1999 Saturn SL 1 from North America


Fabulous car, best money I ever spent!


Closing on 60,000 miles and only one repair has been needed, a new light in the dashboard.

Brakes will probably need replacing soon.

General Comments:

Driving at 65-70 miles per hour I have gotten 35 miles per gallon on long trips, generally about 32 (miles per gallon) on most highway trips.

I generally get around 27 miles per gallon in residential/city driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd August, 2005

1999 Saturn SL from North America


Excellent reliability, economy and construction


The manual transmission cables are held by some type of plastic "hooks" to the shifter assembly, and one of them broke. "googling" the problem I realized that it was very common, and I was looking forward to a "lovely" $300+ bill because I needed to replace the ENTIRE cabling. Fortunately I bought a home-made repair kit on ebay for $30, and I have a shifter assembly good for at least another 60000 miles.

The engine fan motor went out at about 50000... I assume the heat here in FL had it working overtime... anyway,. $35 later I had a new motor installed (bought it at pepboys, installed it myself) and that's about it! The only other expenses this car has incurred are gas and oil :)

I recently had to change the drive belt, (it was recommended at 35000 miles, I changed mine at close to 60000)

General Comments:

The plastic body panels are excellent, the quality and fit are on par with other more expensive cars, and make this car cheaper to repair.

The car is somewhat underpowered, but then again, it's an economy car, not a street racer.

I love the design, 6 years later the car lines still look up to date and well thought.

I haven't even done a tune-up on this car. the injectors are doing great, and with a regular oil change, the engine still iddles and accelerates very nicely.

I would definitely buy another saturn, but there are some things that I'd need to check first:

-my SL has a stell chain timing "belt". That's one of the best ideas around, though I have been told that has changed in recent models. If so, that's a BIG minus for Saturn in my book

-I may be a nostalgic, but the "cat-eyes-like" headlamps were a huge hit for me, sadly the shape of the headlights has been changed (except for the VUE, but I lean mostly towards the sporty ION, which doesn't have those lights)

-I have heard a lot of people complaining about the new SL line that came after 2002, I haven't heard any complaints about the newer VUE and ION though, so whilst I have come to trust and admire Saturn, I would need to research again how its quality is today.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th June, 2005

1999 Saturn SL SL1 1.9L from North America


Good inexpensive car, just don't drive it like a race car!


First of all I would like to say that I beat the hell out of this car. Everyday I drove it like a race car. So most of the problems were because of the way I drove the car.

The first problem with this car was that the factory brakes were bad. I had them replaced twice under the 30,000-mile warranty.

The other minor problem was that the side air vents would break easily. This was also replaced twice under warranty.

I didn't have any more major problems until about 70,000 miles when I was driving down the highway and the transmission went out. Turned out that it was from spinning the tires so much in a front wheel drive car. A pin in the tranny shot out and blew a 2 1/2" hole through the transmission case. Somehow it still drove OK, but leaked transmission fluid on the cat so it smoked really badly. So I had a new tranny and clutch put in.

Next I had a crack in the radiator. I think it was about 90,000 miles.

At 103,000 miles, driving down the highway again the motor threw a rod. I was expecting it to happen, but I just wish it could have gone another 2 miles to my house. $75 tow truck fee. I picked up a used engine with 7k on it for $400. Paid $500 labor to have the new engine put in. I know a few mechanics and can do most of this stuff myself. So I didn't spend money on labor except for the engine and tranny.

At about 120,000 miles the radiator went out again. Just lucky it had a lifetime warranty. The only problem is that you have to take the front end off the car just to get to two bolts on the radiator. I think it was a poor design.

127,000 miles. The end of my car. RIP. I was hit head on and the car was totaled out.

General Comments:

Overall I thought that it was a great car. For the hell I put this car through it took a beating and kept on ticking. Since I had the 5 speed it was very peppy for a 1.9L 4 cylinder. I have drove the automatic and it was not nearly as fast. The car came with cloth interior that I didn't think was that comfortable. I upgraded to leather seats and could not have been happier. I would recommend this car for someone that needs a cheap reliable car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2005

23rd Feb 2008, 07:18

I won a Saturn SL1 and I have taken very good care of it- I do not race not rev the engine.

It currently has 89,000 and "Chitty" has not given me one problem- I stay on the oil change/fluid schedule... and take good care of it-

I was going to look for another car... but this one should ride me just fine through the recession..

The only bad thing is that it rattles- I am appraoching 40 and I rattle also, so it is okay.