1997 Saturn SL SL1 1.9L from North America
This is not a high performance car, but it is very economical, and reliable!
Nothing much has gone wrong with this car.
One time my battery went dead and the theft deterrent system was incidentally activated. Since I never used it I didn't know what was going on. This system is useless and user-unfriendly. Don't get it unless you need it.
I needed a tune up at about 70000mi. Which included, but didn't necessarily need O2 sensors, they were corroded and since I was working on the car I decided to replace them. My tune up involved the following: New Spark plugs and wires, removed and cleaned fuel injectors, new fuel filter, new oxygen sensors (front and back), replaced all worn and weathered hoses, and cleaned throttle body.
I also needed to renew the brake pads at about 50k. I've never messed with the rear breaks.
My advice is to buy a new Saturn. Keep it maintained, and my guess is that it will last you well over 150k to 200k miles easy.
Stuff happens; from what I've heard gaskets may crack, and cylinders may leak at around 100k miles. If you can work on cars it is extremely easy access to replace head gasket and renew piston rings. Even if you have to remove the engine for something such as trans-axle problems; it's easy to do.
Buy this car new, or used and well maintained. Keep it maintained well while you own it and it will be well worth the investment.
PS MAKE SURE ALL BOOTS ARE KEPT IN GOOD CONDITION. DIRT DESTROYS BEARINGS CV JOINTS, CLUTCHES, AND MUCH MORE. It is much cheaper, and easier to renew a dust boot than replace CV joints and such.
This car will never be a hot rod. It will never run a 14 second quarter. It has enough pick up for in town driving, and is extremely reliable and economical. My car has well over 70k miles and gets over 30mi/gal in town and over 40mi/gal highway.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th May, 2004