1996 SL2 36mpg, driving very hard on the highway. Great car no problems.
As for the comment about being not as tough as a Toyota and you have to drive it gently, that's a joke. I would prefer a steel timing chain over a rubber belt any day of the week. 230K still running strong.
Maintain the American car you have now, rather than the Japanese car you buy when this one dies from no maintenance.
I had the same problem with my key. Apparently the metal the key is made out of is prone to wear faster, and subsequently will not sit right in the lock after so many years. Go to a GM dealer and bring your registration papers and photo ID, they will look up your exact key configuration and make you a new key. This is not the same as going to the hardware store and having a key made, as they only follow the grooves on the key you have, which is defective. The key you get from the dealer will be brand new. This will solve your problem.
I have had three Saturn SLs, all of which were excellent in terms of reliability and economy. A 1994 SL2, a 2002 SL1 and a 2001 SW2, which I currently drive.
All three were cheap to insure, cheap on fuel and cheap to maintain. Aside from regular maintenance (tires, alignments, oil changes, belts, spark plugs) these cars required very litle repair, even with 160,000 miles on them and 10 years old, the only thing that ever broke on my 1994 SL2 was the RPM gauge.
My 2002 had two batteries die (which I left broken) and a clogged fuel filter. My current SW2 required new control arms/ball joints in the front. Things in these cars did not wear out or break, even after 10 years of use.
Two things worth mentioning about these cars:
1. Get regular alignments, they are prone to eating the soft rubber in snow tires quickly when the alignment is out. Proper maintenance of suspension and alignment is critical to ensure long tire life and better fuel economy.
2. Check your oil every time you fill up, the engines by nature consume some oil. Ignore the oil level and you will kill the engine. If yours consumes more than 1/2 a quart in 300 miles, look for a new car.
So you bought a car with 68,000 miles on it and you want to blame the manufacturer for the engine blowing? Ever thought that the previous owner might have thrashed it?
I made 45 MPG on a long trip with an SL2.
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