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Saturn S-Series



  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I'm fairly sure the manual and window sticker for the LS2 say regular fuel is OK. As for the window controls on the center console, that is an ergonomic thing I think is a big plus. You have to move your right hand off the wheel off the time (shifting, climate, radio )and you get used to having the left on and operating things with the right. Plus the passenger has access to the window controls. The fuel tank is a bit small; I think they should increase it's capacity. Still about 300 miles per tank, probably not that inconvienent for most people, but I'd like more.
    I am not being sic-ed on you by anyone, hope you don't take this as a sic-ing. Your opinion of the car above sounds pretty fair to me. I'm just differing about the premium fuel issue, giving my opinion about the window switch position, and agreeing about the fuel tank. I also like the looks, but that's highly subjective. Hope this leaves no permanent scars. :)

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, mine has about 80K miles, and has had no mechanical problems, though it is not as "tight" as it used to be; the weatherstripping around the windows got loose and I rubber-cememnted it in place ( this was recently, long out of warranty ).
    The service department sure did stand behind it's new car in my case, they even fixed things I had clearly broken. Aside from that it's been no repiars and very little maintenence. By 100K miles (soon) I figure I'll have saved enough in maintenence over other cars to give it away free and break even. Obviously, that won't guarantee the same experience to you. Also, that dealer sounds bad. The dealers are independantly owned, and maybe another in your area would be better. Good luck.

  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89
    Incase you have failed to notice, when I discuss reasons to buy a Saturn( which you oviously don't believe in because of their world famous "no haggle , no hassle") one price policy, I present my reasoning with COLD HARD FACTS. Saturn won the 2000 bovy award from and have done so for the last 7 years . FACT. This was accomplished by a combination between low maintenance costs, low insurance costs, high resale value, and good reliability.

    Saturn was the only car in the light car class starting in the 1999 model year and continuing the tradition to win double 5 STARS for safety by the National Traffic and Highway Saftey Administraition, FACT.

    Saturn consistently achieves a top 10 spot in JD powers customer satisfaction ratings , always near luxury nameplates costing thousands more, FACT. Also with JD powers, Saturn has and continues to have good reliability according to JD power & associates.

    So it is clear to anyone who actually reads these posts that I am not simply posting opinions, I am posting FACTS backed up by leading automotive research companies. It is a consumer's choice to buy what they wish, and I encourage them to shop around. Some will buy Saturn's , some won't .

    It is also clear that "YOU were the only one posting opinions as to why you thought people should not buy Saturns. That is your opinion. In a qote you made " I would not buy one cause you pay full sticker price for a car" . THAT is an opinion, YOURS. See what another member had to say about this situation..

    "macarthur2: How is saturnboy a zealot, and you now
    one? He's expresing his opinion just like you.
    At least he can se both sides of the issue, present
    his opinions as such, and refer to facts. This is
    more than you've done. How has he stopped you
    from expressing your feelings, exactly? He just
    rebuked youe statements, and you can't handle it.
    So, who's immature?


