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Saturn S-Series



  • jrallyjrally Posts: 3
    I'm probably gonna go to a Saturn dealer tomorrow to check out a '96 SL2 that they advertised to fit my preferences*. I know that Saturn's policy is the "no hassle" or "hassle-free" when it comes to purchasing a new car from them. But what I don't know (and in hopes that someone would help me) is if that policy also applies to their used and/ pre-owned cars, too!?!?
    Another thing is , I can't quite figure out or understand why most of the Saturns advertised '4sale' in newspapers,mags,etc. are not equipped with ABS & Traction-control*? I mean, this "pkg" is one of the most important safety feature/option on a car that no one should neglect!?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, the used cars are supposed to be no haggle as well, though i bet you have more latitude to ask for stuff. I got a used sw2 from the dealer with my mom, and we got free floormats, a few extra things, and a saturn shirt. Not much, but we didn't try *that* hard.

    As for abs/traction, etc, on the S cars, well, most cars in that range don't have it standard, and it would make them look more expensive. But i think it should be standard on the higher-end cars like the sl2. Also, in some areas, like the southwest, they are mostly useless features.

  • jrallyjrally Posts: 3
    Thanks for the input , Dave!
    I'm located in NYC and the ABS/Traction Control feature(in my opinion) is a necessity. But unfortunately, most of the SL2s(90%) sold around the tri-state area do not have the feature/option.
    Do you also know if a Saturn dealer can install this option for a pre-owned SL2?
  • siamesesiamese Posts: 3
    I am looking for a newer used car-probably a 1998. My current top choices are a Saturn SL2 or a Dodge stratus (cirrus is the same car). Other possibilities are the Pontiac Grand Prix and ???? Please give me your input-what car do you think is best? What other cars should I look at? This car buying project is ready to drive me to drink-I need help. Don't laugh but I currently drive a 1990 Pontiac Grand Am and want a car the same size or slightly smaller if the trunk size will fit a wheelchair. I will think about and consider carefully all of your comments. Thanks
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    No, i'm pretty sure you can't retrofit ABS/traction control. It's a not insubstantial amount of plumbing.

    I'm not sure what price range you're looking for, but saturn has very low financing as well as special lease deals right now, so getting a new one is not so bad, and then you can get the options you want. If i lived in ice country, i would insist on abs/traction as well. I'm surprised they don't sell more of those though. When I was in chicago in winter last time, I drove my rented grand am like a mainiac, constantly flooring it on the icy ground, and doing parking brake skides. I think I burned out the "traction" light. :)


    Hmmm... I'm not sure how big a wheelchair is when folded up. All I can suggest is trying out several cars. Maybe hatchbacks would be good for you? Some of those can be small, but still lug a ton of stuff. I'm thinking then wheelchair + other cargo. Our saab hatchback is awesome at hauing stuff. The cirrus i hear awful reliability reports about.

  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I agree with dhanley in that it is a considerable amount of work and extra brake lines to retrofit ABS and traction control. It takes a different computer and wiring to the wheel sensors also.


    Instead of just looking at sedans, check out the wagons that are available. Should be able to find Saturn and Escort, or as he suggested the models that offer hatchbacks. I know that the folding strollers (for grandkids) takes up most of the trunk on my SL2, so I feel a wheelchair would fill the trunk.
  • jrallyjrally Posts: 3
    Thanks for the input, everyone!
    FYI: Looking to buy not lease. I don't believe in the concept, lease.
  • saturnlysaturnly Posts: 2
    i keep a wheelchair (folded, of course) in the trunk of my SL2; it fits fine, leaving room for a hang-up suit bag on top plus a couple smaller bags on the sides.
  • siamesesiamese Posts: 3
    Thanks for the input. I only put my mom's chair in the trunk once a week but my current car is such a hassle. I have to tie down the lid with a bungie cord.
  • saturnlysaturnly Posts: 2
    i just remembered--when i first got the Saturn the wheelchair was tight against the back of the rear seat--until i realized that the footrests on the chair are removable! made a huge difference, those 3 or 4 inches...
  • johnv10johnv10 Posts: 1
    Has anyone had the following problem and know a solution? -
    Today I purchased a 97 SL2 for my son to commute to school. When the car is stopped and in gear, we hear a loud vibration. It seems to come from the whole dash board and/or from under the floor. It is only noticeable inside the car and is very annoying sound. We did not notice the vibration in the test drives, probably because the AC was on.
    I will be bringing it back to the dealer tomorrow and may have to take advantage of the 3 day return policy!
  • chasmalachasmala Posts: 14
    I purchased a 1999 Saturn for my mother just as the '99 models came out. It is now just a month and a half short of being two years old.
    I periodically drive it when she comes over to my house to make sure there are no rattles or funny noises and because I enjoy checking it out and driving it. I am so very impressed with this little car. It's an SL2 and only has 8,500 miles on it and I think, for the money, it is a great car.
    It rides great and there have been absolutely no problems with it to date. The people at Saturn were a pleasure to deal with and I really feel she is in good hands if ever she needs to have anything done to it. I would like to get one myself but I am tempted to wait until the 2002 model because I understand there may be a major face lift and would like to see if it has even more appeal. Does anyone have any inside information as to what the 2002 SL model will look like compared to the present model? In some ways I hope it doesn't change too much.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    Your best way to find out what the 2002 saturn looks like is to peruse the car magazines (motor trend, car and driver etc) as they do show 'spy' photographs of the coming years models. Probably be a year before any 2002 pictures are printed by them. The latest issue of popular mechanics has a picture of the saturn suv. The picture is quite small so hard to tell just how big it is.
  • sorcerersorcerer Posts: 28
    Does anyone know where I can go online to order stuff for my Saturn?

