1996 Saturn SL from North America


Good little car gets a bad rap


Nothing major.

General Comments:

Not sure why there are so many bad reviews for this little car. Mine has been very good to me. Purchase price was very cheap and mine was even better as I bought it a year old with low kms.

Do not complain about performance on this car as performance is not what this car is about. This car is about low fuel consumption and low operating cost.

Agreed, the deficiencies are there in the rusting doors, poor fit and finish, road noise etc, but what do you want for the price. There are better options out there, but be prepared to pay for it.

When I bought this car I looked at all the major competitors and found this to be the best value for the buck and the biggest size car for the gas mileage.

The biggest sell for me was how roomy the car was for its advertised 50 mpg. Nothing came remotely close.

As for the reliability, maybe I have been one of the lucky ones, but I have had nothing, but routine repairs like brakes, mufflers etc..

I will say though that the ridiculous emission sensors are annoying and expensive to have replaced.

And they force you to take them in to get serviced unless you have the specific tool to gain access to it.

This planned obsolescense annoys the hell out of me, but all the manufactures do it.

How can I dislike a car that has never left me stranded, always starts even on the coldest days, and doesn't break the bank when I fill up at the pump.

I can live with the deficiencies.

(just an end note: with the plastic panels I have no visible rust and the car still looks great when cleaned up)

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

Review Date: 16th October, 2007

1996 Saturn SL 2 1.9L DOHC from North America


Find a good one and it might last


Air conditioning failed at 100 kilometers.

Rear disk brakes seized at 60,000 kilometers.

Valve cover gasket replaced at 100,000 kilometers.

Alternator failed at 140,000 kilometers.

Starter motor failed at 130,000 kilometers.

Four batteries in 10 years.

Side window seals leaked water constantly.

The odometer died at 60,000 kilometers.

Engine seized at 185,000 kilometers.

General Comments:

This car was actually a great deal of fun to drive. The 16 valve DOHC engine with the manual transmission provided lots of acceleration in town. On the highway the road noise and constant wind noise from the side windows made it unbearable.

The front seats are uncomfortable and the rear has very little leg room. Visibility is good, and the plastic body panels mean the car always looked new.

This car was not cheap to maintain however. Parts are expensive and hard to get. There is no Saturn dealer in the town I live in, so everything has to be ordered in. In some cases, special tools are required.

The four-wheel disk brakes with ABS are excellent, but the pads wear quickly. One of the rear disks seized at 60,000 kilometers.

I probably would have maintained this car for several more years. Sadly, the engine seized - despite oil changes every 3 months - and a rebuilt will cost over $4,000. Motor parts are very expensive. I have found a mechanic who is willing to rebuild the engine at a reasonable cost, so it will be back on the road at some time.

Strangely enough, I bought two Saturn SL2's new in 1996, and the second one has been completely problem free. It has had the battery replaced once and one motor mount. So it seems that one was a lemon and the other was not.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th August, 2007

1996 Saturn SL SL1 from North America


I'm glad I got this car, it served its purpose


Headliner dropped.

Comsumes oil. Have to add a quart about every month.

General Comments:

Very reliable car for me. I took this for long distances without any problems. Doesn't look all that great, but got me to points A and B.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th April, 2007