    I do like other cars, I do compare cars, The honda civic and toyota corrolla are very fine automobiles, and the majority of people that buy them will be happy I assume. I used to own a toyota and a nissan. They were decent cars at the time and lived up to what I expected from them. I always attempt to give facts when discussing reasons to buy a car or not. When have YOU done so with the protege for example? YOU DID NOT. And their certainly are many good FACTS out their about the Mazda Protege, you simply did not take the time to post them, other then sounding off your own OPINIONS, Notions, as to why you liked the "other" car better. In the end this chat forum accomplishs nothing other then kaos, it offers little or no real facts about any car, so I am seriously considering not coming here anymore since this waste of time accomplishes nothing. Macarthur is NOT a SATURN believer, and never has been, never will be. Thats fine. Thats his choice. I refuse to go into chat rooms and simply say why I don't like the car other people are driving, and not support that with facts. No further comment.
  • macarthur2macarthur2 Posts: 135
    There are no posted rules for opinions in the column as you folks well know. Opinions are like noses, most everyone has one. "A Saturn believer" no, I guess not, it is not a god just a car, one that can be good if maintained well. But it's not as perfect as the "believers" would have you believe either. Admit it has had engine problems - dare ya. And it has been noisy. See it's just metal, glass and in this case plastic. Not something to bow down to and worship. Here on earth we call it a pretty good car, thats all. Like all cars the breed has improved over the years, but you must admit (I hope) that the competition has also. The L Series was badly needed because when Saturn owners wanted to go to a bigger car there was not a Saturn available. But Detroit has a bad habit of bringing in a captive import for a year or two then producing their own car leaving the captive import buyer high and dry. The L series is a German Opel with a Saab V6 engine, it's interesting and bears watching. Re the Protege' it rides firmer but handles better, okay?
  • macarthur2macarthur2 Posts: 135
    I still don't like the "no Haggle" price. Isn't that my opinion and my perogative?
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    The v6 engine is not a saab engine per se. Saab is using it too, but it is originally a vectra engine. In the saab incarnaton, it is asymetrically turbocharged, which the saturn egine is most certianly not.

  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    I must agree with the person who dosen't like the "no haggle" policy. This bothers me too. It would be a terrific idea if the vehicle were sold at a fair price to both the buyer and dealer. I have no problem with a dealer making a fair profit on a car. But the markup on these cars seems to be extremely high. I am still possibly considering a new Saturn but I don't view the "no haggle" policy as much of a plus.

    Just my two cents
  • 94saturn94saturn Posts: 7
    My Saturn has stopped again this morning.
    Traveler said that it might be corrosion on the connectors, but it's been in the shop 2 weeks ago, and they cleaned the connectors(which I don't think is a problem), so isn't it too early to clean them? What is strange is that sometimes it gets confused going over 30 mph or going less than 10 mph. When it did it the first time, I took it to a Saturn dealer, and he changed the spark plugs( it was about 2 months ago or so) I am afraid that it might be transmission's computer problem, and it's impossible to fix. I just bought it too. I have a friend that has a similar problem, but her car stalls every 3 or 4 months. This is the worst purchase I made. I regret that Saturn is not that great of a car.
    P.S.- What kills me is that nobody knows what the problem is.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    "Detroit has a bad habit of bringing in a captive
    import for a year or two then producing their own
    car leaving the captive import buyer high and dry."

    Yes, it was true in the past. However, the LS is not an import, it's made in Delaware and its planned to be around awhile. Also, these engines are going to be GM's mainline engines in the future. Example, the LS' four cylinder is the first of the new generation of GM 4's, developed in Europe. It is NOT a reworked Saturn 1.9, which will be replaced in a few years, too.

    The LS' V6 is Opel designed and will be shared in other lines, also. Automotive News has posted articles outlining these plans.
  • powsrw3powsrw3 Posts: 1
    Is anyone else experiencing wind noise with their Saturn SL 2000?

    The following is a copy of the letter my wife sent to Saturn...

    We purchased a Saturn SL on 8-16-99 in Houston. On 8-26-99, I brought the car in for service. There was a wind noise from the door/window on the driver's side at any speed above 55mph. It sounded as if the window was opened a small crack. The service technician readjusted the driver's side door. The noise was still there, but not nearly as noticeable.

    The noise progressively got worse and in mid-October I brought the car in to have the service technician check it over. And, now the noise was on both sides, front seats. This time they kept the car all day, instead of the half-day on the first visit. When I picked up my car, I talked with the technicians. They said they were frustrated that they could not locate the source of the noise. They had driven the car and the noise was evident any time the car was going 45mph or better. I asked them if this was common or normal for Saturns and they both told me no. They said they would contact a factory representative to have him check my car on his next visit to Houston. That would be in approximately 7-10 days. They would call me and schedule a time for me to bring in the car when the Saturn factory representative would be at my dealership. I called on November 12th to inquire if the rep. would be coming the next week, as it had already been three weeks since our conversation. I was told they expected the rep. the next week and would call me to schedule a service time as soon as he knew when the rep would be there.

