My 1996 SC1 was the perfect first car. Mechanically sound and reliable, the coupe was a fun car to drive.
My only gripe with the car was its rather meager 100 horsepower engine. Since the car had a 5-speed manual transmission, it performed when it was absolutely necessary, but I'd prefer a little more bang out of the engine.
The car was great on gas and, for all extensive circumstances, very economical, considering I'm a high school student with a part-time job. Responsible for paying my car insurance in full, along with gas, and any maintenance the car required, this car's reliability made what seemed to be an impossible economic situation a very feasible reality.
Most importantly, I strongly recommend a Saturn SC coupe to anyone because of it's safety. I was in a moderate to severe accident early this year. I was sober and blacked out; the doctor's do not know why. In any event, I hit a tree on the front, driver-side of the vehicle at approximately 35 miles per hour; the exact speed is unknown as no one witnessed the accident. The car spun 360 degrees and finished a good 40 feet from the tree I had initially hit. From the force of the impact, my engine block shifted 6 inches. Both driver and passenger airbags deployed and the car performed perfectly in the accident. Sadly, my car was totaled and would never see the road again. The impact was incredible and left tremendous damage on the car. However, I walked away from this accident with only a minor concussion and 5 stitches from banging my head on the window during impact. The newer Saturn SC coupes with side airbags would have prevented both the concussion and the mild head injury, and I would have walked away without a scratch. Needless to say, this Saturn saved my life, of course along with wearing a seat belt.
Without hesitation, I strongly recommend a Saturn SC coupe to any potential car buyer. New or used, the SC will provide you with an enjoyable ride, and you can be sure that in the case of a freak or severe accident, this car will save your life.