K miles on it. I guess the original owner didn't like the car. Since then I have put on over 100,000 miles and the only major repair was replacing the AC compressor. Sure, the seats are only sightly more comfortable than sitting on a cardboard box, but this car has been one of the most reliable cars I've ever owned. Still looks good, too - thanks to the plastic body panels.
My 97 saturn SL1 was bought used in 02 with 85k on it. She now has 160k and still.....runs. You dont need a speedometer with this car bc it shimmies at 75 mph. It does like to over heat alil while in rush hour traffic. Gas mileage is great, mid 30's.
My wife and I have really enjoyed owning our '97 Saturn SW2 wagon. Originally purchased for my wife, it has been a reliable and decent-looking family car. The 16V motor has been strong. It's tuned for more torque in the lower RPM range, so it's great for driving around town. We definitely enjoyed the wagon body style. It has hauled our family of 4 on extended vacations. I use it daily to haul either a mountain bike or surf board. It has held up really well for 11 years. Most people are shocked to hear that it actually that old.
I got this car over the summer since my Caprice needed a ton of work. I now get 2 times the fuel economy 29-35 avg mpg depending on how I drive. It hasnt had any issues at all other than an old battery I admittedly killed while watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2. It has plenty of power as a 5 speed, if it was an auto it would probably stink, and I notice a significant diference in performance when I have 2 average sized passengers. Weight seems to be a big deal to it. I think it might be common to have the wheels squeal when under load while turning onto a highway etc. The stock stereo had almost no bass so I added a small sub.
This was the best vehicle ive had so far. Only minor repairs to it, and its 14 years old now and still driving it. has some seatbelt issues, but its fun to drive. It lacks some acceleration but what 1997 vehcile isnt ha.
Purchased this car as a graduate from college. It had 19,000 miles on it. It now has right around 100K. I've now got a family of four, but when we were deciding whether to upgrade or not, we realized we couldn't beat the gas mileage. It's the perfect commuter car. It seldom needs work; it's paid off, and when it does need work, when spread out over the year it beats a hefty car payment any day. We've only had one major repair in the entire time we've owned it; replacing the shifting rods to the transmission (manual.) Cost: $700. Other costs were usual wear and tear: tires, upkeep, etc. Highly recommend. We'll drive until it croaks. It will be a sad day when we have to give it up.
Most reliable automobile I have ever owned. Great gas mileage, better than 40 miles per gallon highway and 30 around town. Easy to work on for tune ups, oil change, brakes etc. Spark plug wells tend to accumulate dirt so you have to be careful when you change plugs. Fuel filter could have been in a better place, O2 sensor is a piece of cake. Nice smooth 5 speed. Still have the original clutch. Liked it so much a got a second one used same color too.
I put 109k miles on this car in 13yr. It survived in an accident at 45mph and nobody got hurt. Gas mileage has not changed since day 1. Some oil consumption since last year that needs to top off once between oil change. It has been very reliable otherwise. There was one major repair to replace the wobbling timing chain within the 7yr after market extended warranty. Other than regular oil changes and tune-up, I spent less than $3000 on this car including the cost of extended warranty, deductibles for repairs, 1 after warranty repair, and 3 brake jobs plus ~$900 on two sets of Michelin tires. Just sold it without working AC and rear wiper fluid spray today at 1/8 or original cost.
My EX-son-in-law picked this car for me after my Geo died. For $750, and 187,000 miles, I was VERY skeptical. Not the type of car I would buy, bright red is a little flashy for my 60 yr. old taste. Then everything started to go. The clutch, alternator, brakes, water pump, ball joints, tie rods,I was beginning to think she was EVIL! Put about $1500 into her and then all of a sudden I had this amazingly reliable, great on gas, goes thru any weather vehicle! Christine gave me back the joy of driving with her 5 spd pickup and great handling Sadly, high mileage oil use and 1 bad cylinder has me looking for another vehicle. Even on 3 she has more get up and go than any 4 cylinder car I've had.
I love this car-as a single woman, reliability is a MUST. Of course, I have kept well maintenaced but runs like a trooper. I was broadsided about 4yrs ago by big Chrysler. The policeman & insurance agent both told me the only reason I lived was because of the double steel bars in the door. Still runs great. The clearcoat is starting to peel but the gas mileage is great. I'll drive til it stops.
We bought our Saturn wagon as a family car, but quickly realized that car seats don't fit well in the back seat. And the interior of the car is cramped, to say the least. The seats are extremely low to the ground, making getting in and out of the car difficult. Mechanically the car has performed well, but smaller problems abound: trim coming loose, handles falling off inside the car, the power windows getting stuck, etc. The air conditioner also isn't powerful enough to efficiently cool the back seat. It's a good small station wagon, but not for the claustrophobic and only for someone who is going to take care with the somewhat delicate interior.
