The Saturn SL1 is unexpectedly robust and reliable
Needed alignments relatively often.
Moonroof track broke at 151K.
Door seals started letting in water at 170K.
Shifter cable bushing went at around 179K.
Driver's door lock switch (plastic) broke at 199K.
Shifter cable needed to be completely replaced at 203K.
Drank a steady quart of oil every 1000 miles for as long as I owned it.
Motor mounts needed replacing at time of sale.
Though I thought I was buying a cheap American heap of GM, I was very much surprised by this car's quality and reliability. There were very few issues that I could not easily attribute to age and normal wear.
The manual transmission gave it enough zip as not to be entirely dull. It provides for very good take-off, and acceptable passing power at high speeds.
Handling is average. The car is responsive and solid on the road, but tilts a lot in corners.
Uneven wear on the front tyres was a constant issue, even after replacing struts and alignment.
The seats were robust and more comfortable than those in comparable small cars.
At 204000 all electrical components were functioning like new, with no problems worse than a blown fuse that was my fault anyway. Even the exterior lights only got replaced due to age, not failure.
The turn radius for a car its size is ludicrous. On most ordinary streets, where any monkey can turn around a small car without mounting the curb, the S series requires a three-point.
The plastic body panels make the car look very good, even at an advanced age.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 23rd March, 2013