You get what you pay for
I bought this car new in '97 and drive it lightly (only 65k miles in 8 years). When I bought the car, the rear left automatic door lock didn't work, and there were some other issues which I don't recall. I got the issues cleared up (except the door lock!) at the dealer right away, but that was already a sign that perhaps the Saturn quality control was not up to par. Also the shifting was not all that smooth, I knew the transmission would be an issue from the get go.
Later (50k miles) I had a linkage break in the manual transmission, that was cheap to replace ($100-$200).
Recently (65k miles) the manual transmission was completely rebuilt ($2500), as all the gears have failed except first - at least I could drive it to the transmission shop!
Now (66k miles) I brought it into the shop and they said the water pump is leaking and needs replacement ($220) and the serpentine belt needs replacement ($38).
The car vibrates BADLY, I'm not sure why. Everything vibrates, it's worst at idle. It's not teeth rattling, but still.
I don't know about the oil issue, maybe I haven't been keeping track. I think it's a decent car, but not the best; my wife's Honda hasn't had any major trouble (it's 2 years younger though). But her dealer charges her an arm and a leg to fix minor problems. So I guess you get what you pay for??
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 9th October, 2006