2003 Saturn L200 2.2L ECOTEC from North America
Reliable and underrated
1) Battery died at 40k
2) Shifter solenoid went bad at 50k
3) Transmission failure at 62k
4) Steering wheel got loose at around 30k and you can hear the screws chilling in there when turning.
5) Right rear window switch does not work. You can still lower it from the front controls.
6) AC vents fell (40k), armsrest broke (35k).
7) Front suspension squeaks since 30k.
8) Flashing dash board 40k.
9) CV joints are leaking and need replacement.
First the pretty part: I must be honest to say this car was not my first choice, but it has really grown on me. I bought it used with 27k on it, and it now reads 62k.
I absolutely love the back styling, which looks somewhat like a Ferrari 456 and an Audi. The fact that very few were sold, it makes it a rare car. The front styling could have used some attention though.
The suspension has been great too, and it can take corners really well.
Gas mileage has been average at 24mpg, which is what Saturn claimed.
The interior is nice, but honestly feels cheap. My boy's Honda Civic 00' has better quality.
The controls are easy to see, and I just love the huge tachometer; I hate those new cars with big engines and tiny tachos.
In general the seats are comfortable, the trunk has been spacious, the sound system is actually good, oil changes are a piece of cake, alignment has been beautiful; the car drives itself and never bother to have it checked. I must say I paid Kia money to get 6 airbags, ABS, 6 Cd changer, and a reliable car.
Now the ugly part: I want to make clear I have dogged this vehicle beyond belief. If cars could talk it'll probably slap me. I have revved and topped the engine in the rain, e-braked and made donuts, and pretty much cross rallied when I felt like it. With all that said, I'm sure any car is bound to have some issues.
The front suspension squeaks when going over speed bumps. Checked and found no leakage.
The steering wheel is loose from somewhere, but since everything is so tight in the column, I figure it has no choice but to stay where it is.
CV axles are leaking, but don't really make a noise.
The transmission began to make a whining noise staring at around 50k. It became noticeable at 60k, and took it to the dealer. Tranny specialist said it was fine, and believed the problem was more serious involving cooling, and the computer messing with the gear changes, he never really pin pointed what it was. Manager believed otherwise, and said it was the output shaft that got banged up. The service writer said he'd seen Saturns go with burned trannies over 100k before the got shot. Either way I'm stuck with $1200 on bills. It comes with a warranty, so if it doesn't work, it's now someone else's headache.
Like I said, with all that abuse, it never left me on the side of the road and started every time.
I am almost done with the car loan, and I am looking forward to buy my next Saturn. It will probably be an Aura or the new 08's Vue.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th June, 2008