1998 Saturn SL SL1 1.8 from North America


Reliable first car, and a reliable commuter car


The oxygen sensor was replaced a month after buying the car. So was the driver's side taillight bulb.

General Comments:

When my 1995 Intrepid was totaled in a car accident, I needed another car. I have always wanted a Saturn SL model in the worst way. At the used car lot where I went to look at cars, was the one that I have. It had 78000 miles on it, and the body looked really good. It ran good, but needed the oxygen sensor to make the car run like new. The paint color? Kind of like an eggplant color.

I really love this car a whole lot. It is so peppy on the road, and gets great gas mileage. I am an overweight guy, and the interior fits me perfectly. The seats are very comfortable. The ride? Really good.

These make great commuter cars, great second cars, and great first cars. They are extremely reliable. Would I recommend anyone to buy one of these? Absolutely.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th May, 2009

1998 Saturn SL from North America


Cheap, great fuel economy, reliable, easy to work on


(In order of severity)

Shifter bushing broke.

Switch for rear defroster broke.

General Comments:

I have found the car to be very reliable so far. Everything works fine except the rear defroster, which needs a switch replaced.

Excellent gas mileage (I have averaged between 35-40 mpg highway/city mix). On a road trip I managed a little over 50 mpg!

Performance is adequate (at least with manual transmission).

The only problem worth mentioning is a broken shifter bushing, which is a 20 dollar part but makes the car undriveable when it goes. It is a known problem with the car, but in my case I had over 5000 miles of warning that it was going bad. However, it is not a major issue, changing it takes about 45 minutes.

Car is comfortable and roomy for its size.

I am surprised at how well the exterior and interior hold up, the car has no dents or rust at all, thanks to plastic body panels, and the cloth interior is in good condition.

One gripe is that the heat takes a while to warm the car in the cold.

I have heard of problems with the head cracking, but this seems the happen more in the older models. My car appears to have the original head and I have had no issues yet.

I think some of these reviews are biased because people tend to beat on cheap cars like this. For instance, several reviews mention the sound system going in months. My car is 11 years old and it still sounds fine. Even my car, which was owned by a middle aged lady, has scratches on the roof from things being put on top of the car, and the radiator was filled with water not antifreeze. So my caution to someone buying one of these, make sure the previous owner treated it like a car, not like a moped.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th February, 2009

9th Mar 2009, 09:03

You mentioned the shifter bushing was a $20 part. I wish you had mentioned where to find it at for this price. All the parts places I have called say you have to buy the entire shift cable assembly. Price: $213.00 and up.

1998 Saturn SL SL2 1.9 ltr DOHC from North America


Having to add 1 quart of oil with every tank of gas, I'm done with Saturn


Engine is using oil at a very high rate.

Alternator went bad after a few hundred miles.

Front end has a strange plastic rattle when starting out in first gear. Headlights flicker when this happens.

General Comments:

I guess I'm going to mirror what many of you have already said about my 1998 Saturn SL2. I pour 1 quart of oil into the engine with every 10 gallons of gas. It's a good running vehicle otherwise. My mechanic said that I just have to deal with it or replace the engine. If I would have checked on the internet before the purchase I might have saved myself a lot of money and time. Lesson learned.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th October, 2008

9th Oct 2008, 08:31

I know. The oil burning problem on the Saturn 1.9 engines stinks. I contended with it on my '93 SL2, and even though the vehicle was still running great, I had to sell it at a fire sale price and tell the new buyer what was going on.

I found this TSB online, which you might want to try:


I wish I had known about this before I sold my Saturn. It was a great car otherwise, and never left me stranded. Perhaps this procedure might have done the trick. If you do it and it works, please post back and let me know. I may buy another Saturn if that is the case.