1999 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 SOHC from North America


Best Value for your buck


PCV Valve and Hose replaced at 63K. The car would start to stall at idle and surged when started. Turned out that the pcv valve failed and the vacuum caused the hose to close up. Replaced parts for $7 w/tax Front Oxygen Sensor replaced at Engine Manifold cover at 147,000 miles. Check Engine light came on indicating problem. Replaced part for $41 w/tax.

General Comments:

This car has been a terrific vehicle. I bought a commuter car, since I drive 150 miles/day. Therefor, I didn't get any options like cruise control, power locks/windows, etc. The only option that I did get was air conditioning, which works moderately well, however with the dark color of my vehicle, can take over 20mins to get to a comfortable cool level in 100degree heat. I have never had a more reliable vehicle. Started every time, in 100 degree heat, and -10 degree winter mornings.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th April, 2003

23rd Feb 2004, 18:44

This is an excellent review on an excellent-well made-dependable car.

11th May 2006, 08:28

I just bought a 1999 Saturn and I love it. Has only 26000 miles on it. Takes bumps very well and is peppy.

1999 Saturn SL from North America


If Saturn was the only car made, I would ride a bicycle


The doors have always leaked when raining or washing the car.

I had to have the oxygen sensor replaced 4 months ago.

My head gasket blew at 59,000 miles, for no obvious reason.

Sometimes the ignition switch gets stuck and will not turn.

General Comments:

It is good on gas.

I've never had a major problem out of it until this year.

Customer service at both dealer and company is not what they preach it to be.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st April, 2003

28th Feb 2008, 15:01

I have owned my Saturn for 2 years. I have only put approx. 10,000 miles on it and at 65,000 miles it also blew a head gasket for no apparent reason... it has never... I again say never, has overheated since I have had it. Up until now I have been very happy with it.

21st Feb 2010, 16:11

This piece of crap leaks every single time it rains - my car now has mold growing on the carpet and interior, because it floods every time it rains!!!

0 power, they call me Driving Miss Daisy because it goes so damn slow - this is the worst car anyone in my family has ever had!!

1999 Saturn SL SL2 from North America


Can't beat the quality for the price


Some wind and road noise from the beginning. Minor dash noise.

General Comments:

Best car on the market for the money in 1996 and again in 1999. I traded the 96 SL2 for another one in 1999 because it was the best value for the price. Handles well. Peppy for a 4 cylinder engine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th March, 2003

1999 Saturn SL SL2 1.9L SPFI from North America


Why buy a Honda? This is better!


Wind and Road noise loud at high speeds. I adjusted the doors on the car so that they would press better against the weatherstripping using nothing more than a ratchet and a T30 star socket. Now it's quiet in there.

That's it for my baby!

General Comments:

The Engine on this car is great quality. It's a 124 bhp in-line 4 cylinder SPFI (Sequential Port Fuel Injection) with a Timing Chain (not a belt like Civics) and counterweights on the engine crankshaft to minimize vibrations. It also has computer controlled ignition (not a distributor, also on my 1997 civic). All this adds up to some real quality for a domestic vehicle.

Amazingly, for a big 1.9L engine it gets around 35-40mpg on the highway and about 26-32mpg in the city.

It's no rocket, but if you learn how to drive the tight 5-speed then you can take off faster than most sedans, not to mention you get better gas mileage.

I was disappointed by the sound, but my car only came with a radio (not even a tape deck). I spent about $120 dollars on a nice Clarion Deck (was $299) and installed it myself. Now I absolutely spend most of my day in the car as much as possible.

Servicing these vehicles is easy with the service manual (Haynes). I just do oil changes every 3,000, just finished with changing the spark plugs, and I might change the coolant at 36,000 miles even though I believe it is DEX-COOL 100,000 mile coolant in my car.

If you want to do some of your own work on the vehicle, you can pickup the "special" star sockets at Walmart for about $6 dollars. You can find a Haynes manual at either Checkers or Autozone. Do not substitute for another manual unless you can get the Saturn shop manual (usually $50-$200).

It's sad to hear that reliable cars do every once in a while have lemons, Even Honda's. My timing belt broke off the Civic after being serviced two months earlier between Phoenix and Yuma in July, how sad is that. My engine was gone, and I had to fight about it just to get it fixed under warranty. Of course, you won't hear these stories from Honda. The 1992 Saturn my parents have is still running. Granted I had to change both power window units because someone tried to break into the car, and the odometer stopped working at 88,903 two years ago, but it still drives as smooth as the day it was bought. The only thing I complain about is the dashboard on the old car since it tends to rattle.