    On December 10th, the dealership made an appointment for December 15th. The car was ready by lunch. When I picked up the car, I talked with my dealership technicians, who said the factory representative had them check the drip rails, seals, door assemble and molding, and concluded that it was strictly an outside wind noise and there was nothing Saturn could do. I talked with the factory rep. and told him I knew it was an outside noise, but it still needed to be corrected somehow. He said there was nothing Saturn could do, it was just that way. I asked him if all Saturn cars had this problem. He did not answer me.

    The noise was just as evident when I drove off as it was when I had brought the car in that morning.

    Now, at 17,946 miles, the noise is very aggravating. I drive approximately 160+ miles to and from work every day. The only way to not hear this noise is to turn up the volume on the radio and/or turn up the fan speed for the air conditioning. Neither of these options appeals to me. I enjoy a quite drive early in the morning and I can not have that with this noise.

    This is only the 2nd new car I have ever purchased, so I can only compare it to my 1992 Toyota Tercel. This Saturn just does not measure up in many ways. First, of course, is the noise factor. The Tercel has 210,362 miles on it when we traded it in, and it never produced outside wind noise.

    Second, I was very unhappy to learn on August 26th (first service visit) that we could not have cruise control added to this car. I asked a service technician to get a price on cruise control installation while my car was in for service. When I picked up the Saturn, he told me he had checked with the factory and cruise could not be added to this model after it left the factory. What a shame. We paid cash for the car and hoped to add the cruise control after we had saved some additional money. We were not told when we purchased the SL that no options could be added. I do not fault the salesman because I do not belief he knew this either. We paid cash for our Tercel in 1992 and then added the cruise control a couple of months later. Almost 95% of our driving is freeway and cruise control is very nice.

    Third, after taking our first long drive last month (7 hours), our legs became numb from the positioning of the seats. The seats are not meant for long drives. They are too low to the floor and have a poor seat design.

    The car has a lot of good qualities, but it is very disappointing to have a new vehicle and have to tolerate the noise.

    On a scale of 10, with 10 being the best, we would only be able to give this car a 5, at best. Our 1992 Tercel far exceeded our expectations; this Saturn falls far below our expectations.

    I am sending this letter in hopes Saturn will be able to locate the reason for the outside wind noise (body design, mirror placement, etc) before coming out with the 2001 model.

    It is very distracting to constantly feel like a window is cracked open.
  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89
    At the risk of having a certain person claim that I am defending Saturn again, I will say my 2 cents anyway.
    Saturn is an AMERICAN car. AMERICAN cars have fit/trim problems, sqeaky dashs/door parts, and weather stripping is traditionally bad. It is unfortunate that the person above has been so annoyed by often common problems. However most people do not veiw these as problems, rather just annoying at least, and so on. What is better about his Saturn compared to a Toyota Tercel, which is no longer made-replaced with that god awful "Echo", The saturn will have lower maintenance costs, and the Saturn is much safer then toyota's small econo cars, visit to see for yourself.
    Every new car may have minor bugs, but if you expect a mercedes at a 12k price, you will be dissapointed. IF you expect a safe/dependable running car, with low service costs and normally good service, you shall be pleasently surprised.
  • 94saturn94saturn Posts: 7
    Ok Saturnboy. Maybe you are right about American-made cars, and about that you can't expect anything for 12k, but if marketing says that it's the BEST car on the market and that everything is great, I would expect all of these things then. False advertising, you'll say. Yes, and what kind isn't today? But Why Honda Civic doesn't make any noises, and it is 13k too.
    I have a used 94 SL2 Saturn and I know that 94 and 95 models make horrible wining noise coming from the engine. From the Saturn's point of view the noise is normal, but why is it that I don't hear those kind of noised on any other car? I was walking on campus yesterday, and somebody drove behind me in a car that made horrible wining noise. I turned around, and guess what? It was the SC Saturn! Looks cool and everything, but doesn't sound that cool. So...
    When I buy a car, I expect my money's worth out of it, and not spend an addition $600+ on repairs. I can tell you one thing. My next car choice won't be a Saturn.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Posts: 73
    The more I read these posts, the more that I am seriously reconsidering my idea to buy a Saturn. If even a loyalist like Saturnboy, who I am supposing may work for Saturn (I haven't been around here long ehough to know everyone), says not to expect too much from these cars that REALLY scares me. I don't expect a $12,000 car to be a BMW but I also do expect a new car to be free of trouble and to have any trouble taken care of by the dealer in a reasonable manner. The reason that I want to buy a new car is so I don't have to deal with headaches.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    It is possible that the computer itself may have a problem of internal corrosion on the circuit board or of the chips on it. If the worker putting the computer together sneezed on it, it will mess it up down the road. Go to a reliable auto recycler or if you don't want to do that get another computer from dealer. Also, I said for you to clean alll the terminals with a good electronics contact cleaner. This way you know they are clean.
  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89
    I did not say to expect problems with the 12k Saturn SL base model or any Saturn model for that matter. It may have fit/trim/dash squeaks/rattles etc, but this is common of all amercian made cars. If you are that worried about it you should consider the Honda Civic Hatchback dx model with air , probably around 13k. Personally I would never drive a hatchback because of the reputation they have for letting people know your short on $$$. However it should be a reliable car with good fit and trim

