1995 Saturn SL 1 from North America


An affordable, and reliable car for younger drivers


Driver's side leaks.

Steering wheel recently started to lock up on me (non power steering model)

Burns a lot of oil.

General Comments:

Gets good gas mileage.

Not all that comfortable for long trips.

Performs well (until steering wheel problem occurred)

Even for being a stripped down model, I love driving it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 17th April, 2003

1995 Saturn SL SL2 from North America


An economical pleasure to drive


I'm going by memory of the car - it's my parents' car, but I drive it extensively when I'm home from college. My mileage figures are approximate, and my figuring on the repair costs etc. are approximate based on what I hear from my father.

The car eats brake rotors. We had to replace rotors every 3000 miles, give or take. We tried the OEM Bendix rotors, and the less expensive aftermarket rotors. It made no difference. We'll probably cough up to buy high-performance slotted discs from an online distributor.

There's a bit of rust under the lip of the rear decklid.

The driver's seat is somewhat worn; the fabric has held up nicely, but the padding is starting to feel a bit thin.

General Comments:

The car handles very nicely, and has good road feel.

The steering is tight, responsive, and not excessively over-assisted by the power steering system.

The driver's seat has a switchable lumbar support boost. It fits my 5'11" father perfectly; the ridge sits a little too high on my back for comfort. (I'm 5'7" and long of limb.) Without the lumbar support, the seat doesn't give me quite the support I want, so after long trips I sometimes have some minor lower-back pain.

The seating position in front is very low to the ground. Some drivers may find this uncomfortable. I don't mind it, though - it feels sporty.

The engine is peppy and lively, and the car has good off-the-line acceleration. However, it burns a considerable quantity of oil, and has since my father bought the car at around 60,000 miles.

The transmission is easy to operate, with an even (if long-throwing) clutch and good stick feel. The SL2 uses the same gearing as the SL1, though, so I tend to feel as though it's geared a bit too low. I'm usually in 4th gear by 20 miles per hour, and can run comfortably at 32 on level ground in 5th gear. At 65-70mph, I feel like the engine is revving higher than it needs to, adversely affecting gas mileage.

We have the standard Saturn stereo/cassette system. The sound is decent, but uninspiring, and certainly can't do justice to a Mahler symphony (although few car stereos can).

Overall, the car is pleasant to drive, and gives a feeling of solidity that is well-appreciated in a compact car. Just be aware that these cars do tend to burn some oil, and that you may have trouble with brake rotors warping or wearing unevenly, causing pulsing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th April, 2003

11th Jan 2004, 13:35

5th gear at 32mph??? wow... my friends are amazed that I ride in 5th at about 37mph in my 95 SL2.

29th Apr 2004, 16:35

The brake rotor problem sounds more like an entire braking issue. Perhaps new calipers or a different set of pads are in order.

Saturns do tend to eat more oil than most cars at around 75,000. Depending on the oil and weight used.

The gearing is strange to me as well. I have never heard such a thing. 20 MPH in 4th, wow.

Good review though.

12th May 2007, 21:02

I'm a mechanic, and the only time I have seen your brake problems is when the rear brakes are not properly adjusted, in turn making the fronts do all the work, or some GM's, caliper slides, need to be cleaned as they stick on therefore causing uneven wear, really its something that should be checked by your trusted mechanic to be sure.