1999 Saturn SL Reviews from North America

1999 Saturn SL 1.9 SOHC

Model year1999
Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2013
Engine and transmission 1.9 SOHC Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired72000 miles
Most recent distance151000 miles
Previous carDodge Ram

Summary:

The car is better than I expected it to be

Faults:

Rear wheel cylinders (brakes) at 83,000.

Radiator cooling fan at 121,000.

Idler pulley at 138,000.

Belt tensioner/pulley at 138,000.

Idle air controller at 150,000.

General Comments:

Phenomenal average fuel mileage of 34 MPG in mixed driving with an automatic transmission.

The vehicle has survived a low speed front end offset collision, a low speed rear end collision, and a high speed glancing side brush with an interstate Jersey barrier with surprisingly little damage (right front fender, tire rim, bumper cover all repaired with salvaged parts. The only frame damage is from a rear impact, and that is livable without repair as the trunk still operates normally).

Cabin noise is higher than most cars from engine and road noise.

1.9L SOHC motor is not very quick when mated to the 4 speed automatic transmission. However, I've been able to coax more out of it when I've needed to.

I've driven this car twice across the United States without incident. It's great on level ground. It's not as confidence inspiring in the mountains. And unlike some other reviewers, I think the firm seats are better for very long drives.

What I love about this car is how hardy and surprisingly reliable it has been. Very few repairs outside of normal maintenance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th January, 2013

1999 Saturn SL SL1 1.9

Model year1999
Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 1.9 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.6 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance129335 miles

Summary:

Very suitable for a low/medium income family

Faults:

Driver's seat springs kept breaking.

Replaced motor mount at 58,770.

Replaced oxygen sensor at 65,700 miles.

Replaced master brake cylinder at 75,650 miles.

Replaced air conditioner system at 79,000 miles.

Replaced radiator at 121,850 miles.

Replaced air conditioner system at 123,760 miles.

Replaced alternator at 123,760 miles.

Driver's seat still broken.

General Comments:

After all the repairs, I still get 28 city, & 34 miles per gallon gas.

My Saturn took me up to Canada, down to Florida, far to the west with no problems or worries at all.

There was plenty of space for luggage & other accessories for our trips around the country.

Being cheap on gasoline was a priority, which we appreciated very much, since we have been on a limited budget.

The way the car handled was suitable for me, and also for my wife and son.

Since my wife passed away several years ago, I am keeping my Saturn up to snuff, with repairs that are necessary to keep my small retirement income in check.

If Saturn were on the new market today, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one, having had the experience of actually owning one.

Sounds as though I had a lot of work on my Saturn, but compared to the rest of the cars I've owned, I am grateful for the performance of that vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2012

1999 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 single cam

Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 1.9 single cam Automatic
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired140000 miles
Most recent distance147822 miles
Previous carNissan Pathfinder

Summary:

Wouldn't buy another

Faults:

Well I bought this car used. I thought it was a good deal at the time, but now I know I should have walked away as soon as the owner asked me if I did my own work on cars.

Radiator - cracked.

Cylinder head cracked 147,000.

Bearing 147,000.

Brakes squeal still after pad and rotor replacement.

Lug nut stripped, my fault, I didn't know they where aluminum.

Radio had only two settings, off and all the way up.

Window tracks are junk, they break if you rest your head on them when they're half way open.

General Comments:

In all fairness, it handles decent for a front wheel drive and got great gas mileage. I knocked down 39+mpg in it nearly every tank, and it was just an automatic. It also rode nice compared to the 98 I test drove when new.

I changed the oil and greased everything every 3,000 miles. Despite that, the cylinder head still cracked, which I found out was a defect from the factory on the 98-01 cars. It would suck the oil out of the crack and dump it into the radiator. I put 5qrts of oil into it once to travel 35 miles. It was a good car in good shape (body wise) when I got it, but this a big problem.

All in all, I wouldn't buy another 98-01 Saturn, there are just too many things that go wrong with them for them to be called a good car. And GM screwed up big time with these heads, then they tried to sweep it under the rug. Their recall was to add a bottle of stop leak to the rad and oil. Yeah, good idea GM.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th November, 2010

11th Nov 2010, 20:03

"Window tracks are junk, they break if you rest your head on them when they're half way open."

Well, yes. They weren't designed to support a head when open. All your other complaints are legitimate, but the window mechanism was under abnormal abuse.

Average review marks: 7.2 / 10, based on 47 reviews