2002 Saturn SL SL1 1.9L SOHC from North America


My little blue Saturn has made me very happy!


I've only had one minor problem with the car, that being the keys. I had to have new keys made, as they would get stuck in the ignition, and/or not turn.

General Comments:

I've really enjoyed the car thus far. It's not quick, but with the 5-speed, it is more than adequate. You have to be realistic, I knew when I purchased the car it was an economy car, not a Porsche or even an Eclipse. I have no problems with merging in higher speed traffic, and while passing does take more caution and planning than my Grand Marquis did, I can cruise at 75-80.

The car is basically loaded, as much as a Saturn SL1 could be loaded. It has PW, PL, cruise, tilt, AM/FM, cassette, CD player, and a power sunroof. I have read about others having various electrical problems with the windows and sunroof, but everything has worked flawlessly to this point. I did replace the factory stereo with an Eclipse CD head unit, and new Eclipse Point source 6 ½” speakers in the doors and rear deck. For just under $500, you would be amazed at the improvement in sound you will get. They do make a sound deadening material you can put in the floor, doors, and roof, to make the cabin a little quieter. It does help reduce road noise, but I didn’t see the need to add it at the time, and that is what the amplifier and subwoofer are for. OK...Yes, I’m 38, and still like my music loud and clear.

The gas mileage is great, I’m averaging about 25 mpg in town, and get about 42 mpg on the highway at interstate speeds. Minnesota highways have a 55 mph speed limit, and I’ve averaged about 45 mpg with the cruise on and set at 55-60 mph. Even with the air on, I have yet to fall below 40 mpg on the highway, so I am very pleased with the fuel efficiency.

The only complaint I have with the car is the in town ride. I only mention this, as I’ve driven a 2001 Toyota Corolla S, which is a little sportier than the base Corolla, and a Matrix XRS. I was told the Matrix XRS had a rougher ride, but was much sportier. Well, they had the sporty part right, but I found the ride to be quite pleasing, considering the quickness and styling, basically the product you were expecting. Both seemed too absorb road imperfections much better than the Saturn.

The ride is very compliant and comfortable, as long as you have a nice road, but train tracks or potholes can get a bit rough, and I slow down to baby the car. A Corolla would have cost a couple thousand dollars more, so I can live with the suspension. I should mention that I had the suspension checked, and was told it was fine, and needed no work done to it.

The car is surprisingly quiet and well mannered on the highway, with a very smooth ride and comfortable seats, better than I would have expected from a lower priced economy car like this. I traded in my 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis for this car, so my comment about the ride is actually quite a compliment, as I am a big sedan type of guy.

The only other thing I have done to the car is add better tires to it. I didn’t like the factory Firestones, so I had Goodyear Assurance Triple Tred’s put on. I didn’t think a tire change could make that much of a difference, but boy was I wrong, as I gained awesome traction in rain, snow, and ice. I think the tires perform so well, that one might get to be overconfident, and maybe overdrive winter conditions. I do know a few other Saturn owners, and they have Goodyear ComforTred’s, and those seem to be a nice tire as well. Both tires provide a very quiet, comfortable ride, along with good traction, so again I’m very pleased.

In conclusion, I’ve owned the car for about 13 months, and had no problems. I’ve changed oil as specified, checked fluids and tire pressure weekly, and the car starts, runs, and stops like a top. Yes it’s smaller than what I used to drive, but it seems to be a very reliable, spacious little car. I’m 6’0”, and I have plenty of legroom, so don’t let the cars small size fool you. You can't beat a car that gives you so little trouble, and costs less that $200 a month in loan payment, gas, and insurance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th July, 2006

15th Oct 2007, 22:53

I have a 02 SL2, bought brand new. Which must have been a SL1 with the sport package from the factory. 1.9L single cam. No Power anything 5 speed. 15 inch tires, spoiler, sunroof and a CD player. At 100,000 I replaced the gas filter. now at 135,000 engine light on Saturn tells me I need a intake gasket, serpentine belt, plugs and wires. Other than oil changes and tires, this is all my little Blue Baby has needed!

2002 Saturn SL SL2 1.9 DOHC from North America


Saturn sells the sizzle, not the steak


Every thing.

General Comments:

In 1992 I purchased a new Saturn SL2, taken in by the hype of “A different kind of car, a different kind of Company”.

After approximately 1000 KM, going on my first long trip I noticed that the Cruise Control would cut out after about 15 minutes of driving. Resetting the control would again last for about 10-15 minutes and then it would cut out.

The dealer said he fixed it, nothing much wrong he said. After that it would work intermittently. Talk about frustration. Never got it to work right and just did not use it anymore for the past 10 years.

Also, the temp. gauge would go up almost to the red mark, Dealer told me that was Normal. I told him that the engine-cooling fan did not cut in. Again, that was NORMAL.

At about 50,000 Km the power lock relay would start to click after activation and closing the door, the only remedy was to put the key in the door lock and wiggle it; otherwise it would run the battery down overnight. Each time I took it to the dealer, the darn thing would work just fine.

At 110,000 Km the computer module went, cost me over 1000 bucks for a new one, including installation, plus another $ 730 for having the valve seals replaced, because the engine was sipping almost as much oil as gas.

After that the power-window motor on the driver side gave out, the Radiator developed a leak and one of the brake lines bust. Of course the radiator cannot be repaired, because it is made of plastic.

At 135,000 Km one of the Exhaust Valves burnt out (probably because the high engine temp. was normal) Also the piston rings on one piston had to be replaced, which required that cylinder to be honed out.

At 154,000 Km the power-steering rack had to be replaced. 20,000 Km later the trans-axle started to act up, big clunk each time the transmission shifted. Using the performance setting for the transmission it sort of worked a bit better.

The passenger side wiper arm broke, dealer wanted $62 for a new one, a wiper blade would have added another 18 bucks (plus tax) so I picked one up at the Junkyard for

$ 11.50 (taxes included.)

Looking at my bills on file, I spent over 6000 bucks in the past 4 ½ years (this includes regular oil changes and other required routine maintenance) With the dealer charging

$ 97.00 an hour for labor, it adds up.

Would I buy another Saturn? Perhaps if I had a front-end lobotomy first.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th March, 2006

27th Mar 2006, 09:38

I'm confused. Is this a 1992 car, or a 2002? You claim it's both.

16th Jun 2007, 18:28

You put on 194,000 km (120,000 miles) in only four years and you wonder why your car is breaking down? Take it easy, man. Besides that, if you bought it new, most of that stuff should still be covered by the warranty.

3rd May 2010, 20:44

#1 you have to get your mileage/year straight.

#2 you bought a 1992? First year they came out? Well that's your first problem. My 96 saturn SL2 is still on its original clutch with 187k miles on it, and all I have done is brakes, shocks and tires.

Maybe you need to take it easy with your driving...

19th Jan 2011, 14:24

Ease up man! Just a suggestion, get your facts right. I know you're all worked up, but straighten out your facts and then get back to us. Sounds like you put a lot of miles on in a short amount of time. I think most vehicles will have minor to major problems with that many miles, might be a Lemon, could be the way it's driven. Most likely the latter.