Brakes - Replaced the front rotors when I purchased the car. At 11000 miles they needed to be replaced again, and the rear brakes also needed work to avoid steering wheel shake.
Exhaust - hole in exhaust - repaired at 90K - returned at 110K.
Engine compression very poor at 90K - dealer inspected and improved seal between cylinder and spark plugs - engine had zip again.
Tie rod bent at 90k - replaced by dealer.
Aluminum wheels corroded from salt - cleaned by dealer.
As other SL owners attest - the car does not burn oil, no blue smoke, yet the oil will vanish mysteriously - I change it every 3k, and sometimes get a top-off in between.
I have really enjoyed this car - though now I am thinking about replacing it due to age and general need for repeated repairs.
The size is small, but the seats fold down and this is nice. It's a lot of fun to drive - like a little go-cart. But it is loud.
Both myself and the previous owner did all regular maintenance, and kept up with other problems on the car. But I live in Cleveland, Ohio - and this car lives outside - so it takes a beating from potholes, and the cold and snow in winter.
Though I mostly use private mechanics, I have gone to the dealer for more complicated problems - engine compression, tie rod - the dealer was great. Too bad Saturn closed - the original dealer is gone now.
Here's how the car compares to a similar vehicle I've owned.
Dodge Neon 2000 - stolen incidentally - The Neon had a nicer interior (fit and finish and stereo), but the Saturn's engine, transmission and handling are much, much better. Actually the Neon would stall out, even though it was an auto with only 40K on it. The Saturn has a solid drivetrain.