Handles great, Extreme reliability, Very safe, Room to haul.
I had to replace the dome (interior ceiling) light after someone borrowed it and returned the car with it swinging by the wires. At the junkyard, most of the Saturns of this vintage had the dome lights removed already, which tells me it's a common problem.
Other than that, NOTHING: we just changed the fluids (oil every 5,000; transmission @ 50,000) and the brakes, and the dumb thing just ran and ran.
Once I put decent (but not expensive) tires on it, it handled like a sports car (I once had a Porsche, and know what I'm talking about).
Visibility is excellent, even to rear, and the "wagon" is big enough to actually put stuff in without folding down the rear seats. (Much better in both respects than a Civic, for example.)
Gas mileage is disappointing: around 20 typically. The automatic lets the engine rev too high: it's rarely below 2,000 RPM, even when driven gently.
A 10-year-old car with NO "dings," dents or scratches, thanks to plastic body panels and flexible paint. Only the hood is metal.
Generally a bit noisy: interior parts tend to creak and rattle, engine buzzes a little.
Reliability has been amazing; it doesn't get any better than this.
The extremely strong "space frame" construction makes it very safe, even though it's pretty small: my wife was in a high-speed accident (on the highway) with it, and although the engine compartment was "mushed," the rest of the car was perfect, so much so that the insurance company didn't "total" it, and fixed it. (No injuries in the Saturn, either.) We drove it for another 5 years after that, with no problems.
Even though the automatic SW1 is the slowest Saturn ever built, it's fast enough to keep up with any kind of traffic, as long as you don't mind "flooring it" on the occasional short up-hill on-ramp.
It's a shame the newer Saturns have little of the innovative technology in this old one.
We just sold this one, because my wife was just plain tired of it. I never sold a car before with nothing wrong with it. My mechanic said I was an idiot for selling it, but he's divorced.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 12th April, 2007