Bought from a Saturn dealer about a year ago with 72,000 miles - now at 104,000 with no problems. I wanted a reliable American car with good gas mileage, and that's exactly what I got. I average 38 MPG, and over 40 MPG on trips! (to do this, get the SC1 or SL1 with the single overhead cam, and the manual 5 speed trans) I also find the seats comfortable (yes, they are low and firm). I am 6'4" and 220 lbs. and fit in the car fine. Yes, a couple of little plastic bits inside have broken, but look - this is a 2300 lb. car designed for gas mileage. A little noisy at idle, but very quiet at highway speeds. It's the modern answer to the VW bug - just better!
After last $920 repair, I've had enough! Engine burns oil at 1 qt/500 miles, no leaks, oil changed faithfully at 3,000 miles. Body rattles, no reliability, lousy paint. Second EGR valve, fuel pump, engine mount, 7 PCV valves, O2 sensor, serpentine belt twice, exhaust system. Engine has no power and vibrates like crazy. All this reapir and I can get $1,900 for a trade in. Oh yeah, brand new tiers and front brakes. Saturn again, no thanks!
I love my Saturn. I bought it used and was really worried, but I have had almost no problems with it. The only things wrong with it were caused my me (like driving through a deep puddle and having my battery die) I drive it through the canyons here. It sticks to the road really good and has some kick when I go uphill-not bad for a 4cyinder. The best part-it that it looks really sporty, but isn't expensive. I had one guy call me "Ms. Money bags". I beg to differ...:)The car is awesome. My only concern is-it may not be the best car if you are tall-the rearview mirror can block your vision. Watch out for that..
I really love my Saturn. This is my second and I bought it for the fuel mileage. I bought it at 160k for $1500 and did not problems with it until 180k when the motor lost power. The mechanic said it was probably because the timing belt was not replaced as he had seen that before. I very sadly sold if for $500 and the man who bought it put another motor in it and sold it back to me for $2500. We're at 205k now. A few tanks ago I took it on a 800 mile trip and I got 40.5 mpg highway so I can't complain. About 33-34mpg around town more if your paying attention to mileage. Besides the motor I haven't had to do much to it. It uses oil but that's what Saturns do. Just keep at it. ; )
I bought this car for $100. After replacing the motor mount and a new tensioner, its been running great! It's getting me through law school, and only $20 to fill the tank. I get an average of 35 miles per gallon, and because the body is mostly plastic I don't have to worry about dents from the parking lot. I bought it with 120k miles, and currently at 129k miles. Best decision ever, I'm driving this car into the ground.
I bought my 1997 SW2 with 161,000 miles for $1000.00 in 2016. As I am writing this review, it has 207,000 miles, and still gets great gas mileage. It has only needed minor repairs (Starter, Battery, Water Pump), and I was able to work on it myself. I also hit a deer at 35 mph, and it only cost me $50.00 for a used fender. It only took 45 minutes to install it. It turned 221,000 miles in September, 2020, and it has not needed any repairs since writing my original review.
I have owned a couple of Saturns and they have all been great. I am speaking of the reliable aspect of the vehicle. My first Saturn (1993) I sold to my sister and she still drives it today with 240K on it. My current Saturn has 220K on it. It runs very well and I have to put nominal money into it- just regular maintenance. There is road noise like wind, tire, and engine however. That I can do without. But, when you drive a honda, it is no different. The only difference is the Saturn is American and is much cheaper to repair.
I bought my SC2 with 120,000 miles on it and it has been the best little car. This is my second saturn and i rate the second one higher than the first. I had to put a valve cover gasket and fuel filter in which the cover gasket was the only non-routine thing. SO after about a total of $55.00 and an afternoon under the hood i have a best car. I would NOT recommend visiting saturn dealerships for service. The people in the service department "dance around" the problem and will drive you crazy.
