1997 Saturn SL SL1 from North America


A bargain, economical, but not luxurious. Problems are more irritating than serious


This car is very economical, but it does tend to use a lot of oil.

I had to have the alternator replaced twice.

The car only has 32,000 miles on it and I have had it for a little over four years.

The plastic clutch melted and now my air conditioner won't work - it is the start of summer in Houston.

I had trouble with the window sealant on the passenger side, it allowed rain water to come through and had to be replaced the same year I got the car. From time to time there are mysterious leaks after a big rain, yet the dealership claims to have fixed the problem.

I was in an accident and the car was hardly damaged even though it was hit head on from the passenger's side.

Earlier a screw came unbolted from the side of the door and had to be re-adjusted (minor), but strange.

The car is modestly comfortable, but it is a little too low to the ground for comfort.

It is my first brand new car and I like it, but if I had more experience with vehicles at the time I probably wouldn't have purchased it.

One other thing the car hydroplanes all the time, even with the slightest of wet weather conditions.

General Comments:

I have yet to run into any real major problems with this car, but as I read the list of other people's comments on it's faults I notice the ones I am dealing with appear right on schedule with their complaints.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 3rd June, 2001

9th Jan 2005, 16:16

Related to the 1997 Saturn SC and SL series. Has anyone else had oil disapering with no signs of leakage or exhaust problems? If you have oil going to a vortex somewhere you are in need of a new head. Ether pay about $800-$1100 or just take the thing to the junk yard and wait for the Jupiter to come out.

Mechanic in FL.

9th Jun 2005, 05:29

Anyone else have trouble with the passenger lower door area leaking onto the floor after it rains. My floor on the passenger side gets soaked.

20th Aug 2007, 18:38

Actually there is a relatively easy fix out there if you go look for service recall info on this particular car. It has a known problem with the rings sticking.. I had three mechanics all tell me to run it until it dropped and finally found a mechanic who knew where to look. He found the recall, ran the recommended detergent through the oil and the car runs like new.. before then I had been going through a QUART every 500 miles.. $40.00 and problem fixed... It now goes through NO OIL at all.. so find a mechanic who can find the service recall.. I am glad I did and didn't just trash what had been a great little car.

1997 Saturn SL SL1 from North America


For people with modest needs and means


Blown engine at 90,000 kms.

Constant rattles from everywhere.

"Service engine soon" light keeps coming on, but dealer cannot locate the problem (if any...).

General Comments:

Pretty inexpensive given all the equipment (all-electric + air).

Seating is too low.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd April, 2001

16th Dec 2001, 10:23

As for the check engine light... if it goes off with higher octane fuel you may be looking at a EGR valve that has carbon build up... easily replaced but a little pricey here.

10th Aug 2002, 19:26

I have a 1995 Saturn SL and this is the worst piece of junk that I have ever owned. My SERVICE ENGINE SOON light has been coming on for the past year. But considering that I have already put about $5,000 into it (more money than the car is worth), I'm not going to waste anymore of my money every month when the car has a problem. I'm just going to keep driving it until it dies on me, then I'll buy another car. NOT A SATURN. So Warn your friends not to buy a Saturn.

1997 Saturn SL SL2 1.9 Liter 4 cylinder from North America


A quick little car for the price


The brakes had to be changed after 65,000 miles, but that is normal. It has never broken down.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th June, 2000

16th Jan 2001, 18:11

I agree! I bought a '93 Saturn SL2 a few years ago, at 70,000 miles. It now has about 120,000 miles on it and it is still going strong. The engine and transmission both have never even had work done on them - other than regular fluid changes. I did replace the valve cover gasket at 110,000 because it was leaking, but it was a $20 repair.

The car gets about 37MPG on average, and everything works perfectly. It is a 4-speed auto with the 1.9L DOHC engine. My next car will definitely be a Saturn - their new VUE SUV. Happy driving!

1997 Saturn SL SL1 from North America


Windshield washer fluid pump needed repairs.

General Comments:

So far, a pretty reliable used car. Dealership has been great. When we purchased the car, the pin stripes were peeling off. Although the stripes turned out not to have been installed by Saturn originally, Saturn replaced them with their own stripes for no charge.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th November, 1998

1997 Saturn SL SL1 from North America

General Comments:

I do not like the way the trans performs. It feels like it is slipping.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 1998