2002 Saturn SL SL2 from North America - Comments

15th Aug 2007, 20:07

I made 680 km (422.6 miles) using 39.5 liters (10.4 us gal.) that's 40.6 mpg and half of that millage was on hilly road driving at 110 km per hour (or 68.3 mph).

I beleive this car can make over 40 mpg, but I'm using synthetic oil in the engine and my car is manual. So far with 65000 miles on it (104000km) I had only a minor problem I fixed myself for 25 bucks.

12th Sep 2007, 10:16

I've always thought that Saturn made a quality car that gets good gas mileage; however, my husband bought a 2002 Saturn SL2 series with 68,000 miles on it just a year and a half ago. He drives a good distance for work, but he has never drove the car harshly and we never use the car except for him to go to work in...anyway...he just blew the motor.

We just recently (within 3 weeks ago) had the oil changed and other minor fixes. No hint of any problems about to happen then within a few days...bang...started leaking oil and then so he stopped driving it and we drove a few miles to the mechanics...bango...engine blew.

We still owe 16 payments on this car and really have no option but to have it repaired. We cannot afford a rebuilt engine from Saturn as the costs vary between $3500-$4500...wow can you believe that???!! My mechanic says Saturn is "real proud of their engines" to charge that much.

At any rate, now we have to look at a salvage engine... found one that has 55,000 miles on it from a salvage yard, but you get no good warranties with it... only 30 days...ugh!! Its going to cost us around $1800 to fix it... what a financial disaster!!

Other than that obvious set back the car did well up until this point. Gas mileage... is hard to beat with other cars. My husband got between 35-40 miles per gallon out of it when it was running good.

Is it worth buying... probably so...it is a good economical car... we just werent lucky enough to find a better made one.

20th Sep 2007, 08:52

I'm interested to know exactly what "blew" in the engine, was it the main oil bearing? You said that it started to leak oil before it finally went. Please ask your mechanic and report back here. TIA.

It's unfortunate that your engine failed at such a young age for a car. I know that Saturn engines are not the strongest, but it seems like a stroke of bad luck in your case. Did the dealer not offer you an extended warranty with the car? I would purchase one for any used American made vehicle. Heck, I even bought one for my Honda Civic after I heard about their transmissions going bad between 40,000 and 100,000 miles.

Better luck to you next time.

1st Nov 2007, 11:27

I agree with this review, keep up on your maintenance! I can tell the difference in performance if you go over that 3,000 mile mark for oil changes (scoff if you like.) But other than that, I would like to say that the car does sit low, and rides "like a go-cart" to some people, but I love this characteristic! I am only 5'3" tall, and the first time I sat in it, I thought, "well, this car seems to fit me." Friends and relatives that are larger than I (I imagine anyone over 6' tall is going to have a problem) have all stated the "go-cart" comment. My opinion is that this is an affordable car, it's treated me well. I just finished my payments so I anticipate some small repairs in the future. I do find that air conditioning and a car full of people will significantly reduce acceleration. But just for me, this car is just fine. I would want to do some research into buying used because you never know how others have kept up on maintenance...

19th Nov 2007, 16:21

Believe the mileage report. I bought an SL2, a 2000 model, new in the fall of '99. It's manual, 5 spd. Routinely on trips to and from Florida (from Minnesota) I would average 40 to 41 mpg at 70 - 75 running mostly freeways. Other than replacing the clutch at 50,000 miles (a tranny seal failed), the car has been something else. Two minor exhaust repairs, brakes replaced, engine belt (not timing), and a clutch pedal kind of piston thingy later, the car is doing great and now has almost 225,000 miles on it. Mileage has dropped some to 38 to 39 mpg highway, and oil consumption is up to two quarts every 3,000 miles. I've had routine maintenance done and always oil changes at 3 grand.

12th Dec 2007, 13:06

Many factors contribute to getting excellent gas mileage. Clean air filters, changing oil regularly (and using full synthetic) and even such mundane things as keeping the car clean and waxed (it reduces aerodynamic drag) all help.

Steady, smooth driving and avoiding rapid acceleration are the biggest factors. I'd normally recommend using the cruise control (if your car has it), but my GM vehicles tend to downshift too easily when climbing a hill or hitting "resume", and that eats into good mileage.

On a trip in our heavily loaded (including a fat dog) GMC Envoy I managed 24.4 miles per gallon last year. That was running 70mph on the interstate with the air on.

I routinely averaged over 40mpg highway with my old Dodge Omni, and 37-38 highway with a 1988 Dodge Daytona.

Good mileage is up to you. If you work at it you can can get it.

11th Feb 2008, 22:45

In 2005 bought a 2002 4 door SL 1 at an auto auction. Plain Jane manual transmission, no power anything, do have heat, air and CD player. Was coming off lease with 34,000 miles on it. Best 5,500 bucks I ever spent. Am at 77,000 miles and other than an 800 dollar valve repair it has run flawlessly. I agree ride is harsh on rough road, but handles with crisply and acceleration is OK. Gas mileage when I drive to Colorado best I did one trip was an 800 mile trip home getting 48 miles a gallon. Had a tailwind and very steady driving. Couldn't believe it but duplicated the mileage that fall, again heading home from CO. Usually average 39-42 HWY. Maintain it like it is my baby because I want it to run as long as it can. Bravo my little plastic car!!! Not a Porsche or even a Toyota, but for the price can't beat it with a stick.

16th Apr 2008, 14:30

I'd like to hear back from the envious first commenter that just cound not believe 41mpg was even remotely possible. Perhaps you have a lesson to learn. Such bold language should be used after much thought, research and fact-finding have been completed. Better luck next time!

8th Jul 2008, 21:33

I purchased a 2002 SL2 stick new, nothing fancy (air, CD, antilock brakes) in May of '02. It now has ~105,000 miles on it. To date it has required the the following repairs:

- very slight intermittent squeak in AC fan motor. Replaced no questions asked under warranty, even though it didn't squeak for the technician. This was my only warranty repair.

- replaced the strap that supports muffler.

- battery terminal broke at about 60,000. Apparently a common Delco battery problem.

- serpentine belt and tensioner pulley replaced ~ 80,000 miles.

- right lower control arm (ball joint) replaced when original tires were replaced at 84,000 miles (there was still more than "penny test" tread on the originals).

- two front brake refurbs, most recent including replacement of calipers.

- replaced manual window crank ($9). The knob was popping off.

- one tie rod replaced yesterday.

That's it. It still feels tight, consumes zero oil, I find it pretty quick and I enjoy driving it. I make sure it gets regular oil changes, tire rotations, have had the coolant and brake fluid flushed 1x each, replaced the plugs once. I average 39 mpg on the highway and 31 generally. I fit fine. There's a bit of rattle in the dashboard - only when air is all directed out dash vents.

What's not to like?