    However with the Civic you'll pay about a $1000.00 over 5 years in maintenance costs, and Honda uses the thinest sheet metal in the industry , you can ding a honda door by pressing your thumb against it. Also, the 2 door honda civic received a below average side impact rating, you have a one in four chance of serious injury in a civic 2 door apon being hit in the drivers side,

    There are flaws in every car made and sold on the market today, some are more noticable then others. The Saturn SL is a good car imo, still has above average reliability aside from minor trim/fit annoyances. A friend of mine has 80k on her 96 SL1, and hasn't had any problems. Good luck fred
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I tried to post this last night, but it seems to have not worked.

    As for the wind noise, I got that eventually, though a lot later than you did. The weatherstripping around the door had gotten loose, and I rubber cemented it in place. The cruise control.. Well, cars are more complex now. Maybe an aftermarket place could do it for you. As for your legs getting mumb, maybe the angle of the seat cushion ( higher in front ) is cutting off blood flow or something. Doesn't happen to me, but maybe if you put a little cushion in the back of the seat, it will change the angle and alleviate the problem. I had an old tercel too, and I like the saturn more as being safer, more reliable(!!) and more fun to drive. OTOH, I've had a very good experience with mine, and obviusly not everyone has.

    fredfred: I can understand some of these posts being offputting. I still think saturn is a good chance for your car $, FWIW.


  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I looked at the LS2 two weeks ago when looking for a new car. While the car itself was nice, the price was a bit out of line and non-negotiatable. By the time you add ABS and a couple of upgrades, it gets pretty pricey. I ended up with an Intrigue GL for about the same money with more options and a better look (in my opinion).

