1997 Saturn SL from North America


Highly dependable, very low maintenance


I have to replace the brake pads regularly (every 2 years).

My starter went out at 85000 miles.

One manufacturer speaker is blown in the front dashboard.

General Comments:

I bought this car from eBay for $4000 in 2001. I was leery because I had never owned a Saturn. I cannot overly state what a good car it is. I have only had to do routine repairs that the manufacturer indicated at certain miles. I do regular maintenance repairs as indicated. I just LOVE my car and am shocked at how well it drives at its current mileage. The seats...yeah...they need to redesign the seats. On long trips they are very uncomfortable, they are bucket seats, but shaped like a slightly tilted "L" it is annoying.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th August, 2005

1997 Saturn SL 1.9 single cam from North America


I would definitely buy another one, but won't buy an Ion.


The disc brake rotors warped, within the warranty period. After having no success getting a dealer to repair them, I repaired them myself.

A serpentine pulley wore out, and this I repaired myself (with a NAPA part).

The fuel pump was failing about 70,000 miles, and the dealer replaced under an extended warranty.

Other than that, I have had no other problems in the 8 years of ownership.

General Comments:

This has been a marvelous purchase. The maintenance is not difficult (except for changing the oil filter, which is buried). In fact, there is little regular maintenance. Parts are not expensive. It seems to be assembled well.

I used Mobil 1 for the first 88,000 miles and changed it about 4,000 miles on average.

It is very cheap to drive, and gets 30 to 40 mpg.

It is not a race car. However, it will easily cruise at illegal speeds all day.

It handles well, stops well, I can't ask for more in a car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th June, 2005

1997 Saturn SL SL1 1.9L from North America


Great car for the money


Alternator went bad 6 years or so after I bought it, although it still could provide enough electrical current to power the car after I jump-started it (couldn't source enough current to charge the battery, so the battery died).

One motor mount went bad somewhere around 85000 miles.

Fuel pump went bad somewhere around 85000 miles. Did not result in a breakdown -- it just extended the crank time when I would try to start.

The cassette player (yes, I'm in the stone age) picks up electromagnetic interference nowadays. When I'm playing a tape, I can hear a tone that correlates to the whir of the engine. My theory is that the new alternator they gave me doesn't have enough shielding or something, and it's inducing a signal in the audio system.

General Comments:

While the engine whir during tape playback is annoying, I'm very happy with the car otherwise. It's never really broken down -- it just needed a jump-start that one time when the alternator went bad. I keep the car well maintained by getting all of the factory-prescribed maintenance at the dealer.

I like the looks of the car. The plastic panels keep it from getting dents.

Paint is still intact after 8 years.

I enjoy the pickup, despite the mere 100 horsepower.

Gets good gas mileage. Up to 35 miles per gallon or so on the highway. Hard to find that kind of gas mileage in newer cars, outside of the hybrids.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd April, 2005

1997 Saturn SL SL2 1.9 ltr. from North America


Will not buy another one. Going to buy high volume vehicle. Cobalt. (GM employee)


Our Saturn is currently on its third alternator, and its second battery.

The ever occurring theme of oil consumption plagues our Saturn as well.

The belt tensioner had to be replaced.

The Service Engine Soon light is continuously on.

The original Power Steering pump leaked and had to be replaced.

General Comments:

Working in the Automobile field for many years, I am not sure what to make of the alternator failures. Maybe being located under the P/S pump and the leakage shorted the original out?

The oil consumption problem is in my opinion the result of how the engine is cast. Very thin and cheaply made.

In our Saturn I believe the Exhaust valve seals are failing.

Next the rings are not controlling oil on the cylinder walls.

The information I have says engine does not have enough material for rebuild.

Finding a used low mileage engine is said way to go.

The Service Engine Soon light is on because O2 sensors are reading inaccurately because of oil in exhaust system. (my diagnosis)

Information I have says not to rebuild but find used engine. Engine does not have enough material for rebuild.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th March, 2005

5th Aug 2007, 12:09

I have an SL-2 with 205000 miles, my wife loves the car, but too small for me. I have cat problem also and oil consumption issue. I figured that use of oil also was setting off service engine light. My issue may be head gasket because I'm losing small amount of coolant. I want to get her a new car, but she loves this one. It has been a good car for us, but I also was looking at a cobalt for her. She wanted a new motor, but I told her I could get the whole car for the price.