2002 Saturn SL SOHC from North America


Love the car!!!


Intake manifold gasket had to be replaced at @ 100000 KMs.

Changed front wheel bearings, struts, tie rods as general as regular servicing.

General Comments:

Great fuel mileage. Not too much power, however it gets you there.

Very good value.

Probably the best vehicle that I have ever owned. Have owned many in my life.

Too bad that they went out of business.

Like my 2002 SL better than my 2007 Ion. Like the Ion as well, just not as much.

Too bad that Saturn went out of business.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd March, 2010

2002 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 from North America


I would highly recommend this car for anyone one looking for a basic, reliable, fuel efficient car!


The only major repair I have had to make was the intake gasket at 165,000 miles.

At 89,000, I had replaced the knock sensor.

Two water pump replacements in five years. (note, I live in Arizona)

General Comments:

The car has been extremely reliable since the day be bought it.

The maintenance cost on my SL1 has been significantly low, considering I have put almost 130,000 miles on this car.

With the car's light weight, small engine, and efficiency, the fuel mileage is great for our worsening economy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2010

2002 Saturn SL from North America


Not a Porsche, but if you want reliability, this is your car!


I did have to replace the ignition, but it was still under warranty. That is about it.

General Comments:

The Saturn SL is great with gas mileage, very dependable, and runs great!

I am the only owner of the car and have never had any major problems with it. It was my first car and I was rougher on it then I should have been and the interior is proof of it.

I recently bought a Saturn Vue (and love it to) and am now trying to sell the SL and can't believe how much I really like it, and don't want to get rid of it! I give it 2 thumbs up all the way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th September, 2009

2002 Saturn SL SL1 1.9 from North America


Reliable, economical and affordable vehicle for sure


Faulty trunk seal.

General Comments:

I bought this car new from a Saturn dealership in 2001. I drove the car hard for five years and never had a single issue with it! It is the best car I have owned, for sure.

The only thing I did was change the oil every three thousand miles.

The car never burned oil or leaked fluids.

I was very surprised how reliable this Saturn was.

Way to go Saturn!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th September, 2009

2002 Saturn SL SL1 from North America


More bills to pay than Clint Eastwood's "make my day" on collision


Initial maintenance check-up and oil change within 2-3 weeks of driving it brand new off the lot, revealed a faulty/broken transmission valve seal, which caused a leak. The valve was replaced.

In 2005, the car wouldn't start. Got a jump, but the engine nearly stalled out at every stop and had no "oomph" to accelerate. Car died in the middle of a four-lane intersection of a local highway and would not take a second jump. Had to replace the battery, as well as a blown fuse and relay at around 4,000 miles.

Spark plugs and wires needed to be replaced within a year of that incident.

In 2005, a Subaru Outback T-boned me while driving. The Subaru impacted my driver's side center frame support and bent the re-bar. The high impact polymer doors sustained damage, but not beyond the interior layer. The front airbags did not deploy. In short, both doors on the driver side were smashed and had to be replaced -- the front end of her Outback was completely mangled with the grill lying in pieces alongside the road. Thank you, Saturn for a decent safety-rating, one of the selling points when I bought the car.

The serpentine belt was cracked and rotors unable to be turned at about 60,000 or 70,000 mileage in 2007. Since several people told me I could probably go longer without having to replace either, this came as a mild surprise.

In September 2008, the idler tensioner pulley blew its bearings, nearly punching a hole in the engine and completely without warning. One moment it suddenly sounds like the muffler was dragging while stopped at a light awaiting to turn onto the highway. A second later the light turns green and as I'm completing the turn, I loose power-steering and the engine temperature gauge soars towards the red -- in a nanosecond! I hit the hazards and cut across two lanes of traffic to pull off on the shoulder where I immediately stopped the engine just before the needle hit the red. A very expensive repair...

Earlier this week, I go to start the car and it immediately lurches and bucks with a loud clunk, which sounds/feels like it's happening in the rear. It continues to do this in both drive and reverse, but not park. I drive three blocks, the car lurching, bucking, and clunking intermittently, turn around and park the car. Boyfriend comes home to take it for a spin around the block and says it's fine.

Today (07/06/09), I start the car again and the same lurching, bucking clunk occurs as I shift into gear. I shift back into park and let the car idle. Nothing. I shift into reverse and keep the foot on the brake: Clunk! Back to park I go. Then I try Drive: Clunk!. Back to park I go. Try Drive again: Clunk! Idle with the brake on. No clunk. Take foot off the brake. No clunk. Drive three houses down and lurching clunk! This continues as I drive around the block. I slow down. I speed up. Clunk! Clunk! I wonder if the brakes aren't disengaging. I hit the brakes hard...

Nothing happens EXCEPT that the car doesn't come to a complete stop. It stops and then a soft slide as I notice the automatic car has shifted itself into neutral, without me touching the shifter and without my permission! I manage to finish the block (lurch clunk! lunch clunk!) and park the car in the drive where it now sits with less than 80,000 miles on it.

General Comments:

This 2002 Saturn SL1 car is a single-owner drove off the lot brand new the Summer of 2001. It was the first car I ever bought new.

Regular performance maintenance occurred within manufacturer's specification at the Saturn dealership where the car was purchased. I even hand washed and dried the car until it was about 2 or 3 years old.

Overall, I have very mixed feelings about the car: to think I survived an impact by a Subaru Outback is impressive, but I'm leaning towards too many serious mechanical issues too early in its lifetime to convince me that GM should receive bailout money!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th July, 2009

9th Jul 2009, 14:06

Better start shopping for another transmission soon, sounds like your one is on its last legs.

20th Oct 2009, 12:29

I am sorry to hear about your misfortune. I was going to buy a 2001 SL1 silver blue special. Now I'm glad I changed my mind after reading your story.

GM no longer makes cars like Saturn anymore. For small cars it has other options. A new car it will come out with is the Chevrolet Spark, which is really just a Daewoo. It's very inexpensive and I'm considering buying one when it comes out in a couple of years or so.

11th Aug 2010, 13:39

The problem with the transmission is actually repairable, and can be done without having to remove the transmission from the car. It is a faulty valve body that tends to foul if the transmission fluid is not changed regularly. Parts are about $250, and labour the same. If you are quoted more, the shop does not know what they are doing.