1993 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 SOHC from North America


A perfect car for students earning minimum wage!


I bought this car from someone from Canada. The speedometer reads kilometers. It has 143,000 kilometers (93,000 miles) when I got it in 2001. I had it for three years and had some problems. I had changed the aircon condenser in 2002 at 160,000 miles.

The brake calipers were replaced, they were stuck since I bought it. The car will sometimes loose its brake on reverse when you start from "park". Step on the brake hard and it will work when this happens. It eats oil like a pig. I add a quart of oil every 2 weeks and depending on the distance I travel. Windhield defogger needs to be fixed now. The doors that lets air (blower) to the windshield don't fully open maybe. Alternator replaced at 133,000 miles. Changed the struts and made the ride more comfortable.

General Comments:

The car is reliable, it has never stalled since I bought it. It is a light car, but it somewhat accelerates slowly. Handles very well in snow though. It runs on 30 miles per gallon average. This is a reliable car, inexpensive, and runs low on gas. Students would love this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2004

1993 Saturn SL SL1 1.9L SOHC from North America


Rock solid car


New radiator fan at about 60,000 miles.

Rear brake rotors at 80,000 miles, 150,000 miles and need new ones now.

Installed new alternator at about 150,000 miles.

New driver side front wheel bearing at 180,000 miles.

Drivers side door trim is falling off.

Air conditioner hasn't worked since about 100,000 miles.

General Comments:

This is an absolutely rock solid car. My wife bought it new in 1993 before we met. She never had any trouble with it before that. I thought I was lucky getting 205,000 miles out of such an inexpensive car. But after reading other reviews this doesn't sound so wild.

The car is a little bit underpowered, but not dangerously so. You just need to be a little aware of your surroundings.

I love the plastic body panels. The only rust on the whole car is the steel trim piece on the rear door window runners. Pretty impressive when you consider I NEVER wash the thing and I live in snow and salt country.

The car eats rear brake rotors. But I don't think that's all that unusual with cars these days. They are pretty cheap to replace so it's not a big deal.

The car is a bit low. The broken driver side door trim mentioned above is from me catching my shoulder on it when I get into the car.

But the best news of all is I just got 40 miles per gallon out of my last tank of gas. That is downright amazing for a car with this many miles on it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2004

23rd May 2004, 21:02

You may not be a mechanic, but I also own a 93 Saturn SL and it has rear drums. I don't know if it was an option from the factory, but I would like to change mine if your article is true. Please reply if anyone knows anything about this.

26th Aug 2008, 20:52

Yes, the drum brakes are optional. I have a 1993 SL1 and it has all 4 disc brakes, and it is the best running car I have ever owned. Not to mention the gas mileage, it only takes about $20 to fill the tank and I can run on it for about a week.

27th Nov 2009, 22:01

My SL1 has been a dream, costing virtually NOTHING to fix, and needing things very rarely. Yes it does consume oil, but that is the only fault it has. Still awesome mileage and reliability, starting under snowbanks and never even stalling. You could repair it with a bent nail and a piece of duct tape. I will be so sorry to see this superb car go, and yes, I love the dealers. They find me graveyard parts and fix rather than replace. They are so honest. I don't think I will ever find a car as great as an old Saturn. Give your babies some rustproofing too, people!