2000 Saturn SC 2 1.9 DOHC from North America


Reliable but uninspiring experience


Water pump failed. $700 repair.

EGR failed.

Brakes failed.

Intake gasket failed.

Clutch shudders; has for 2 years.

Sunroof does not work.

A/C does not work (bad clutch solenoid).

Key will only open driver's door.

Getting 8 MPG.

Starter has been going out for the last year.

Head gasket is ready to fail completely.

Oil/coolant smoke from exhaust when idle for more than a minute.

General Comments:

This is going to sound strange, but I do love this car.

I am going to openly admit, the failures are due to my lack of maintenance, before anyone says anything to that effect. But let me explain.

Everything failed pretty much within a few weeks time. Total repair cost is going to exceed 2500$; an upfront cost I really cannot afford to undertake. So it's getting replaced.

The SC2 is the best overall design. DOHC is the better way to go. Don't bother hoping for a sunroof; they always break, and mine thankfully broke in the closed position.

By nature they do consume oil; about a quart every 2-3k miles.

They can be very expensive to fix when something fails, but the car is very forgiving. Even with all of the above, I still drive it to work and back just fine. 10 miles a day. If you just need very basic transport very cheap, any Saturn that starts, runs in a straight line and stops will be OK. I've seen them for as low as 500$ on CraigsList. It's cheaper than taking a bus or taxi all over the place, but if you are looking long term, have your mechanic (not the GM dealer) check it out. Focus on checking compression and leak down tests, as well as fuel pressure testing on pre-purchase inspection. These are the main areas that will give you lasting grief. The rest is piffle for someone willing to fix everything over time. The forums are your friend!

The stereo is amazing in Saturns, always has been since day one. For a stock radio I'm shocked. Since I sit in traffic, it actually matters to me. If the radio has been replaced with aftermarket, they tend to be meh.

It should be noted, this car will never be capable of being a "modders paradise". You can get the stock performance up to comparable models, but think about it, if you buy one for 2k, spend another 2k in mods to get it to perform like a Honda/Acura/stock Focus, you should have spent the 4k buying a Honda/Acura/Focus... bone stock it corners with about as much grip as a Buick LeSabre from the same era.. I have no clue why, the suspension on mine is perfect and it's never been in an accident. Had it checked several times... it's just how they are.

They are meant to look cool and be reliable. Not much else.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th February, 2013

2000 Saturn SC 2 1.9 DOHC from North America


Take it or leave it - best coupe for the price


A/C compressor (internal solenoid) at 145,000.

Water pump / thermostat at 146,000.

Ignition lock cylinder at 148,000.

Starter at 149,000.

Sunroof at 149,000.

Clutch - soon.

General Comments:

I purchased the car in remarkable physical shape. Body lines were clean, suspension is tight, smooth idle, stock CD/Tape sounds magnificent for roughly $2,000.

Overall, I would say that it takes some time to get use to the car's interior. The 3rd door is invaluable when making small grocery runs, or picking up friends at the airport.

A friend of mine had a similar model, but I believe it was a little older. In his, the backseat was an afterthought and largely unusable. I've not had a problem placing friends who are 6ft tall in the back seats for short trips.

Overall performance is good. It's pretty easy to look down at the speedo, and find that you are doing 90. Hills here in Southern California are an issue. A 4% or greater grade will have you stuck in 4th at high revs to keep the speed much above 60, and 5th is useless without the air conditioning turned on.

Getting around town, acceleration is respectable. I take off hard from the line, and generally run above the speed limit, even at my age, and while I wish there was more kick, it gets me around enough. It can handle prolonged runs above 110mph, so for an eco box, I dig it.

I would take this over pretty much any other car in its price range/class, but I would avoid the automatics. If this car was hampered any further, it really would be a drag to drive.

Handling is... fun =) Slides are predictable and easily controlled going around twisty roads. Stopping distance is amazing. Cornering takes some skill, but can be quite rewarding. A sharp right turn at 40MPH is possible, but there will be some 4 wheel slide associated with your aggression.

Things you can't / should not do:

- Install a body kit - more weight and drag = crap performance.

- Don't bother seeking massive performance gains. You might get an extra 20hp or so, but this is not a choice performance chassis.

- Don't forget to join forums and ask questions about this car. If it seems like a dismal POS, there's probably a simple fix for it. Google "Saturn forums"

This is a car that is often overlooked. Personally, it's not my favorite, but I can't find any major faults. It handles better than a similar year Civic. It feels solid, and the steering gives you a strong sense of what the car is doing at all times.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th March, 2012

30th Mar 2012, 00:27

Ah, the teenage years. I remember them well. Buying 10+ year old high mileage beaters. Stuff breaking every 1,000 miles and the car is still somehow "the best". Drive it at 110, even though it should never be driven like that. I look back on those days and laugh, but am grateful I have the ability to buy half decent cars now that I'm older.