1996 Saturn SC SC1 1.9 SOHC from North America


Reliable, has few problems for a high mile car. Great gas mileage!


Driver seat has ripped/losing stuffing.

Water pump went out ($30 replace).

Starter wouldn't start in the heat ($104 replace).

Upper front interior lights broke ($20).

Seat handle on driver side to pull seat forward came off (fixed with a screw).

Interior light won't turn off when the door shuts (wiring).

Window motor/switch to passenger window makes a grinding sound/ won't go up by itself ($64 replace).

Trunk latch breaking off.

General Comments:

I have always loved Saturns; they are really dependable and they have always had great gas mileage!

My fiance had a 93 Saturn SL1, and he never had any problems with it. I heard 96 and up Saturns aren't as reliable as 95 and under.

I got my Saturn as a graduation gift in June 2009 with 199,000 miles on it, and at the time only had one problem (the starter.) Since then my water pump went out. I've replaced all of the above problems except starter and water pump, but it is my next thing on my to do list. I expect any car at 200,000 miles to have problems, but for that many miles it could be a lot worse. I plan on fixing it and driving to college and keeping it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th August, 2009

1996 Saturn SC SC2 1.9 I4 DOHC from North America


Excellent, reliable commuter


Valve cover gasket at 100k.

Water pump at 155k.

Catalytic converter at 155k.

Clutch at 178k.

General Comments:

We have had this 1996 Saturn since it was new, and it has had very few repairs in its long life. It has never left me stranded. Even when the clutch went out it was still drivable. The Saturn starts right up in below zero temperatures with barely any effort. I commute to work daily in the Saturn (40 mile round trip), and it still returns 34 mpg on the highway.

So long as you change the oil regularly and don't abuse it, this car should last a long time.

As is the case with most Saturns of this vintage, the engine does burn oil - between 1.5 and 3 quarts between oil changes. I make sure to check the oil level every time I fill the tank. As long as you keep it full, this shouldn't be a problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th March, 2009

21st Mar 2012, 17:38

Original poster here. I donated the Saturn today to charity with almost 209,000 miles on the clock.

About 10,000 miles ago, the car developed an idle control issue, and the timing chain is loudly rattling. Mechanic tells me it could break at any time, so rather than sink the $2,000 worth of repairs into this older car, we have purchased a newer vehicle.

All things considered, the Saturn cruised right on up to 200,000 miles with hardly a problem. Aside from normal maintenance, it has cost us less than $3,000 in repairs over 16 years. This is without a doubt the most reliable vehicle I have owned.

I will truly miss it, in fact I already do.

7th Oct 2012, 13:18

I am not looking forward to the day I have to say goodbye to my Saturn, either. My 96 SC2 currently has 180,000 miles. Hasn't caused me any major problems. Minor repairs, such as the starter, upper engine mount worn out, etc. Issues with the trunk, window motors, and outside door handles. Everyone keeps asking me why don't I get a newer, more reliable car, but they don't understand just how reliable and great this car is! It has never broken down on me either!

1996 Saturn SC 2 from North America


It is a reliable car that gets me from point A to B with very few issues


Within the past 3 years or so I have replaced things such as the catalytic converter, and had to have many things repaired (gaskets, cylinders, valves, etc).

The temperature sensor has been screwed up for years, and I have been replacing coolant for years, but the light will not go off. But since I know that I have new coolant, I don't worry too much about that.

The ceiling cloth was not tightly attached to the car top, and I had to staple it back up so it does not affect me seeing out the rear windshield (very minor defect).

General Comments:

When I bought my 1996 Saturn SC2 used in 2000, it had about 96,000 miles on it, and now in 2009 it has 133,000. I have had my share of problems, but the way I see it, what car is perfect. Everybody has something to say about the amount of repairs they make. Considering the age of the car compared to the amount of miles on the car, I think it was well worth making the repairs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd February, 2009