1998 Saturn SL Reviews - Page 15 of 16

1998 Saturn SL SL2 1.9L from North America

Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.9L Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.2 / 10
Distance when acquired200 miles
Most recent distance34000 miles
Previous carNissan Sentra

Summary:

Could have been a better car from a company like GM

Faults:

Engine vibrates noticeably, especially when cold.

Head light assembly vibrates and makes a loud rattle, especially when the engine is cold.

Since the day of purchase, the steering wheel vibrates when braking at moderate to high speeds, possibly because of the brake rotors.

The dome light does not work some time.

Loud thump when moving the shifter out of reverse.

General Comments:

Have had no major problems so far.

Pretty good gas mileage.

Ample power for its class.

Miss the mode selection feature on the auto-transmission.

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

Review Date: 11th March, 2003

1998 Saturn SL SL2 1.9 DOHC from North America

Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.9 DOHC Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.4 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance101000 miles
Previous carFord Econoline

Summary:

A best buy for inexpensive, reliable transportation

Faults:

The driver's window knob came off. I fixed it with super glue.

The rear passenger's grab handles came off. I screwed them back in.

The horn shorted out.

The glove box hinge bent.

General Comments:

The engine has been totally reliable and has never been touched aside from oil changes.

The cabin is not airtight allowing unwanted air and noise inside.

The extremely good handling saved my life on one day when a semi-truck failed to stop at an intersection!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th November, 2002

1998 Saturn SL SL2 1.9 DOHC from North America

Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.9 DOHC Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired683 kilometres
Most recent distance114000 kilometres
Previous carHonda Accord

Summary:

The best value to replace my Accord and save $4,000.00

Faults:

Squealing brakes when new.

Headlight mounting brackets loose.

Front exhaust pipe replaced under warranty.

Front passenger compartment door rubber mouldings replaced under warranty.

Clutch pedal creaks when depressed - dealer cannot repair.

Whistling noise inside passenger compartment when recirc. button is on - dealer could not repair.

Service engine light coming on intermittently - many items replaced by dealer and myself, problem still exists.

General Comments:

The car handles well and is fun to drive, but it's not a rocket. It gets great gas mileage and is cheap to operate. The seats are not that comfortable and the adjustable lumbar has had no effect on the seat since it was 2 years old.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd July, 2002

1998 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 Single-Cam Inline-4 from North America

Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.9 Single-Cam Inline-4 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.8 / 10
Distance when acquired29000 miles
Most recent distance98000 miles

Summary:

A reliable plastic-shelled economy car.

Faults:

Absolutely nothing.

General Comments:

Great dealer service.

Good crisp, responsive handling.

Good acceleration.

Seats are firm, yet comfortable and supportive.

It pulls about 40 miles to the gallon.

The trunk is big, for a little car.

Plastic panels are nice, as they don't dent or scratch easily.

Overall, it is a great economy car. It gets great mileage, has the best dealer service in the country, and is very reliable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th February, 2002

1998 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 liter gas inline 4 from North America

Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.9 liter gas inline 4 Automatic
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 2 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance30000 miles

Summary:

Cheap to buy, cheap to run, and cheap, period

Faults:

Fuel line component (don't remember exactly which) needed replacement.

Seat belt mounting recalled and replaced free of charge.

Interior grab handles and visors come loose easily.

General Comments:

First I should say that this car is very practical. Fuel economy, even with the automatic transmission, is excellent (around 29 miles/gallon in city driving). Saturn dealers don't try to rip customers off on service; their rates are reasonable. It has been eminently reliable; the one time it showed the "check engine" light it remained driveable until we got it to the dealer.

And of course, the Saturn buying experience is top-notch. They are polite and friendly to a fault; the degree to which they go on about the "Saturn Family" and the "Saturn Way" is nauseating. In the end, they still end up with your money.

Where the car fails only becomes evident after a few months. It is positively frightening to drive on the interstate or near a major city. The engine is so s-l-o-w that merging into traffic sets your heart racing. The automatic transmission doesn't help any. Handling is okay at low speeds, but don't try sudden lane changes or turning corners above 20 MPH.

Comfort is also lacking. The ride is actually pretty good for a small car. But the seats are confining and not adjustable enough. The cabin is small and the roof is low. The door armrests are too small for anyone but a two-year-old, and there is no center armrest (It's a $100 after-market option). The surfaces are cheap plastic, and the interior has a toy-car feel to it. The engine is very noisy.

The "Dent-Resistant" plastic body panels are ridiculous too. They don't dent, but they scratch easily and many other panels - trunk, hood, fuel door - are metal and susceptible to dents. My guess is that plastic panels are cheaper than steel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th August, 2001

3rd Sep 2001, 22:48

I would definitely tend to disagree with your comments on this vehicle. I own a '96 SL1 and it does not have a whole lot of power, but it does have enough get-up-and-go for Interstate merging. I also happen to think that the SL1 handles very well above 20 MPH around turns. I live in an area where there are a lot of state roads that go over mountains, and at about 50 MPH my SL1 goes around turns beautifully. Many automotive magazines and reporters have done nothing but compliment the Saturns' handling, and very large amount of head room.

Average review marks: 6.9 / 10, based on 51 reviews