1998 Saturn SL -2 1.8 gas from North America


Better for GM, but still not good enough


Dome light broke and was repaired, but broke again, now held up by tape.

Headliner around dome light flakes fiberglass down and is now held up by tape.

Driver's side rear door can't open from inside.

Mid exhaust pipe replaced at 2 years old.

Burns some oil and must be checked regularly.

Rear lights burn out a lot.

Windsheild wipers frequently need to be adjusted back into position.

Brakes redone all 4 at 50000 miles.

Air conditioning failed at 1 and a half years, had to replace the gas.

Heavy vibrations, was told engine mount was worn after only 1 year, but not included on warranty.

Dashboard noises and shakes center of dash with radio and heat/cool controls moves a lot and rattles and is poorly designed and constructed, outter flimsy plastic ring always moving around.

Loud rough engine as it gets over a year and a half old.

Driver side window gets very hard to roll down.

Scrapers on windows don't work and get wet and windows remains wet days after rain from the water inside the doors and the trim.

Glove box broke early.

Leak in radiator year 5.

Turn signal will not reset when it should. You have to turn sharply for it to reset. This is extremely annoying, and is perfectly worked out on all other cars and trucks and busses in the whole world for the past 75 years.

General Comments:

Rear seats have little support and are cheap. Front seats are better on sl2 than sl1, still a bit weak.

Car is peppy, but rolls a bit on turns.

Steering is way too hard for power steering. Big trucks have less resistance in the wheel.

Very harsh turn signal lever, also the lights get turned on or off very easily as the switch is the entire end of the shaft and happens at least once each trip. I see it happening on other cars.

Alarm has annoying horn honk that gets way too much attention, and can't be shut off.

Keyless entry is nice.

Good finish outside.

Pedal control is definitely American style only a little better than older GM's.

Inconveinent dash arrangement.

Dealership is not so good.

1 1/2 hours for a 4 bolt mid exhaust pipe is a big time rip off. I could have done it myself in 5 minutes. Had to return for misalignment of exhaust system after it also.

Really rough engine, shakes and other Saturn owners agree.

Feels heavy for it's small size, but is very roomy for it's size too.

Extremely annoying turn signal for it's harshness in the switch and failure to reset at the right amount of steering turn.

With 4 people in it, it is way heavy and rides even lower and seems like suspension is too weak.

Body rolls too much.

Rain drips into car when front window is open and comes in when moving. Very poor design.

Passenger side headlight assembly rattles like mad also on my friends 1999 SL2.

I was attracted because it was supposed to be the most foreign style American car and I wanted to buy American. Well, never again. I made my contribution now I'll go back to Toyota or Nissan, unless I get a truck.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th May, 2004

18th Nov 2009, 23:20

Most of what you have complained about on here, with the exception of a few things, are either normal Saturn issues, which some people can live with, or are general maintenance. You cannot expect a lot from Saturn as they are known for being GMs budget brand. I have heard of them going over 500k, so sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. It also has a lot to do with how you drive, and if you take care of what is needed.

19th Nov 2009, 15:45

Saturn was an ill-conceived, unbelievably expensive mistake for GM. A brand I might add that few people will miss.

1998 Saturn SL SL2 from North America


A poorly made piece of junk


I bought this car new and have had it for five years. From the very beginning, it has been a poorly made heap.

Little things have gone wrong with it right from the beginning. For example, the interior light will not turn on unless you bang the ceiling (this has been true from about 5000 miles!) Not a big deal, unless you want to sell the car and people wonder what else might be wrong with the wiring!

At about 8000 miles the rubber lining of the front doors fell off and had to be replaced.

At about 50,000 the transmission started "slipping" (when you put it in reverse, it takes about 3 to 5 seconds to respond). This transmission problem still exists today at 95,000 miles, because I have never wanted to drop the $2500 to get it fixed!!

The lumbar support also broke many miles ago.

In general, I feel that the car is a piece of plastic that easily falls apart. I am VERY disappointed with my Saturn, and I would never buy one again under any circumstances. I have tried to sell it three different times, under Blue Book value, and was never successful. So I believe the resale value is very low as well!

In addition, my experiences with the Saturn dealership have been terrible. They have been so rude to me that I actually went to the trouble of complaining to national Saturn, only to be told that they are independent dealerships and it's not their problem.

General Comments:

The only good thing I can say about it is that it is comfortable to ride in and drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th October, 2003

29th Nov 2003, 08:22

I bought a new 1994 Saturn SL2 and have noted some serious flaws with both this car and Saturn Dealerships.

During the warranty period all of the window motors have been replaced. They continue to break after warranty, but now I pay for the replacements.

At about 34,000 miles the transmission started acting up (taking 3 to 5 seconds to shift into reverse and then SLAMMING into gear with the car stopped). The dealership mechanics claimed not to be able to reproduce it while in warranty. Once out of warranty, 40,000 miles, the dealership mechanics diagnosed it and the repair would cost over $1,000.

During the first brake job (approximately 50,000 miles) one dealership insisted the rotors needed to be replaced before they even inspected them. Their rational was that the Saturn Factory recommends replacing the rotors when you replace the pads. I balked and went to another dealership who told me the Saturn Factory recommends NOT replacing the rotors when you replace the pads. Finally, I called the Saturn Factory and was told the Factory never makes recommendations to the dealerships because they are independently owned and are free to recommend whatever they want.

These cars have some serious flaws in addition to the ones already mentioned. Leaking sun-roof which the dealership can't seem to fix. Consistently needs a new alternator about every 2 years/18,000 miles and the dealership says this is normal.

I now have over 180,000 miles on my Saturn and the transmission is only now starting to show signs of impending failure. Certainly not the most sturdy of cars.

I would never buy another one.