1997 Saturn SW SW1 1.9 from North America

Summary:

Reliable, cheap ride for 278,000 miles

Faults:

Front wheel bearings (often).

New engine (first one had a small oil leak, but still great gas mileage, needed to get done when I moved to Canada) at ~150000 miles.

Rear wiper switch broke.

General Comments:

I bought this car with 80,000 miles on it. It has treated me well for the last seven years. Practical, inexpensive, no rust issues (plastic on the outside).

At some point I needed to put in a second engine, since the oil leak was unacceptable for Canadian import inspection. The second engine was used as well, and the car still gets 40 mpg on hot summer days when driven conservatively on the highway.

Great in the snow, pulled a little trailer just fine, great to have plastic panels on the outside for NE winters. 8' lumber fits easily in the car, even 20 2x4s.

A fine, sturdy, but basic long-distance runner that took it well to be treated like a utility vehicle. Not much room for more than 2 adults.

I had planned to keep it until I hit 300,000 miles, but it was totaled just last week. While the other party's insurance is paying for the car, I deeply regret not having it anymore. No idea what I should get next.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 22nd March, 2011

1997 Saturn SW SW2 1.9 gasoline from North America

Summary:

Lucky Wednesday car or what?

Faults:

Driver's seat wiring severed by slide mechanism, so that the door switch fails to activate the dome light.

Driver's side plastic shoulder belt guide snapped off.

General Comments:

Extraordinarily good highway mileage of 40.4mpg at 65mph average speed, giving a 425 mile range on a 10.5 US gallon tank.

Still has original battery, still starts instantly down to -30C.

Sports car handling and feel.

All dashboard components work like new.

Replaced windshield wipers once.

Got new tires last summer; the car feels like new again.

No sign of rust outside or inside (a little underneath).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th March, 2011

1997 Saturn SW SW2 1.9L DOHC from North America

Summary:

Cheap, reliable transportation, that's also nice to look at

Faults:

Bought car in semi-rough shape. Driveable but needed much work to be perfect.

Tires were bad, balding on the fronts from a bad alignment.

The A/C did not work.

Rear suspension was not right. If you hit a bump on the highway, the rear end would fishtail instead of bounce up and down.

Brakes needed replacement, pretty bad grinding by the time I junked the car.

Bad leak in the rear cargo area. The whole car smelled like wet dogs after a rain.

Window regulator was MISSING from drivers front door. Replaced with a part from the junkyard.

General Comments:

Despite its rough shape when I bought it, this was not a terrible car, and I could see it having some great potential.

The engine and transmission were exceptionally quick on the highway, and this little wagon would cruise at 80 nearly effortlessly. Transmission shifted very smooth and crisp, and the clutch was light and short, very easy to drive. I did not like the seating arrangement and the steering wheel was awkward, so I won't say it was "fun to drive" in my opinion.

Fuel economy was very good at about 34-36 mpg, considering that you have four doors and the utility of a wagon. My wife's Accord wagon only gets about 25mpg on a good day, and is not a peppy on the highway as the Saturn was.

The body styling was nice and sleek, although easily confused for my wife's '95 Accord wagon (almost identical body styles). The Saturn did feel somewhat cheap, since the interior is all plastic, as well as the body itself.

The car finally met its end after only a few weeks when I slid into a curb (due to the bad wheels) at about 25mph and bent the subframe for the front suspension. Shop quoted me at least $800 to fix it, and since I only paid $650 for the car, I decided to part it out and sell the shell to the scrappers. I was very disappointed that an accident that would have bent a tie rod on another car (and cost maybe $150 to fix) essentially totaled this car. You can expect to walk away from a crash in a Saturn unhurt, but don't expect to get the car back.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th December, 2010