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Saturn S-Series

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  • Hi everyone, I'm new here and have decided to lease a 2001 Saturn SL1 for 39 months. Does anyone have any opinions regarding this car, and what I can expect? This is my first Saturn and my first new car. I would appreciate any input... Thank you
  • fd36242fd36242 Posts: 1
    I just leased a saturn sl1 with automatic and air.
    They are having a special on leases. I'm sorry I did it. The car is very sluggish, very uncomfortable and handles like a bowl of jello. Please, don't even consider this car. Get a cavalier or better a sunfire. This would not be a bad deal if the lease were about $99/month.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    If you want performance the SL1 is NOT the way to go.

    If you want super cheap transportation its perfect.
  • BUY AN SL2! or wait for the SUV like me. I have a 1992 SL2 with everything except antilock brakes. I am probably in the top 1 percent of drivers when it comes to pushing a car. I've driven mine nearly 500 miles in one trip with the cruise control set on 100 and the AC on and got 27 mpg. I've gone through a couple of clutches early but newer ones have tougher pressure plate splines. I've dealt with the rotor warpage and had a few motor mounts put in but I considered it standard for my wear and tear. I've been rear ended by a Volvo wagon at 20 mph ($1400 damage, no injuries, hardly noticeable on the car) and it has eaten a lot of flying debris and door panel crunching fools without showing damage. I'm 900 miles shy of 200,000 miles and it still manages a 28 mile commute in under 20 minutes. Its also done well off paved roads and in the mud, but its a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] to get that mud out from under it :) I do have a 96' transmission in it with 60,000 miles on it because a piece of road debris penetrated the casing on the original.
    Its well worth buying for the price.
  • I wanted to thank all of you for your honest opinions. The Saturn that I am leasing, is a base model, with a 5 speed, it has no AC, The car went from 0-40 in less than 3 seconds. Not bad for a 4 cyl. If any of you are familiar with Boston traffic, you understand why I picked the SL1.
  • I am in the marker for a small car. I like the Focus ZX3 but the Saturn S series have me really impressed by he gas mileage. They claim 40 mile per gallon on the highway. Any information about it?
    thanks
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    My automatic sl2 used to get about 35mpg on highways trips, even with some A/C use, so i have little doubt that a sl1 with a manual transmission could pull 40.

    dave
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Everyone has a different experiences with gas milage based upone habits ect.

    The most I have heard of is averaging 48 mpg with an SL manual. The guy is an airline mechanic and has a 40 mile one way commute, no air conditioning used.

    He put in some kind of oil by-pass filter in which he only changed his oil twice in 50,000 miles. He also used a K&N drop in air filter.

    I wouldnt believe any of the above had I not seen his reccords with my own eyes.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    afkx:As critical as I've been about my "beloved" SC2 it has been totally reliable, I'll say that. As to buying the thing the lessor has made me a "deal I can hardly refuse" by cutting almost $2000 off the residual !! So much for the highly touted resale of Saturns. I would not actually be buying the car for myself as it was originally leased for business use. We will palm it off to one of the office staff or give it away at the annual company picnic in July. NOBODY will willingly take it over our fleet Ford Focus cars so it will be raffeled off to a employee @ N/C.

    Floridian
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    soggydog:The residual on this car was originally $10,300 , 39 month lease $290 per month with NO money down, no security deposit. They have offered the car @ a buyout price $8000 last week !I think the MSRP was over $19,000, every option except leather and the special "Black Top" trim, special wheels, white gauges and upgraded tires. Way over priced in the first place IMHO .

    Floridian
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Funny thing is if you wanted another Saturn (I know you don't) you could trade it in and have equity. We love to get coupes at our dealership on trade. We literally sell them as fast as we get them in.

    I'm still a bit confused tho. Why is it that everyone REFUSES to drive the car? Is it really that bad? I have driven the focus back to back with the Saturn SL2 and I actually liked the Saturn better.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    afk x:heck, I dunno, none of my employees just seemed to like the Saturn, especially when we got the six ZX3 hatchbacks into the fleet. There is NO comparison between the the two vehicles. The Fords are superior in EVERY way that I can see and I am not especially a Ford fan either. They excell in handling, fit and finish,NVH, and low,low noise levels @ highway speeds. A truly remarkable piece of engineering on Ford's part. No wonder they are the single largest seller in the world !! We have from 10K miles to 40K miles on them and NOT one single problem of any kind so far and the MPG is great (36mpg)in overall driving. Anyway, someone will get e "free" 1998 SC2 @ the picnic in july and it will be off my books.

    Floridian
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    I just drove them back to back around the block, so I have no idea about highway speed noise levels. You are right that Ford has a winner on its hands, hard to argue with the level of the Focus sales.

    The SL-2 / SC2 does have some key advantages however.

    Saturn has better acceleration - crash test results (and LOTS of real world crash test results), and extremely low cost of ownership.

