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Saturn S-Series



  • ewessonewesson Posts: 24
    Yes, it does seem silly to be spending your time defending or attacking (offending?) a marque. Personally, I used these forums as a sort of catharsis, to help me heal from my feelings of betrayal. So it's like group therapy, and I apologize if I have offended any Saturn afficionados.

    The only recommendation I make to both defenders and offenders is to avoid anything resembling a personal attack. Note I never said you're dummies for buying Saturns, but just said I feel hurt and betrayed by the company's behavior.

    To repeat: those of you who are successful Saturn owners, good for you. Nothing is better than loving the car you drive. Just try to understand the anger that some owners may have. Pity them, as they are not as well off as you.

    Interesting reading is what makes me keep coming back to these forums.

    That and that I'm in the last days of a job and don't have much to do.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    So far I have almost 30,000 miles on my 99 Saturn. The only maintenace above routine that I had done was a muffler replacement under warrany because it cracked. I like the car as so far it is economical to drive. It has automatic and air and the gas mileage varies from a low of 32 to a high of 38. It is lower in summer cause I use the air a lot at freeway speeds. Will be replacing the trans fluid and filter soon. As I have said I plan on driving this car for at least 150,000 miles.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    Hi Saturnboy!

    If you don't mind me asking, if it is "over," what are you doing back. Isn't this the third time that it has been over now? Or is it the fourth? I've lost count.

    You claim you don't know who Goldstrom is yet you read enough of his posting to know what kind of cars he has.....interesting.

    Oh well. Glad to see you are back.
  • taluga62taluga62 Posts: 1
    We've owned two Saturns, a '96 bought new in February 1996 and a '97 bought used in January 1998. We bought the second one after our 91 Cavalier began camping out at the mechanic's with 90K on the meter (my 83 Cav went 130K before I donated it to the Salvation Army.). We were looking at other makes, notably a Plymouth Neon (noisy and small) and a Breeze (the engine sounded as if it was working too hard). Still, the Breeze was tempting, but when we heard the price, my wife simply said, "Shoot, at that rate, why don't we just get another Saturn?".

    We've both been very pleased. My wife's '96 with auto has a sunroof and power door locks, neither of which she will ever do without again. She gets about 28 mpg in mostly 2-10 mile trips here and there in traffic to both of her jobs. I get 33-35 mpg on mostly Interstate highway driving in my 5-speed (which also has a sunroof).

    Neither of us has had unusual problems. Her brakes went south at about 36K, but the replacements are doing well at about 60K. My wife will definitely replace this car with another Saturn, changing only the color (from the Red to a green) and adding a CD player and possibly cruise control.

    Mine has 57K and I have no complaints. I love the handling and the cruise control (never thought I'd use the latter, but it's very handy when Smoky's out in force.) The interior trim, while uninspiring, is holding up, although the sunroof panel (the opaque shutter) gave some trouble a while back. Oil consumption for both has been average or better; in fact, this week is the first time I've had to add oil between changes, and I've gone about 3500 miles.

    Question: Has anyone had problems with the 5-speed as the cars get up in miles? I'm not, yet, but I want to be prepared.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 329
    As a rule, GMs have very reliable transmissions and manuals last longer than autos (ignoring the clutch, which can be subject to abuse). I hate for this to sound like "trite common knowledge", but there's a definite paucity of transmission problems among GMs in these various websites and forums and newsgroups and people I speak to.

    As opposed to (e.g.) the Taurus and LH autoboxes, where considerable time is spend arguing whether 'x' number of transmission failures is significant or not. Why is it even brought up as an issue?

    It would be fabulous if truly independent third party were to dig into the objective facts (i.e. not self-reporting, so not Consumers Reports or AutoPinion) and determine why this is.

    As in many fields, there are occasional revolutions and perpetual evolutions in transmission design, so often the techniques and suppositions are carried over from one generation of Automotive Engineers to the next.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Are of of the things GM does really well. Even BMW and Volvo buy GM automatic trannies for their cars. Now, if they could just make nice interiors and give the cars sporty rides...

    dave, who just drove a '97 M3.

  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    In the upstate New York area,along the NY-Pennsylvania border, I see enough Saturns of before and after 96 body styles on the road. But I hardly ever see any Saturns on non Saturn dealer lots. Do the other brands not want to handle a Saturn thus wholesale them off and if they do, where do the Saturns go that people trade-in? From the posts it seems there are enough dissatisfied people that switch to another brand.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, for one saturn dealers give good trades on their own cars, and even do things like buy the good ones people advertise in the paper, to keep more of them on the road. This is to keep the used prices up, and keep the pool of used ones suppsedly of better quality. This is from a mechanic friend, who was also complaining that they don't sell the parts cheaper to shops then to ordinary customers.

    OTOH, maybe you don't see them on the used lots because they get snapped up, eh? :)

    I was talking to a lexus dealer and he said when saturns get traded in, all the college kids come up to get 'em. Personally, i'm surprised the lexus dealer sells used saturns.

  • whybotherwhybother Posts: 1
    Talk about a waste of time! I came here looking for frank and honest opinions from Saturn owners. I did not come here to get caught up in trashing and bashing people because they are being enthusiastic about their cars. It seems as long as you hate your car, you get all the support in the world, but if you have a good story to tell about it, you are either ignored or ridden out of town on a rail. Thank goodness Dave seems to be the voice of reason, although I can't really see why he bothers coming back here. This board reminds me of a cock-fight. I will just have to rely on my own intuition and that of the sane people I have spoken to regarding their true experiences and not those who seem to have a vendetta going on. Get real, one posting should be sufficient to get your opinion across. The rest is just mindless babble and hate mail.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Wow this is an interesting place. I personally am shocked that this is a group of mature adults! WHOA!