    I think Saturn better change it's pricing and/or pricing policy if they want to be competitive. With all the dealer invoice/cost type information on the net these days, most people know what they can get a car for anyway.
  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89
    Many people for example who buy honda's or oldsmobiles, what ever often think they got a good deal, but many forget to factor in the 2 or 3 percent dealer holdback, so the dealer is still making a profit that is unknown to the average consumer. So when you think you saved money, you have to ask yourself, DID I?
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I think anybody using the townhall here, knows about the dealer holdback. I do have a SL2 and it did not have as much equipment as the cavaliar LS which dealers her would not get for me as they had other models on lot they wanted to sell me. The Saturn is a good car, I have had no problems with it but some of the other people make a valid point when you can buy any other brand for less than msrp. As for Saturn, they profit even more because of the dealer holdback and msrp. Saturn could reduce the msrp across the board and really make them more cost competitive with the competition.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Yes, it's common pay somewhat more for a saturn than a comprably-equipped, similarly sized vehicle, though I think the difference is not what people often portray it as. That saturn argument is that you're getting good ownership value in terms of lower osts for maint, repair, gas, and insurance, as well as a very safe car. I tend to think this is true from my experience with the car, but I also realize that this a very tough sell. People see the loan payment in front of them, and think of this as the only car cost. Maybe one out of three compares insurance rates of the cars they are looking at, which can vary a lot; virtually no one checks the cost of the first 50K of maintenance, with a few common repairs thrown in, or bothers to compute what gas will cost them. I've heard people rag on saturn for being unsafe because of the plastic panels, when it's in fact much safer than their car. Steel frame beats unibody, in general. Body panels do zilch in an impact. But most people don't know, and aren't interested in learning, even people who consider themselves "car guys." In fact, they're often the worst. And saturn needs to help people like powsrw3 so that they do not get poor word-of-mouth rep. Satisfied customers come back, dissatisfied ones go away. All of them talk. I would also like if they came out with some more exciting cars. There's some things they could do right now, like put the 2.2L engine in the s-series.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I have no problem buying a Saturn and I know the sales/service is good. My visit to a Saturn dealer was the most pleasant of any in my travels. I compared finance rates, insurance costs, fuel economy and actual car cost (what I will pay for the car). In the end, the Saturn still lost out on my sale and I'm sure I am not the only one.

    Why for example is ABS standard on every GM car, but not on even the top level LS2? To me the Intrigue is a much better value for money and it's 215hp engine will blow the doors off an LS2. I really wanted to buy a Saturn, but even the great service and people could not pull me away from a better car.
  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    In the first three years, I have been to the shop some 20 times: Burned out right-turn light. Noisy speedometer cable to be replaced. Fuel gage that still read 1/4 while the tank run out dry (the problem probably generated while they replaced the speedometer cable). Fuel gage replaced. Front wheel alignment problem (they had to drill larger holes in the suspension mounts because they could not align it using the regular threads). Back to shop to suck out the shavings left over from the hole drilling. Broken belt buckle. Replacement of the door moldings gauged while replacing the belt buckle. Transmission case fix to stop the leaks. Adjustment of the directional signal lever (would not indicate lane change). And on and on it went.

    After warranty expired, I was given an extra spare wheel cardboard cover. The original one kept caving in. (Now have two that I play together. When they both cave in, I turn them upside down, making them heave up for a while.)

    Then I noticed that the ignition key was getting worn out fast because something inside is rubbing hard against it. Started to use the second one and went to the shop. They said they could replace the ignition cylinder (about $120) or make me a couple of extra keys ($5). Got the keys.

    The car also shakes if I use the brakes at over 45 mph. The car has about 45K miles and the test showed warped brake disks. Yet, about half of the brake linings is still left.

    I wanted to replace the spark plugs at about 35K and discovered that the spark plug wells (2 out of 4) were filled with oil. The cause = leaky head gasket. Replaced the head gasket myself (some $50 for the Saturn OEM gasket and sealer).

    There are rattles and squeaks in several places - and the engine is whining like someone posted before.

    On the positive, the no-haggle policy was a plus, the people in the shop are very friendly and wash the car at every visit. The car drives very responsively - cuts through traffic like a hot knife through butter.

    I used to buy exclusively American. But now I went for a Maxima (bought a month ago) and couldn't be happier... The time and aggravation savings will more than pay for the extra cost.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Yes, I don't know of any source yet giving cost-of-ownership for an LS2. I was thinking of the S series with my unaware buyers lament. I will continue it in another area. You claim your intrigue will "blow the doors off" on an LS2. According to road and track, which tests cars independantly, the ls2 goes 0-60 in 7.6 seconds and runs a 15.8 1/4 mile, while the intrigue goes 0-60 in 8.0, and rusn the 1/4 mile in 16.1. These are both in road & track's "significant difference" range, both favorable to the saturn. I don't know if it's too easy to blow the doors off of a car way in front of you. :) This is from the feb 2000 issue. OTOH, the intrigue is a very nice car which I like and I thought of getting.

    nrobert444: don't know what to say. If they didn't have service records, how do they know the prev owner missed "just one service?" Sound like the dealer doed NOT know what they're doing. If you still have the car, bring it to another saturn dealer if possible, or a devent independant mechanic. BTW, the wheel cover is not cardboard, and it holds up my 200 pound body. Does yours get wet somehow? Maybe some plastic would help?

