I had my heart set on a Honda Civic until I found this car - and have been a very happy owner since. I've had only one minor repair apart from the sunroof (which I rarely use and when it broke for the second time I didn't bother to fix it) in 7 years. The paint still looks new and shiny despite the harsh desert sun and freezing mountain ice. I drive four miles of rough dirt road every day to work and back and the car is so tightly built there is almost no rattling, and it handles washboard very smoothly.
Easy to drive, still get 38 MPG after 7 years, paint still looks new, very little mechanical problems, feel safe on ice and snow. Roomy trunk.
Hard to get in and out of if you have bad knees (sports design) seat belt is not adjustable to driver's height and sits high, sun roof prone to failure, trunk design has two large hinge arms that can crush your stuff if you're not careful. So sorry they don't make them anymore!
I have owned this car for a few months now. I recently drove it to North Carolina and averaged over 50 mpg! it has 79,500 miles on it. it is a 5 speed. This car is great on gas, but kinda stinks for comfort on the long drives.
My wife and I bought the SL1 to pull behind our motorhome, and it's great for that. You honestly don't know that light car is back there. We also use the car to ride back and forth to work because of the fuel economy. It's been a very reliable car with no reportable problems after 80,000 miles. My only complaint is the hampsters under the hood instead of horses. I'd trade a couple miles per gallon to get a little more power. The fastest the car has ever gone has been with the engine off getting a tow behind my motorhome. Sad but true.
I have owned a 2001 SL1 for almost 7 years, and it has never given me problems. I have 115,000 miles on it. I kept up with regular maintenance and everything is fine. The only reason I am about to sell it or trade it in is because I can afford a car I really want. I will admit I didn't want to buy the SL1 (body lacks style), but for a petite person like me (5'0") with limited funds (I was a graduate student at the time), the SL1 was perfect. Gas mileage is great: 37mpg (99% of my driving is freeway). If you are looking for a reliable used car, the Saturn SL1 is perfect, as long as you are sure that the previous owner kept up with the regular maintenance.
It was my first brand new car. 2 months later, after 2 days of nonstop rain, I literally flooded it. Towed to Saturn, and 2 days later, had my car back good as new. No musty smell either. 4 yrs later, I rear-ended a truck. I had only cosmetic damage to my front end. I had 144,000 miles on it when my temperature sensor went bad. 145,000, water pump started leaking. Other than that, before that, no major problems. I am horrible at maintenance, I don't keep up with oil changes, or filter changes. The serpentine belt was just changed at the same time as the water pump, and was still in decent condition. This car has been extremely reliable. I'm gonna cry when I finally have to trade it in!
I love the style, and I love the 3rd door. That's been so handy. I love the folding rear seats, and sunroof.
Comfort. I heard numerous complaints that my car was uncomfortable, though to me, driving, it was fine. Oh, and power. The car doesn't have much get up and go, especially if the a/c is on.