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.
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.