  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89

    I was wondering if you ever read studies done by JD Power & Associates, because if you did you would clearly see that Nissan has taken turns for the worst in the last few years. They are nearly at the bottom of JD Powers inital quality study, amount of problems per 100 vehicles reported by owners during the first 3 months of ownership. IMO,if your going to buy Japanese, stick with Toyota, and Honda. They have traditionally held up better then off [non-permissible content removed] brands like mazda, nissan, subaru , all according to Consumer Reports, JD Power & Associates, and real world experience. BTW, in the same study where in which Nissan was at the bottom near kia, Saturn was just below the middle mark, still yards better.
  • travelertraveler Posts: 67
    I did buy Saturn over cavaliar,and considered all the aspects of ownership over 150K miles. That is how many miles I plan on driving the car. It came out alittle less than cavaliar for the same amount of miles. So far I am pleased with the car and like the road manners and for a economy car it is quiet inside (quieter than the 94 protege I had prior to the Saturn). I am not a buy one brand all the time person and will not tell anyone to buy or not as how I feel about the car is my opinion. I always tell people to drive the car and compare it to others. As I mentioned in much earlier posts I test drove escort, neon, cavaliar and sentra besides the saturn. Only the cavaliar had similar qualities in acceleration and quitness. A lot of people keep a car only 2-3 years then trade again so they are more interested in lowest initial cost to keep payment low.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Posts: 330
    Aaaah, my first Edmunds post in Linux. So far so good.

    One reason I think Saturn's LS2 hasn't caught on is the name. I don't defend it, but in fact North Americans need a car to have a NAME not a series of letters and numbers. I honestly think the significance of an LS2 ad (as opposed to an SL2 ad) is lost on most people.

    Years from now, Rick happily buys a heavily depreciated, used Saturn LS2 because other people don't know what they're missing. ;-)

    Bye for now,
    Rick D.
  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    Thanks for the reply. Here are some more facts: I am the original owner. I am the only driver and keep meticulous records of all problems and maintenance/repairs. Except my wife drives it since last month's Maxima acquisition.

    The "cardboard" is some composite, of course. The first one did indeed get wet once when I put on it a damp car cover after washing. I thoroughly dried it out immediately. The heaviest loading it experienced was three high school backpacks three times a week for some 2 years, mostly after I added the second "cardboard" which did not get wet. (Now I use a plastic basket when I wash my car cover - which keeps the paint looking like new after 5 years!)

    I have a tendency to agree that Saturn mechanics do not know what they are doing at least some of the time. I have, for example, argued with them over the fuel gauge. I basically told them that they must have busted it while replacing the speedometer cable. And told them how I discovered it (it was the first time the car ran out of gas showing a quarter-full on the gauge and it happened after the cable replacement). They insisted that they have a proper procedure, factory-trained mechanics and were not interested in my facts. So they spent money on a rental car for me and a whole day to figure out what I told them in the first place.
  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    One fact you did not mention is that Saturn has had the "bovy" (Best buy) award from Intellichoice for all models last year and for many years before for basically all models. The car is definitely a great buy, if you can stand certain things reported here. I am not so aware of the other surveys you mentioned.

    This is a wrong forum to discuss any [non-permissible content removed] brands. However, I just want to mention that the most popular Honda is made right here! And so are other similar cars.

    BTW, the Nissan is shaping up to be my best buy so far. It is too early to tell, though. See you in Maxima forum on that.
  • jenc1jenc1 Posts: 5
    I am thinking of purchasing my first new car and a Saturn SL1 is one of my first choices. The problem is I'm a bit confused by Saturn's no haggle pricing. What does this mean?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    It means the price they give you on their web site or in the dealership is what you pay. It's not negotiable, much like when you buy a new stereo at Target. It makes the whole buying experience a little more pleasant, and the prices are fair.
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