    Of course I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the plastic panels Saturn owners enjoy keep the car dent free for many many many many many years. Funny thing is I have yet to see a dent in a panel. (Have seen dents on roofs)

    Also you are comparing the 98 SC2 to a 2000 Focus. Saturn made large strides in quieting the engine in 99 and finalized it in 2000. Truely there is no comparison between a 98 and a 2000 for the smoothness and quietness of the engines. In fact when on the highway I am always impressed with how quiet my 2000 Saturn is! It is a LOT quieter than my wifes 98 Altima.

    Lastly the level of Satisfaction you will recieve from the Sales department *ranked #1* which is mildly important - and the Service department *#1 by CR and #2 by J.D. Powers* which can change your ownership perspective forever.

    Good night
  • I took possession of my 2001 Saturn SL1 last night. So far so good... Needless to say, I had the most pleasant buying experience, EVER!!!! Everyone was very professional and friendly, right down to the service staff, and even the car wash staff!!!

    What can I say, I think I'm hooked.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    afk x: I agree with most of the points you make. The noise I refer to is mostly "road noise" or road rumble, not really from the engine. The newer engines are indeed smoother and quieter than the 1998 mill. The noise from the "grained" surfaces on the secondary roads in Florida and Georgia are murder to my ears and I have avoided long trips in the SC2 and signed-out one of the "Foci" instead, much quieter !!

    As to the low cost of ownership (at least on the '98)I think it has to be worse than most other econoboxes now out there. The recommended service intervals of oil change @ 3000mi,replace spark plugs @ 30,000 mi (most others are using platinum plugs that easly go 100K) and tranny service @ 30K does not a low cost maintenance vehicle make in my book. The timing chain vs a belt is a nice touch tho. Warranty will be voided if these intervals not followed. I feel this is juat a ploy to boost service revenue for Saturn. That's ok, they have to eat too I guess, but not on my nickle, LOL. If you factor in the disappointing resale (IMHO)then the Saturns are merely just another el-chepo GM rag tag attempt at building a small car. For the money a Cavalier or Sunfire, even allowing for the dismal reliability (GM again) of these cars, are a better buy.I do have a neat keepsake in the form of a color picture on a 1998 calandar of me taking delivery @ the dealer plus they do send me a birthday card on the anniversary date of the car and all those donuts and coffee in the customer lounge have to acccount for something,yes ?? LOL Good luck with yours.

    Floridian
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Very good point. The Suspension used on the Saturns is very dated. Interestingly enough Honda just went away from their wishbone to a setup similar to what Saturn uses.

    As for mine, its a lease and I don't plan on buying it out. I'm going for an F150.
  • mm66mm66 Posts: 2
    We just got a 92 SL2 with about 110,000 on it. It's burning oil excessively. About a quart in 150-200 miles. There appears to be no oil leak - and the exhaust is not showing a consistent trail of blue. Just a puff of blue once in a while - so little, that I didn't notice anything alarming in over an hour of test driving. Seems to run great or we wouldn't have bought it. I knew that SL's had a history of oil burning, so I wasn't scared off by the little bit of blue exhaust I did see while testing it. Any suggestions (besides new engine) on what I can do to slow the burning process?
  • j_colemanj_coleman Posts: 143
    Loss of oil may just be a leaky gasket somewhere you don't see. It may not be a big deal. At 110K miles I would expect some leaks. Have it checked out by a good mechanic if you have one...
  • mm66mm66 Posts: 2
    Although it doesn't leave a single drop of oil when it's parked in my driveway & oil is not openly visble under the hood, we have figured it's leaking WHILE running only. What gave it away was oil inside the right wheel well & extremely fine drops along the passenger side outer body. Time to pressure wash & fiond the leak.... Thanks anyway.
  • I have experience replacing power window motors, regulators and flexi-racks in two different LeBarons I have owned. It is a MAJOR P.I.T.A. to do. Anyway, yesterday, my 1991 Saturn SL2's
    drivers window failed, in the down position, of course. It already had partially stripped gear teeth, but now the motor is dead.

    So.... I have to drill out frozen screw heads to get the panel off. I FINALLY get the partially damaged panel off and I find out you have to take the outer skin of the door off to get to the regulator!!! But the star screws for the skin won't budge!!! So I think, "well let me look at the switches in the console." There is no visible or easy way to get the switch module out, so my friend and I take apart the console to get the module out. We find out I could have pried it out with a screwdriver with a little damage.

    Anyway, we take apart the switch module for a look and all these little metal and plastic parts start falling into crevices in the car! After we accidently rolled another window down.
    I don't think there was anything wrong with the switches anyway. I should stop complaining about my Chrysler, it was easier and the switch wasn't made up of all little fly away parts.

    Now I'm trying to put the console back together and it does not want to comply. As I'm trying to reassemble it, more parts are jamming, or falling out! So now, I have two windows down, parts of a console sticking up and a mess of a door. And my LeBaron (my original P.O.S.) needs a fuel pump!

    So.... some advice, before, you start to try to fix power windows on a Saturn.
    DON'T !!!!!!! Unless you know how.

    Anybody want a 1991 SL2 93,000 miles
    on Long Island, runs well, needs you to get it fixed, I give up!!!

    Gary
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