2002 Saturn SL 2 1.9L DOHC 4 cylinder from North America


Reliable, strong-performing economy car


So far, nothing, but this car is relatively new. Have owned two Saturns SL1s before this, one was totaled at 185,000 miles and the other still going at 164,000. I would recommend an S Series Saturn, but some would beg to differ.

General Comments:

Mine is as stripped down as an SL2 gets, which I like. There are no power windows, power locks, power seats, automatic transmission, or power mirrors. The trunk release is cable operated, which will not die like the electric one in my Intrepid.

The SL2 has "sport" seats, which offer nice adjustment and are very comfortable. The radio, climate control, and all other buttons are easy to use. There is no factory cruise, but the aftermarket one does just fine.

A/C is very powerful and the heat heats up fast. The adjustment knobs are a tad resistant to turn because they climate control is cable operated.

Shift light and oil change light are useless to me, and don't seem to work very well anyway. I can be going 40MPH up hill in 4th gear, and it wants me to shift into 5th.

The suspension is "sporty", so it corners nicely. Sporty also means that medium to large road imperfections are felt very explicitly. The damping is good, and small bumps are barely noticed.

The SL2 has a double overhead cam engine which has an extra 24HP over the single overhead cam in the SL and SL1. The transmission has shorter gearing, which gives the car great acceleration. I occasionally grind and miss gears, as the shifter is very imprecise. My other two Saturns were like this as well, but it is really no big deal.

Back seat is tight, but this is not a big car. Trunk is fairly large for a vehicle of this size, and it can haul a good amount of stuff with the seat folded down.

The plastic body panels are very nifty, and it is sad that Saturn is starting to do away with them because the panel gaps are unsightly, in their opinion. In my opinion, rust and dents are unsightly.

I get about 35MPG in my daily driving, which is a mix of city and highway. My other Saturns got 39, but they had less power.

The one thing I'd change with the car is to either add a 6th gear or not have such short gear ratios. At 75MPH on the freeway, the engine is near 3,100 RPM. This causes the high speed freeway mileage to drop to about 30MPG, which is less than the 33MPG my much larger Intrepid would get.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th April, 2005

11th Apr 2005, 19:01

I have a 2002 SL2 that I am very happy with, except it has no cc. I had bad luck with aftermarket cc with a 5 speed. The gas pedal was always going up and down. Speed up, slow down... You said your after market works fine, where do you recommend I get one?

My clutch and shifter are also imprecise. I'm always double clutching it and worry about the clutch going out.

2002 Saturn SL 2 from North America


Cheap reliable car that runs great


Passenger seat won't come up all the way, so passenger is slightly reclined.

General Comments:

I bought the car for economy and reliability, that's what I got.

I get 27 city/38 highway and I tend to drive fast.

The twin cam engine has amazing power, especially above 4,000 rpm. I owned a 99 SC1 (single cam) and it was powerless, so I was pleasantly surprised.

I have had no problems with this car and it still looks new inside, outside and under the hood.

Comfort is marginal, but it does have good lumbar support.

Nice CD stereo.

Trunk and back seat are small, but the back seat folds down, that's a plus.

Turning radius is large for such a small car.

I've been driving a stick shift for almost 30 years and with most of my cars/trucks am able to shift seamlessly, without thought, but I still double clutch this car and the shifter is imprecise. I worry about the clutch going out.

This car looks nice, runs great, gets great gas mileage, but it has taken some getting used to. My last car was a Mercury Sable LS. It was too sweat, loaded, fast and beautiful. I miss that car! But it got 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway and the transmission went out at 49k. Replacement cost was half what I paid for my SL2.

Even with it's faults (comfort/size/luxury) I would highly recommend this car to anyone who is looking for a nice, reliable, economy car.

Now that I have gotten used to this car I would keep it for a long time except that it doesn't have cruise. Factory replacement is very expensive and I haven't found an aftermarket unit that doesn't surge with a stick shift.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th March, 2005

2002 Saturn SL SL1 1.9L SOHC from North America


40 MPG and great dealer experience


I was surprised that nothing has gone wrong with this car. All I have ever done has been scheduled maintainance.

General Comments:

This car gives me over 39.5 miles per gallon!! My commute is mostly highway miles. My previous commute was mostly city driving and I used to average 33 miles a gallon.

The car was very inexpensive and nearly pristine when we bought it in 2003. We paid 6875.00 USD.

The cabin is very small and drab.

The interior materials look flimsy and cheap. However, they all work and there has been no visible wear and tear.

High wind noise levels inside the cabin.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th July, 2004

29th Jan 2005, 11:33

About, the wind being heard inside the cabin, I own a Saturn SL 2002 and it's as quiet as any other car if not better.



18th Jun 2007, 22:25

I too own a 2002 SL2, and I agree with the poster, the wind noise is quite intrusive. I also own a 1998 S-10 and a 2004 Honda Civic and both these vehicles have much better noise isolation than my Saturn. I can only assume that it has to do with such little sound deadening material used. Or maybe it has to do with the seats being so low and close to the ground. Who knows, but the car is definitely eager to tell you whats happening all around it all the time.

4th Dec 2008, 13:33

What things have gone wrong with the car?

"I was surprised that nothing has gone wrong with this car. All I have ever done has been scheduled maintenance."

After saying the above you still give the car a sad face??? I would like to see what your rating would be on a car you had trouble with...