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.
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