1996 Saturn SC from North America


It's a wonderful car that was built with care and I'd love to have it back


Nothing. We had to replace the brakes at the normal time, and tires periodically (but at normal times only).

General Comments:

We owned the car for 8 years, then sold it to my father-in-law, who is still driving it. It has gone back and forth from Ottawa to Halifax about 20 times, to Toronto and back a dozen times, and gave us no problems at any time. It had 280,000 km on it when we sold it, and currently has nearly 400,000 km, and still runs great.

The car was broad-sided at an intersection, hit from behind while parked twice, hit another car that was parked, hit an open man-hole, and hit a bear (yes, a live black bear, that was running across the road in the middle of the night) at 110 km/hr - and the car kept going after EVERY ONE of these.

It had enough power to get it out into traffic with no problem. It was fun to drive. It was good on gas. I told my father-in-law that, when he's done with it, I want it back.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st April, 2007

1996 Saturn SC SC2 1.9 liter DOHC 16v gasoline from North America


Sporty reliable car


Cam cover gasket leaked. Dealer had replaced it for the previous owner less than a year before and they covered it under warranty.

Driver side manual window regulator mechanism had stripped teeth (by previous owner). If your window clicks as you crank it up and doesn't roll up all the way, you need a new one.

Previous owner had messed with the wiring harness, as a result it was pulled up near the pop-up headlights and the opening and closing caused wires to be cut and marker lights and windshield washer pump to stop working. Easy fix.

Rear suspension link seized and needed replacement.

O2 sensor failed at 112,000 miles - cheap to replace.

Radiator end cap leaked, replacement radiator was almost $400. It may have been damaged in a minor accident.

Interior ventilation fan rattles at low speeds.

Cigarette lighter doesn't work - It may be due to corrosion as I've never used it. Found out when a friend tried to charge their phone.

I'm on my 4th horn. Kind of funny because I almost never use it.

General Comments:

The car is very reliable and as trouble free as any car I have ever owned. Aside from the lighter socket, everything still works and works well at almost 115k. I live in the rust belt (upper Midwest) and no rust is a plus - the car still looks almost new.

A mechanic friend told me Saturns are way better built and easier to service than most comparable cars. The engine compartment is pretty easy to navigate, with the only remarkable exception being alternator, which is a bit of a bear to get to.

The oil filter is tough to get to without a lift, so I take it to the dealer for oil changes. Dealer service is good. Before buying a Saturn, you should go to a dealer and have them print the service records so you can see if the car was properly taken care of.

The engine is a bit raspy, but acceleration performance is very good. Fuel economy is also good. In town mileage is 22-25MPG. All highway drives at 70mph give about 33MPG, slightly more on 55mph highways. Overall pretty close to the EPA estimate of 25/35.

The car handles very well, with minimal body roll and very controllable understeer. Poor tires on a poorly maintained vehicle would be the only reasons for a contrary opinion.

Visibility is great, better than any "sporty" car I have driven.

Road noise is low at 55mph, but a bit noisy at 70; but let's face it, this is not a Lexus.

The only other issue I have is that the blinker control stalk is a bit clunky, sometimes when turning off blinkers you have to push so hard that the stalk goes all the way to turn the opposite blinker on. The headlight control is also on this stalk (the end twists) and I have inadvertently turned off the lights a couple times.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st April, 2006

18th Jan 2007, 13:42

What you're describing is almost exactly the same as my SC2. It's also a 96, had the cam cover leak. 02 sensor is out, and consequently the check engine light goes on and off. And I know what you mean about that turn signal stalk!

14th Jun 2011, 23:31

Everything that you said happened to me.

I bought a SC2 Coupe. It's the 2 door one, 1.9L engine. I bought it off someone for 1000$ about 3 months ago, 158000km.

It seemed to run like perfect, but problems kept piling on top of each other. Every time I would fix one thing, something else would break.

But me, since my budget was low, I couldn't afford to take care of my engine and now it's burning mad oil. I have a head cover gasket leak and my car makes beautiful clouds of smoke. Haha. Replaced the O2 sensor like you said, the clicker of the signals like you said happened to me so many times. Turning the lights off by accident during night is bad. LOL.

It's not a car made for tall people. I'm 5'8" and when I have a back passenger, it's really tight in the car.