I bought this new and have had it 11 years. Apart from interior damage due to careless kids driving it is a great way of getting from A to B. If it were left to me, Saturn would have only improved the interior design and left the model alone. I still get comments about the "new" car, as on the outside you'd never guess it was 11 years old. Still gets great mileage, and the only money I've spent on it was for a new gear lever part that snapped apart when going into reverse. Just buy brakes, batteries, and tires, and of course, gas! As I said, "wish they still made them."
has 127,000 on it and it has problems weekly my girlfriend has had it in the shop every month since she bought it, Transmission problems, stalls, wont start, speedometer and tach dont read accuratly, radiator leaks, burns a little oil, Headlight plastic discolors over time and makes for a very dim set of headlights. Now about the car it likes to wander on the road sound system stinks ,accelerations is terrible, seats are very very uncomfortable Yet the car was perfectly fine when it was purchased the only good thing about the car is the gas mileage about 27-34 mpg
Bought this car new from Saturn of Albany. These cars have similar problems that go wrong, like coolant temperature sensors/tensioner pulley/burning oil in later years/EGR valve cleaning/ throttle body cleaning/upper motor mount/ etc. These cars are easy to work on and inexpensive to own if you do your homework.. I now have over 180,000 miles on my Saturn and expect it to last another 180,000 miles.
We had to sell our truck when we found out we were going to be parents. We decided to look for a small car that would be good on gas and most important a reliable car. We took a look at this green saturn wagon and decided it was great so we bought it. It has been the best car we could have imagined. It now has 157,000 miles on it and still runs great. I have had to replace the ECT, crank posistion sensor, and just maintaince stuff which if pretty easy on this car. Even with the AT I get 38+ MPG on the highway, and highway driving is almost all I do. It was really nice when gas was 4 bucks a gallon to have this car. The brakes are the second set and still at 40%. I love it
I purchase this vehicle as a "family car". Little did I know that a child car seat does not fit very well in the rear due to the deep scoop of the rear seats. Large amount of side to side movement occurs. Not only that but I traded in my Honda Accord thinking that a Saturn was an equal trade. BOY was I wrong! The ride, handling, feel, and noice level are all smoother in an Accord. My advice, find a nice old Honda Accord Wagon for sale and buy it. You'll save yourself the headache, literally!
When I purchased this car from a private party at 60,000 miles, it had low mileage for its years and was in pretty great condition for its age. Unfortunately time seems to catch up to Saturns with a vengeance. By 70K miles there were issues with various electrical systems and both the rear power windows and the A/C compressor failed, by 75K miles both rear power windows wouldn't raise anymore, and the engine died at 93500 miles, 2000 miles after the last oil change, because the oil change light didn't come on and the car was running rough. BEWARE of electrical issues on older Saturns!! Other than that, it was a little workhorse...in performance mode (not standard).
I purchased the car with 129000 miles and a rebuilt title. It had been rear ended and rebuilt. The day after I bought it I drove over 2500 miles to Alaska and did not have a problem. Drove it back to Utah the long way (over 3500 miles) and then to Arizona and never had a problem. I averaged 38- 42 mpg on the long trips and 32 in the city. The car ran great and I never had any problems. After 1 year and 25000 miles I was involved in a front end collision and they totaled it out. I wish I had it back. I have always had issues sitting in cars for long trips but the seats in it fit me well and I was always comfortable.
My saturn is fast, saft, strong, sporty and sweet. I use to drive a neon so this is a big change. ADVISE: NEVER BUY A NEON NOT UNLESS YOU WANT TO VISIT THE PART STORE & SHOP ON A DAILY BASIS.
Great car. Very reliable and excellent gas mileage.
There is a major problem with Saturn engines from 1991-1997. Manufacturer has a special policy warranty for single cam engines. My 1997 SW2 engine seized at 68,000 miles. Not covered under the policy because dual- cam engine and no single-cam engine.
I bought this car to meet the needs of my new family. Surprisingly, it met my needs too. It is fun to drive yet frugal. It holds everything this family of four needs yet it isn't a boat.
An exceptional little car! This is my second one - I flipped the first one 2X and walked away w/ broken nail and bruised knee. Bought another, immediately. I'm the original owner, 8+ years. No actual mechanical problems (besides sunroof), just normal wear and that's been rare - electronic fuel pump is the only part replaced thus far. Drives well in all conditions. Back seats too small for adults, but fine for kids and carseats. Sunroof no longer working - something w/ cables, fixed it, broke again, left it closed. Power window motor beginning to slow down after 8 years. Wish I could "save" it for my 3 y/o to drive in 13 years! Safe & reliable.
I bought this car last winter when my 93 Cavalier died on me. I was low on money and was looking to get a car that was affordable, reliable, and got good gas mileage. I could not be happier with my purchase. Aside from some hesitation on starting, I've had absolutely no problems. This car gets really great gas mileage, and I'd really recommend it to anyone looking for a practical car to get them through school.
We bought our 1997 SL2 in early 4/97 after giving our 93 SL2 to our daughter for college transportation. The 97 has 130K plus miles on it and still runs like a new one. Had some minor problems with the sunroof after the warranty was over, but it was an easy fix and not grossly expensive. No other major repair problems. We just change the oil every 3K miles and keep it tuned up and it treats us great. The seat comfort is not the best, but the Saturn is a great commuter car. We moved from CA to CO and discovered the SL2 does great in the snow and ice. We also found out that when the ABS does not stop you soon enough, front end repairs are fairly reasonable compared to metal body cars.