    In anycase, I sell Saturns. I try to be as unbiased as possible, because it gives me crediblity with my customers.

    With any car is possible to have problems. Go check out the Honda or Toyota threads and you will see what I mean. The nice thing about Saturn corporation IMO is that if you do get a problematic car they have a good track reccord of resolving the problem.

    The one thing about people tho is that if they are mad, they are going to get even madder if they have happy Saturn owners in their face. I understand that.

    In anycase I'll be checking out this thread for a while. If anyone has any questions they are welcome to ask me. I'll try to give the best answer I can.

    BTW - Just so you know where I stand, I really don't like the S series saturns, except the SC2. The L series are VERY nice however.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    And then you posted!

    Sorry, too easy!

  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    To say that there are posts that are not honest is poor judgement. If someone writes in about a Saturn and they are not the owner but giving second hand information about a problem, I take it with a grain of salt as I would rather hear from the owner. Myself, I've posted my own experience with my Saturn. I've only had mine for 14 months and 30,000 miles. So far only only two problems,a muffler that developed stress cracks naer the outlet pipe and a rear passenger door outer plastic panel that broke and both repaired under warranty. My next major maintenance will be replacing the transmission fluid and filter. It is still tight with no rattles or squeaks. I only tell people that I like the car and with my limited experience with the car that it is a nice car. If they want one, test drive one and see how they like the car.
  • iwntoneiwntone Posts: 1
    I currently have an Eagle Talon that I am quite attached to, but is costing me a pretty penny. I have also added a child to the picture and now need a reliable, cost efficient, roomier car. Do you think the Saturn meets the above?

    What other cars do you check out before going for your Saturn?
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    Saturnboy, you are fooling nobody. You were not ridden out of here on a rail. You attacked everyone that had a negative experience with a Saturn, and when people had enough and started to defend themselves you couldn't deal with it. Get Over It.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    The fact that you like your Eagle Talon tells me you like performance. Obviously you are concerned about reliablity and safety as we all are. The LS2 is an incredible performer and I have seen almost 0 problems with them (after the initial quality issues got resolved)
  • nmapesonmapeso Posts: 1
    I bought a saturn SL 92 (CDN $ 12000). The first saturn that came out. Until now I'm driving the car 182,000 kms on it & still going. Its a manual transmission and I don't have any major problem with the engine or the transmission (problem free).
    Except for brake pads rotors replace/filer Oil & Air, EGR valve. Other than that its still running very well.
    Its not a perfect car but has serve me very much for 8 yrs. Sure the engine is noisy, but hey the car is reliable, haven't had towed or stuck on a highway or in the driveway.
    I drive the car everyday to work & pleasure, thru all summer/winter in Toronto.

    The car still looks (new) good when polish, no dents or whatever on the side. All cars should have dent resistant.
    And the car is easy to repair and very practical. I would buy another Saturn until this thing stop running.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    The Golf does not have poor reliability! It has average if not above average reliability. Mechanically, the Golf is one of the soundest cars on the road. Power accessories is where the Golf has problems, namely power windows have a high rate of failure. If it weren't for VW's less than stellar electrics, the Golf would have superb reliability. As far as high maintenance, I don't believe that for one minute! I own a 15 year old Rabbit with 200,000 miles and it is far from high maintenance. I have spent more money repairing accident damage than I have on anything else on the car. The engine is very durable and shows no signs of its age. It is super cheap to keep on the road and is very reliable too.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, I had looked at quality surveys quite a bit a year ago when car shopping, and one reason i was set against the VW is that they were close ot the bottom in almost every quality and reliability survey, they were endless topics on "my vw died at 10K miles" on the 'net, etc. Plus our '90 passat would break down every 2 months, and had a lot of defects that we just lived with because they cost too much to fix. And i have a relative with a brand-new passat and it's broken down numerous times in the first 2 years.

    In fiarness, i don't think what VW is building today has much to do with your 15 year old rabbit. I heard those are bulletproof. Remember, the golf has changed quite a bit in the last 15 years.

    Beleive you me, if I thought it would be reliable, I would be thinking VERY seriously about getting a new GTI right now.

    Getting a bit off-topic here. If you want to talk to me more about this, let's go to a VW topic, or e-mail me ( address in profile )

  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I test drove the following cars all in the same day; (all were 99 models equiped nearly the same)
    Escort, Cavalier, Neon and Stanza. The Saturn I drove a couple days later. Neon and Stanza in my opinion, were very niosy inside when accelerating. The Escort did not have decent acceleration. The cavalier was the winner for me at the end of my own testing but no dealer in a 35 mile drive had a Cavalier LS. My wife saw a Saturn ad and suggested I drive one. I drove the SL1 and then a SL2. Again in my opinion the SL2 had a more comfortable drivers seat and better power on hills than the SL1. I gave the chevy dealers still another chance to get me a Cavalier LS. One had one but would not even deal with me (I had the edmunds printout and their only response was I did my homework and basically refused to sell a car a real shocker). Back to Saturn and I was able to get one with what I wanted; ac, auto, ps, pb, cassette, (next time it will be a cd player). My reasoning in test driving as many as possible in one day was I felt I could compare them better.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    Forgot, also have ABS with traction control. The traction control works quite well in slippery conditions. It prevents excessive wheel spin.
  • 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...
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