1997 Saturn SL SL2 1.9 DOHC from North America


This car is a huge disappointment


Do not ever buy a Saturn. I have had to rebuild this engine twice, and I only put 5000 miles on the first motor. If it will go wrong with this 1.9 DOHC engine, it will. I've rebuilt the motor from the block up, replaced heads, gaskets, heads, everything.

The motor carbons up, which in turn the valve rings and spark plugs get so carboned up, that at first the motor sounds like it has a miss, then over time it idles rough and will stall out. This is about the cheapest motor a car company can build and get away with screwing you to death, and Saturn knows this motor is junk.

After many Saturn owners have complained to GM, Saturn is one company that GM is going to say bye-bye to, because they are a big black eye.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd January, 2009

1997 Saturn SL SL2 from North America


A good first car, perhaps on its last legs


Engine mounts cracked (!) at 50,000 miles.

Rusted radiator plug replaced at 100K.

Front crank arms rattled and replaced at 140K.

Thermostat/fan broken at 140K.

AC needs recharge at 146K.

Catalytic converter holding on at 151K.

Heat unreliable at freezing temps at 140K.

General Comments:

A first car that has handled well in the Northeast winters, it is getting up to 35 mpg on the highway now.

Almost gave up on the car in March '08, but service costs weren't as bad as anticipated, and have not had to have any atypical service since.

The only current issue is that the car idles hot in traffic, and will not heat the passenger compartment until the engine gets up some temperature, something that will not happen on many drives, especially or on the highway, in sub- 20 F weather.

Haven't been super meticulous over the years, but it never came back to bite me.

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

Review Date: 29th October, 2008

1997 Saturn SL Base 1.8 Liter from North America


Don't buy!


I bought the car back in the end of May of 2008. I have put a little over 4,000 miles on it and it's now the end of July.

Since then, the service engine light came on... that just annoyed me... in fact it came on RIGHT when I left the small dealer I bought it from.

Another thing is that just recently my airbag light came on, and now my horn stopped working, so something is wrong there.

Also, it makes a weird sound like maybe the car is going to fall apart when I turn the wheel and drive slowly, like say in a parking lot.

General Comments:

The car was honestly a waste of my money, and I could have gotten a car so much better!

This car is going to be hard to resell and get my money back on.

This was honestly the first and last Saturn I will ever buy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st July, 2008

23rd Nov 2012, 15:20

Because a couple of lights came on - as happens on many cars that I know - you are saying "Don't buy it". I wonder what authority you have to say that... At least give us another firm reason why not to buy a car that is lot of money for some...

12th Feb 2015, 06:19

I realize it's a few years too late, but you could have taken the car to a mechanic and realized that every single one of your problems was related to one component - you had a bad clock spring in your steering column.

You probably should have investigated this issue before writing the review.

1997 Saturn SL 1 1.9 SOHC from North America


The most cost effective car I have ever owned out of a total of 15 or more


Power steering pump pulley seized up causing serpentine belt to break. This happened at 135,000 miles and the cost to repair the steering and belt was about $350.

It burns and leaks oil, however runs fine as long as I keep oil in it.

General Comments:

It is a very reliable car with excellent gas mileage.

I drive 30,000 miles per year so I bought this car with 109,000 miles for $2500. I have driven it 114,000 miles since then and other than the power steering issue have had no other repairs except normal maintenance like brakes, exhaust, tie rod replacement and tires.

It is still worth about $1500, so it has cost me only $1000 to drive over 100,000 miles.

I can buy new radial tires for $28 each, which has been a godsend. It is very easy and inexpensive to replace headlights, taillights, etc.

My 5 speed stick is still fun to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th January, 2008