I had preiviously been driving a Dodge Neon and compared to that this car is perfect
at about 20,000 miles I cruised into the dealership wondering why my oil light was on! They said to check your oil. I repeated my question..If I get my oil changed every 2500 miles, why am I going through oil???? An automobile historian in town on a talk show clued me when he told me it was a "lemon" engine. They NEVER told me at the dealership!!! I now add oil every 3- 500 miles!!! Lucky me! Never again!
I love to drive this car and it gets great mileage, but we've had more than our share of problems with things going out. Engine mount (40,000 mi), O2 senor (32000 mi) (and it's problably bad again), broken door handle, complete clutch/transmission failure at only 51,000 mi, 3 mufflers and a front pipe, and a leaking axle seal. Maintenance items I don't mind, but too many things have broken on the car that should not have and it has been one of the most expensive cars we've owned maintenence-wise. Too bad, because we would have bought another Saturn if we hadn't had so many serious and unnecessary problems.
The Saturn needs to improve on road ride, and performance. There are lots of nosies and raquet continuaslly. But if you need a reliable every day driver i suggest the saturn.
Good car to drive. Small, but practical. The best car there is.
great reliable daily driver. i have 105k with no unscheduled shop visits yet.
I bought this car used. It was 3 years old and had 35,000 miles on it. It was a great car for the first few years as I put on over 20,000 miles/year. Once the car hit about 90,000 miles it began to fall apart. It had regular oil changes and all the suggested work done. The final straw was the factory alarm system. The alarm has an ignition lockout so can can not start when broken into. 4 trips to 2 dealers (and $500 in other problems) could not find and fix the problem. The car would not start and horn would blast for no reason.
Our Saturn wagon has been everything that the company advertised. After many years of driving Oldsmobiles and Buicks, we decided to try a "sensible car". We wish we'd done it much sooner. The Saturn wagon has been very economical to operate and extremely dependable. We have only had it worked on three times in 71/2 years. One repair was covered by warranty, and the two others cost us a total of only $750.00. We recently purchased a new 2004 Saturn L sedan to take into retirement with us.
This vehicle has been practical, economical, and reliable. With routine servicing only, it's never in the shop. It gets me to work on the coldest days and has cost little in operating, repair, and insurance. No bragging rights, but it's easy on the pocket book. Enough power for the freeway and lively around town. It fits me to a T.
I am driving this car for 9 years (my first car in US). It has 5spd manual transmission. The only repairs I had to do were (1) replaced passenger seat belt at about 42K miles, (2) replaced a part in the transmission ($400 incl. labor). I drove 100k+ miles and it still gives me 28-31 mpg. Over all, it is a great car, very reliable and does not cost much to maintain.
Overall its a great fuel efficient wagon. It has plenty of room/storage space and it has more than served its purpose. I think it just needs to be touched up some. It could ride a little smoother and maybe a little less plastic, however for the price its been nice and with about 100,000 miles its still running great.
Pick the Saturn out the impound like most the cars I get. Paid $500 cash. Car in great shape inside and out. Been driving it for 15 months now with no problems. It's agreat car with gas prices going out the roof. I normally dont care for Chevy prouducts but I will say my hat's off to Chevy on this one. I think I'll keep the car for few more months. Being I don't normally keep cars more then 6-7mnths at a time. This one having such good gas mileage made me keep it around!
Great car for the price and utility. Gas mileage is a definite plus.
I drive this Saturn Wagon, manual transmission, 120 miles daily. It has been completely reliable and sufficient power going uphill. The ONLY thing that has been a problem is that the seats are rather low so there is unneeded wear and tear on one's knees lifting oneself out of the seat. The airconditioner also could have more power. The airconditioner does cool off the car but performance is not above satisfactory.
In short, My 1997 Saturn SW has delivered everything which was expected by me. While not ever accused of being a "head turner" (but no Hondas are either), it it, nevertheless one of the best and reliable vehicles which I have ever owned. And the dealership (Saturn of Monrovia, CA) is also "top drawer." When Asked, "would you ever purchase another Saturn," my answer is always in the affermative. ---Railnuts---
I may have the only wagon w/ manual transmission, and the performance is excellent for an economy car. 71k miles and only repairs were tuneup (scheduled), front breaks (55k miles), the fuel pump (recall) and a loose wire for the reverse lights (free fix @ dealer).