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.
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