1997 Saturn SL SL2 1.9 from North America


Plastic car with poor drive train.


Alternator died twice.

Starter died.

Power steering died.

Motor was using one quart per 100 mile before the engine was replaced at 181,000.

Auto transmission was slipping at 180,000. Replaced at 181,000. Transmission valve body is now going in new transmission.

Radiator died.

Head liner sagged.

Ignition had to be replaced.

Timing chain guide broke 2 months after replacing it.

General Comments:

Car if fun to drive.

Plastic body panels hold up well.

The car is not reliable at all.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th March, 2005

15th Mar 2005, 12:41

Car is not reliable at all? It has over 180000 miles on it! Overall Saturns are quite reliable for the price paid, especially when compared to their competition. Other than the car burning oil (early Saturns are famous for that) the other problems should be expected with that many miles. Remember what you paid for this car---It isn't a Mercedes or Volvo, so don't expect it to be perfect. At least they are generally cheap to fix.

17th Nov 2005, 09:11

Yeah, 263,000 miles... what a pile. Normally, cars go for twice that.

1997 Saturn SL 1.9L from North America


It has a grocery list of repairs compared to my Honda Civic


Idler pulley- under warranty.

Top of shifting housing leaking- under warranty.

Driver side visor replaced- under warranty.

Right rear door seal replaced- under warranty.

Horn replaced- saturn recall.

Fuel pump replaced- saturn recall.

Front end alignment- under warranty.

Serpentine belt tensioner pulley- $80.

Oxygen sensor (upstream) - $80.

Coolant temperature sensor- $12.

Coolant temperature sensor wiring harness- $34.

Driver side wheel bearing- $80.

General Comments:

Service engine soon light had to be diagnosed many times by dealer. Found out that many national auto parts stores will check error codes for you using a hand held OBD II scanner for no charge to you. Now, when ever the service engine soon light comes on I take the car to an auto parts store and not the Saturn dealer.

Quite a few parts that are causing error codes can be cleaned instead of replaced, such as the exhaust gas recirculating valve (EGR valve)

The car burns one quart of oil every 3000 miles. So I change the oil and filter at those intervals.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th March, 2005

5th Mar 2005, 15:18

You have 129k on it and you expect nothing to deteriorate?

1997 Saturn SL SL2 from North America


Overall, this is a financially sensible car that can sometimes be annoying


I had to replace the alternator a few years ago.

The back power windows will go down, but not come up again.

The power locks have broken on the driver's side.

The remote key chain alarm control broke and would have cost over $50 to fix. (I said forget it.)

After 100,000 miles, the car started burning oil more and more quickly. I need to put in more oil every 800 miles or so.

General Comments:

This car has given me many miles.

The dent-resistant shell is excellent. I got into a head-on collision with a Toyota 4Runner. The front of the 4Runner was smashed in about 2 feet, while the Saturn's shell was barely broken in.

The gas-mileage is excellent. I get over 300 miles per tank. I used to get about 335 miles per tank when this car was younger.

The back seats are not comfortable to sit in.

The "Check Engine Soon" light comes on occasionally. After taking it to a mechanic the first few times and no problem detected, I now ignore it. It soon turns off.

My car has lasted 174,000 miles, which is much longer than any other Saturn than any of my friends have owned.

Changing the oil religiously is key.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th December, 2004

1997 Saturn SL 1.9 SOCH from North America


Cheap and reliable transportation for a person without a lot of money to spend


Before I bought the car the radiator needed to be replaced (a common problem on these cars) and the dealer replaced it for free before I picked it up. The only other thing I have had to do besides oil changes is replace the upper motor mount, which took 10 minutes and only cost $40. I would classify the motor mount as a regular maintenance item.

General Comments:

Great little car, awesome gas mileage. Last tank averaged 37.7 mpg, with the worst tank of fuel coming in at 31.1 mpg and the best at 38.5 mpg. I think on a all-highway trip it would have no problem getting an even 40 mpg. Handling and performance aren't much to speak of, but it is an economy car so don't expect much. I would definitely get the manual transmission for the better fuel economy and performance, as well as the fun to drive factor.

The interior is about average for the class of budget compact cars, and the seats are comfortable for long trips. Everything is easy to reach and accessible, and the inside trunk release is very handy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th September, 2004