2000 Saturn S-Series Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Dealer sales and service experience, composite dent- and rust-resistant body panels.
  • Poor seating position and comfort, flimsy interior materials, weak standard equipment list.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$935 - $2,162

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Few cars on the market go a decade without a major redesign -- for a reason.

Vehicle overview

Saturn's small cars have enjoyed quite a following over the years, proving both fun to drive and reliable. And Saturn dealers have almost single-handedly sparked a retail revolution that emphasizes the ownership experience over sales commissions. Unfortunately, we want more from Saturn, such as more comfortable seats and better quality switchgear and interior trim.

For 2000, Saturn is freshening the looks of its SL Sedan and SW Wagon, and holding off on changes to the SC Coupe. The ding-, dent- and rust-resistant polymer exterior panels have been restyled from the beltline down, giving SL and SW models a contour line that runs the length of the vehicle for a more angular appearance. The SC Coupes, which are scheduled for a facelift early in 2000, still come with the driver's-side third door, providing better access to the back seat.

Inside, the small sedans and wagons get a new, one-piece instrument panel cover, eliminating miscolored plastic pieces and ill-fitting seams, as well as a redesigned console for improved ergonomics. Other changes aren't as noticeable, such as the adoption of some componentry from the new L-Series cars to reduce costs through parts commonality. Unfortunately, the seating position remains low to the floor, while the seats themselves feel too flimsy for long-haul comfort.

Two engine choices are on the S-Series roster, a 100-horsepower, 1.9-liter four-cylinder or a twin-cam version of the same that generates 124 ponies, with either a five-speed manual or four-speed auto box. Long accused of having buzzy engines, Saturn redesigned the reciprocating internals in '99 to bring some refinement to these otherwise acceptable powerplants. We find the twin-cam engine makes for a less-pedestrian sedan or wagon, and is a must if you plan spirited driving in your SC2 Coupe. Sadly, Saturn last year moved to rear drum brakes on all models, replacing the rear discs that had been available on upmarket versions with the optional ABS.

Sedans can be had as a base SL, midrange SL1 or uplevel SL2; wagons are available as the standard SW1 or high-end SW2. Coupes come as the basic SC1 or sportier SC2. Be aware that the standard equipment list is short on all base versions and that features are not packaged well enough to sell you on the midrange models. That means you may be forced into pricey, high-end versions to get the kind of equipment you really want, which puts the price near some imports. Packaging aside, Saturn's excellent dealer network, money-back guarantee, customer-first philosophy and reputation for reliability make it hard to go wrong with the S-Series cars.

2000 Highlights

Saturn has redesigned the body panels and cockpit of its S-Series SL Sedan and SW Wagon this year. GM's OnStar communications system will now be available as a dealer-installed option across the Saturn line.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2000 Saturn S-Series.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Engine stops
wilson,06/01/2010
Great auto except now at 75,000 miles engine stalls after 15 min of drive time and i need to shut motor down. Wait 15 -- 20 min restart and resume my short trips. What would cause the engine to stall and after a wait it start up and away I go? Some 30 years ago I know vapor lock was a problem on some cars. My problem appears to duplicate that problem.
This car will not Die (+200K miles, sarcasm,dated)
just Ed,06/04/2016
SL2 4dr Sedan
This car is a moneymaker. My goal at this point is to have it safely erupt in flames, so I am forced out of my shell of practicality. It has been SO reliable for 16 years, gotten me to and from work, and is now teaching my children the finer aspects of the shift stick. Seriously, this will be the most reliable and trustworthy car in my lifetime.
Doesn't Get Much Better
tisea,07/07/2013
I purchased this car with 137,000 miles on it, and drove it until it had well over 300,000 miles (until it was totaled in a high-speed accident). If it hadn't been totalled, I would have driven the car until it just wouldn't go any longer, which I imagine would have been for a very long time. I did regular maintenence on the car, like oil changes, changing fuel filters and the like. The only extraordinary thing I had to do was change the water pump. The car never broke down on me, left me standing on the side of the road, or anything of the sort. In a four-year period, I reguarly made trips between The East Coast and Texas without any issue, and cross-country trips. It's an incredible car.
You couldn't kill this thing if you tried...
orinocoflow1,12/10/2013
As I write this review, it is December, 2013. My parents purchased me a 2000 Saturn SL1 in 2004 for my first car. I was 17 years old then and I'm going on 28 and I still own this car. When they purchased the car for me it had around 40,000 miles. Cut to today: the car has 248,673 miles and still runs the same as the day I got it. So in 10 years I've owned the car the only major thing that has happened was with the timing chain. It messed up one night and I was left stranded at work. It cost $900 to fix the head of the motor that was cracked when the timing chain jumped time. That was it. Besides regular car maintenance (oil, tires, etc.) I've never had any problems out of it.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2000 Saturn S-Series features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger2 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2000 Saturn S-Series

Used 2000 Saturn S-Series Overview

The Used 2000 Saturn S-Series is offered in the following submodels: S-Series Sedan, S-Series Coupe, S-Series Wagon. Available styles include SL1 4dr Sedan, SC1 3dr Coupe, SL2 4dr Sedan, SW2 4dr Wagon, SL 4dr Sedan, and SC2 3dr Coupe.

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Should I lease or buy a 2000 Saturn S-Series?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Saturn lease specials
Check out Saturn S-Series lease specials