I bought this car at about $6000 dollars off the lot, it was going for about $9000 in the ad. I practically got it for trade-in value and the car had been on the lot for about a month.

It's brand spanking new, and the day I got it I put nearly 1,500 miles on it driving to Portland. It drives great and handles well, and no up-shifting to get up any of the hills on I-5. Driving in Phoenix is a blast, and although I can't race a 5.1L T-Bird at the stop light I can squeal my tires in third gear which is more than I can say about the civic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2003

11th Aug 2004, 19:10

You were bragging about having a timing chain instead of a belt - just wait until the timing chain breaks in the Saturn, the damage will be worse than if it were a belt! That's why the majority of cars use belts instead of chains!

Not only that, it's easy to spin tires in a car that's chassis is made of mostly plastic! Honda cars are heavy for the size of engine they put in them. Saturns usually weigh about 400+ pounds less than other cars the same size! Not only that, if you look into the new Saturn sport series such as the Vue and the Ion with the big 3.5 V6 engines in them, guess who makes the engines for them. HONDA!!! That's right, they put 3.5L V6 Pilot engines to make the Vue and the Ion more sporty!

29th Jun 2005, 19:04

Not so my friend. While it's true that the VUE has a Honda engine in it (why? I don't know) the ION has the GM ECOTEC engine in it. And while you may be right about the timing chain being likely to cause more damage if it goes, the timing chain will last way longer than a belt, and we know that those are expensive and difficult to replace by ordinary folk. I'd much rather go once to the dealership, pay for a new timing chain, than go every 30000 miles to change an inexpensive belt and be gouged by the dealer prices (or even at independant shops) I'm lucky to be a do-it-yourselfer, but I guess I can speak for people like my mother, who wouldn't even touch the engine opening hatch.. and the timing chain is something I would much rather pay for and have some sort of guarantee on the job performed.

10th Dec 2008, 13:06

Timing belts are common today, not because of superior design, but because they are cheaper to make, require no lubrication and are quicker to install. This translates into simple engineering, and lower manufacturing costs. To the consumer though this means lower initial purchase price, but at much higher maintenance costs. Chains last longer with lower total cost of ownership and are in my view preferable.

31st Oct 2010, 14:57

LOL at the guy saying timing belts are better. Chains all the way! The chain will go for as much as three times the life of any timing belt out there.

1999 Saturn SL SL1 1.9L 5 SPD from North America


A light and fast, good looking car


The tires are too slim does not stick to the road.

Saturn should have put fat factory tires on her.

General Comments:

I love my car, It looks great warms up fast, takes off when you need it to.

I recommend buying it rather than a Cavalier or Sun-fire, it is just a lot more comfortable to drive.

The SATURN SL1 is Spacious and Economical.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th January, 2003

16th Mar 2005, 14:50

Spacious..?? You must be a tiny individual! Comfortable..?? Only if you consider flying economy class from L.A. to Paris as being 'comfortable'.

1999 Saturn SL SL2 1.9L DOHC four cylinder from North America


The Saturn SL2 is definitely economical, reliable transportation


After putting over 20,000 miles on the Saturn the only thing that needs attention is the brakes. Front need rotors turned and rear need shoes. Other than that nothing has gone wrong with the vehicle.

General Comments:

This car was designed for economy first, performance second and comfort third. It is very economical to operate, is quick and agile in most situations, but could use some more comfortable seats. With a little more ground clearance it would be better on the two tracks and in snow, but it still goes places easily where rear wheel drive cars would have difficulty. If Saturn would put an all wheel drive system in this car and some comfy seats it would be the perfect car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st December, 2002

23rd Feb 2004, 18:29

This a very well written review-very good work on a very good car.

1999 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 from North America


Cheap, reliable transportation, but don't get it if you want a lot of performance


Nothing serious has gone wrong so far. I hear a random rattling noise which nobody can seem to pinpoint, but other than that, I have had no problems with my Saturn.

General Comments:

This is definetly not a high performance car, which is the only problem I have with it. It is very cheap and reliable. It is an absolutely gorgeous car inside and out. Everyone that sees it thinks it's a 2002 and I love the color.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th February, 2002