1997 Saturn SW 2 1.9 from North America


The 1997 Saturn SW2 is economical, dependable and great value for the money


Driver's side shoulder belt plastic retaining clip snapped.

General Comments:

This car is extremely dependable. Almost every weekend for the past 20 Winters I have driven 60 or 70 miles into the Rocky mountains to ski. In all that time I never got stuck, and even the few times the temperature hit minus forty the engine started (turned slowly for a few seconds but then started and ran smoothly). The battery lasted 14 years and was easy and cheap to replace. I've changed the tires once, about 5 years ago. The spark plugs and everything else is still original! I am impressed. Nowadays I only drive it once a week to go grocery shopping. Yesterday it was -29 in the garage, but when I pressed the clutch and turned the key, bam (!), instant start and away I went after 15 seconds warm up.

It's spent about 80-90% of its life on the highway (I've been fortunate to live within walking distance of work (which I recommend if you can possibly manage it, good for your health and your pocketbook)).

It does use a little more oil than I expected and that's a bit of a mystery. It must be burning it, even though there's not a hint of smoke out the rear. But it's very economical on fuel. Although it feels and handles like a sports car, if one resists the urge to drive it like one, and tucks in behind a big truck or a bus for longish stretches, it uses just over 5 litres per hundred kilometers (about 47 miles/USgal) at 120k/hour (which is 10k over the limit, standard behavior on the highways hereabouts) and slowing to the limit when not drafting. Pretty respectable for a 20 year old. And on top of that it still shines like new! (except for the marks left by other peoples' doors hitting it in parking lots, grrrr, and the inevitable little pits in the windshield).

I had heard good things about Saturn, but thinking this might be the only new car I might ever be able to afford, decided to order it without things that are known to break. So got it (by special order) with no automatic transmission, no air conditioning, no electric windows etc. I think it was a good move. I've spent vastly more on licensing and insurance than on repair, maintenance and fuel.

It must have been made on a Wednesday.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th February, 2018

18th Feb 2018, 04:18

Saturns burn oil. It's what they do. Keep an eye on the oil level and enjoy the car :)

1997 Saturn SW SW2 1.9 DOHC LL0 from North America


Inexpensive and dependable


Power locks and rear electric windows don't work.

Replaced headliner.

Replaced cracked radiator.

General Comments:

So far this car has been very reliable, has an adequate amount of power, and gets great gas mileage. Averages about 35MPG, and gets up to 38MPG on the highway.

Unlike many Saturns of this era, it consumes very little motor oil, and the automatic transmission shifts very smoothly.

Easy and inexpensive to maintain.

Considering that these cars are still abundant after nearly 2 decades, I have concluded that they must be pretty good little cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th February, 2016

1997 Saturn SW SW1 1.9 from North America


Reliable, cheap ride for 278,000 miles


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