1993 Saturn SC SC2 1.9L DOHC from North America
Incredible performance, amazing value
Broken ball joint (front passenger)
Broken front axle.
Broken tie end rod.
Transmission, clutch and engine went at 198K miles.
Windows fell out of track.
Numerous minor broken pieces of plastic on interior of vehicle due to cheap construction.
First off I would like to point out that all problems with the car were a direct result of me doing something I shouldn't have. The tie end rod, axle and ball joint were all damaged when I hit a curb sideways at roughly 45 MPH. The engine, transmission and clutch went after I raced a F-150 and a Mazda B4000 pickup through a swampy 4 mile course of four wheeler paths.
That being said, I would like to point out that this is easily my favorite of any car I've driven (including a Porsche 924S, Jaguar XJ8, Subaru SVX, and a Nissan 240SX).
This car won't win any quarter miles, unless its filled with twists and turns. The 1.9L in-line 4 only produces 120 HP, but that's plenty to get the lightweight fiberglass car moving. It can really move and maintain speed once you get it going. Coming out of a back-road onto a stretch of straight highway I managed to top out the speedometer (135MPH) at 4000 RPM's. Although, if the total weight of persons in the car exceeds around 300 lbs. you can feel a significant degradation in performance.
The real beauty of this vehicle is in the handling. Passengers will literally become motion sick with the maneuverability of this car. Two days after purchasing it I managed a 90-degree power-slide turn at 80 MPH.
Earlier I stated the car had cheap construction. This by no means suggests that the vehicle was poorly built. In two years of ownership, I put 55K miles on the car with constant redlining and off-road racing. Under normal driving conditions the SC2 could easily put a Honda to shame for durability.
The fiberglass construction of the car not only lends itself to a lighter weight, but also makes the body nearly impenetrable to dents. After 11 years and 200K miles, the only dents in the vehicle were on the hood (which is steel).
Finally, the only two bad points about the SC2. Comfort and winter driving.
The interior, although well designed is only comfortable if you are the driver. Unless you're 5' tall, you will be constantly hitting your head off the ceiling and knees off the dash/back of seats. My brother, who is 6'3", literally had to put his head through the moon-roof in order to sit in the car. If you're driving on the other hand, the car feels like it was built around you. Drop it into first gear for the first time and you won't be able to help, but drive it like a Formula 1.
My other gripe is about winter driving. The back end of this car is so light that as soon as you hit wet pavement, snow or ice, you begin to fishtail. To remedy this, put a 50 or 100 lbs sandbag in the trunk just behind the rear wheel wells. Otherwise, you might find yourself spinning out in snow at a measly 15-20 mph.
My last note is that not all SC's are created equal. The SC1 is a low power commuter car. It has a SOHC version of the SC2's engine that produces an anemic 99 bhp. They're nice for commuting to and from work or school, but they in no way give the driving thrill of the SC2. Also, the 5 speed version gives you much more of a driving thrill than the automatic. The 5 speeds are much more difficult to find though as when people get one, they seem to run them until they die.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd July, 2004