2002 Saturn SC SC2 1.9 L4 from North America
Not a Porsche, but not a Yugo either..
Shifter cable housing became detached from its mounting point at 22000 miles, preventing shifting into any gear other than 1st. Covered under warranty.
Clutch slave cylinder failed at 33000 miles, causing very stiff shifting on cold days and made it impossible to get the car into reverse. Replaced under warranty.
Carrier bearing in right front wheel started emitting a high-pitched squeal at 77000 miles.
Radiator replaced at 89000 miles after a four inch long crack was found in the plastic (on the sides, the core is aluminium) directly under the system's pressure fitting during a routine service.
This was my first new car and as such I was stuck with something under $16000 US. I bought the car at the height of their 0% financing craze and am very thankful that I did, as the difference in the interest that I saved has easily covered the nearly $1400 in repair bills by failing components.
I like this car for several reasons: decent acceleration, good fuel mileage (33mpg on average) and excellent handling. I'm also quite fond of the styling, and the interior (though stark in the black on black combination I have) is comfortable and has worn relatively well.
What I do not like about this car: The dealer service was absolutely abominable and on both occasions where a warranty repair was needed I had to threaten litigation to get it fixed, as neither fault could be attributed to abuse of any sort whatsoever.
Furthermore, the boot is just too small for a college student/photographer, and the rear seat is a joke. Alas, I fear further reliability issues after replacing a radiator at 89000 miles (this is, ideally, something that should not need replacing at all so soon) and am already seeking a new car for when this one is paid off.
I can recommend the SC2 but only if it is checked out by a very good (and possibly obsessive-compulsive) mechanic for the aforesaid faults, as otherwise one is liable to fall into a very deep money pit with one of these.
Finally, I too have been experiencing the condensation in the headlights, and I believe that the problem lies with the seals around the bulbs, as the unit itself will not leak from the main seal when filled with water (I tested this.)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 20th December, 2006
I also have had similar problems with my 2002 SC2. Such as a serpentine belt, black gunk on the weater vanes every few months, transmission problems from drive to reverse, cracked headlight housing, etc.
More than one dealership would "pretend" they could not duplicate the problems. Although, another mechanic would clearly point out problem, regardless if I had told they what the issue was. I think the dealerships wanted to make $ off of a naive woman.
For example, the serpentine belt went bad. I left the car overnight and the dealership could not duplicate the problem the next day. I took my car for an oil change later on at Lube Express & they told me it was obviously the serpentine belt. I fixed it right on the spot, for a good price.
My advice to future customers is as follows:
1. make sure you get a very good price
2. make sure you get an extended warranty
3. do not get oil changes or tune ups at the dealership
4. get a second opinion on problems with the car
5. know that the parts for the car are cheap, don't let them rip you off
6. understand that it is a good car, but it will not last long
7. you must drive carefully and go easy with the car
8. the transmission goes fast = really expensive.