    Specifically, I am looking for touchup paint for my '95 SL2 (med Blue Green)

    There are a couple other things I need, but this is the main one, & the dealer nearest me is only open during the hours I work, & is 50 miles away...

    They do not want to send me the paint in the mail, (actually expect me to take a day off of work just to drive over there!)

    Any help would be great!

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, as long as you want the dealer to mail it, it doesn't matter which dealer it is, right? You can call out of state ones, whatever.

  • j_colemanj_coleman Posts: 143
    This topic has been pretty quiet lately, what gives?

    Has anyone had a problem with a cracked cylinder head on their '96 SL with the SOHC engine? This was the problem that Saturn sent letters out about a year or two ago. Our SL's coolant is still clear pink and the car is not losing oil, so I think we are safe for now. Of course she only has 49K miles on the car, so the problem could still develop. I would be interested to hear from someone who has been through this, and how it was resolved.
  • chrissy6chrissy6 Posts: 1
    I have been test driving cars for awhile now under the 15 grand range and my fav's have been the focus and the saturn SL2. Until I just read a bunch of posts about saturns cookie sugar coating the buying part and turning around and giving people a hard time when something goes wrong. Honestly, now I don't know what to think! I loved the way the SL2 handled..the power..the clutch..the layout. Only thing I'm uneasy about in buying a car is that I want at least 150,000 miles out of it. I own a 92 Mercury Tracer LTS with 158,000 miles on it..original clutch and all and it's still going great and I want to be able to put that kind of wear and tear on my next car. I'd appreciate any input as to how the Saturn's really hold up after putting on some hefty miles. Thanks
  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89

    If I were you I wouldn't put too much faith in a messege board where mostly people only come to complain about a car, and thier unfortunate experiences. In some cases, in this room and others at, stories from supposed owners often cannot be proved as to thier authenticity.

    As for Ford, if you liked your tracer so much why not give the Focus a whirl. On the other hand, for 2000 Saturn achieved a number 2 Spot in overall Customer Satisfaction from JD Power & Associates, Saturn did better then BMW, Mercedes, Acura, to name a few. In the end, some Ford's will hold up better then others, and Some Saturn's will hold up better then others.

    Keep in mind that the Saturn was rated a best overall value by Intellichoice, under 15k. The Saturn also received the highest Crash Test rating possible from At this point you might as well flip a coin to decide :) good luck.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Saturns have had some minor reliablity issues. You could pretty much count on a Saturn needing a new alternator around 80K miles. Also due to vibration you usually need an engine mount replaced about the same time. The average life expectancy of an S series vehilce engine has been between 150K - 200K, but a rebuilt engine actually doesnt cost very much.

    The new Saturns have signifigantly less harsh engines than prior years and I would expect that the need for replacing the engine mount is over. Also they have made changes to to increase the life of the alternator.

    All that being said, I would not buy an SL2. I would spend a little more (very little) and get an LS. Its not much more and its WAY better in every way. Although it doesn't have a long track reccord I can point to, they are fantastic cars.

    Whatever you decide, good luck
  • ken1776ken1776 Posts: 41
    A lot can be learned from how Saturn has handled those unfortunate customers who have not had the greatest Saturn experience in the world. Although it might be true that this board is over negative because angry people tend to voice their opinion more often then happy ones, just remember that most of us are angry because Saturn made us angry. And if you think our opinion is biased, well think twice about the opinion from someone with "Saturn" in his name. And I am of the opinion that although Saturn is probably a better built car then many, it's still just another division of GM.
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