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Saturn S-Series



  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    Here is a food for thought: When I was buying my SL2 in 1995, I paid the no-haggle price including one option that I did not want but the dealer wanted to sell (cassette). So, they threw in a car cover for free (over $100 value) and a shop manual at cost (which I did not buy because "the cost" was more than equivalent books available elsewhere). The OEM car cover has been great.

    Conclusion: No-haggle turned into a little negotiation that was fairly pleasant and resulted in a win-win result.

    Analysis: Apparently, the base price is not negotiable. However, it seems to me that the options can be negotiated. Options are also discounted at car-buying sites like
  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89
    I have to admit that I agree with Dhanley because not everyone thinks Saturn's are crude or terribly out of date. Consider them the VW beetle from years ago, good value to own, looks new for years, price increases very little from year to year. In fact, for the 2000 model year they have over 1000 new parts and a price reduction on some models. It is a shame that they cut production on the S Series, but the small car market is declining, and more and more people actually have some $$$ to spend on a bigger car. The L Series is selling slow due to poor marketing of the car, which Saturn admits was a corporate mistake. Just because thier sales are down doesn't mean their out, Saturns loyal customers normally return, and their will be people who will always buy a Saturn.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    what saturnboy sez is right. there will always be a certain group that will blindly support a particular marque no matter how mediocre or outdated they become. blind allegiance i guess. i have a SC2 and it's a so so car but for waht it cost i expected SO MUCH more and the resale on these critters is beginning to slip too. to it's credit it has been rock solid dependable tho (so far) but it is beginning to show premature wear on the inside, the sun roof has developed a leak, the dome light has quit (bulb ok)and i think i now have some warped rotors, lotsa pulsing on brakeing ? the car only has 28,000 on it so i hope it hangs in there till lease is up @ 12 more months.

    the car just has been a bore to drive too, no fun. people prefer cars for different reasons and there is no accounting for what they like. a neighbor of mine had a fetish for Checker Cabs of all things. always drove cast off cab companies retired cabs, go figure. another guy here in town has 6(count 'em)Chevettes in his driveway. now that's really loyality!! maby saturnboy just has a fetish for the "wundercars" from Tennessee. sooner or later he'll see the light and move on to something designed in this century LOL. it's ok saturnboy we get a kick out of your rantings. keep them coming and i'll do my best from time to time to "rattle your cage"

    Floridian, just my unbiased opinion
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    "but the small car market is

    Focus - "Automobile of the year", "Ten Best"



    Corolla / Prizm









    .....need I go on?

    Only two things can help Saturn at this point. Drop your prices (or negotiate) and bring out a NEW line of cars.
  • jenc1jenc1 Posts: 5
    I have another question. What is a twin cam engine? Is it a better engine? If it is, in what way?

    Thanks ahead for any help!
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    floridian: Again, what car are you proporting is better for the same money? You keep blindly repeatign that, and infering that anyone that likes saturn is a "blind supporter." Since you haven't made any argument except "unrefined" and "not a good value" without giving any real info about that, why are you not a blind detractor?

    reg: Yes, the small car market is declining. What does the fact that you can name a couple have do do with that? Sales on most of those are down too, except for the obvious cases of new models ( focus, protege, golf ). Do you have anything to actually contribute?

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    There are 2 kind of piston engines ( generally )

    overhead valve: The pistons turn the crankshaft, which turns a camshaft located close to it. The shaft moves rods which extend to the cylinder head and push rockers which close and open valves.

    Overhead cam: the crankshaft turns a relatively long chain or belt ( chain on saturns ) which travels up to the cylinder head and turns a camshaft there, which directly opens and closes the valves.

    Dual overhead cam is a refinement of overhead cam. In a single overhead cam, typically each cylinder has one valve each for exhaust and intake. In DOHC, it will have 2 of each, which allows the engine to breathe more easily.

    in english:

    Typically an overhead valve engine will allow you to squeeze a larger displacement engine into the same compartment, and overhead cam( especially DOHC ) will get more power for the same displacement, and allow the engine to rev higher and have a larger powerband. It depends on if you like the feel of a bigger lower-revving motor, or a smaller higher-revving one.

    Saturn is different than most GM cars in that GM usually likes to use big overhead valve engines, but saturn uses a small(er) overhead cam motor. As an example, I had a rental grand am, which felt faster in the city, but also felt slower on the highway.

  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    it seems as though its okay to point out the difficiencies of all other car makes except Saturn, right?

    Seriously, now Saturn fans, lets look at different buyer price points and determine just exactly why other makes/models are in each case better deals (based on what you can actually buy the car for cash, based of frequently advertised price points).....

    12,500 cash out the door.
    Ford Focus ZX3 vs. Saturn SC
    more comfortable and much larger and more stylish interior, better powertain, cutting edge style, far superior handling larger dealer network (more competitive shopping environment), awards won worldwide
    -Saturn (if you can even buy a Saturn SC for 12,500)
    plastic doors resist dings, free car washes

    Chevy Cavalier vs. Saturn SL
    Chevy- more room, nicer interior, larger car, abs standard, lots of dealers who will fight for your business
    Saturn- OHC powertrain, plastic doors, free car washes

    Neon vs. Saturn
    -Neon more room, more power

    14,000 sale price

    Mazda Protege vs. Saturn SL1
    -Mazda - superior powertrain, ride quality, styling, seat comfort
    Saturn - plastic doors, car washes, don't have to look at the yucky 626 in the showfloor

    Corolla / Prizm vs. SL1
    -Toyota a reputation for dependability, product excellence and reliability (over decades) that is unmatched in the auto industry, cutting edge vvT powertrain
    -Prizm can use GM dollars on essentially the same car as a corolla and save big bucks. No GM card rebates on Saturn.
    -Saturn don't have to look at the icky Avalon on the Saturn sales floor

    Contour vs. Saturn
    Contour-much more substantial car, more room, better handling, more hp

    Civic vs. Saturn
    -Civic is an exmaple of superb quality in small car, superior powertrain, a little more space, contemporary style, holds value better
    -Saturn maybe a few more features at this price point, plastic doors, car washes

    Jetta vs. Saturn
    -Jetta one of the hippest style cars out there, German engineering, decent features, equal room
    -Saturn, even Saturn dealers are better than VW dealers

    -Contour v6 vs Saturn
    -Contour leather and v6, maybe evn a moonroof at 17,500. More room, more substantial car.

    Even if don't prefer cars like the Protege, Corolla, etc. you just cannot say the Saturn is a better car (quality and performance) than the Honda Civic. Absolutely no way. It can't even beat the civic on price.

    And for an overall desirability the Focus is superior to the Saturn in so many ways.

    And if you are just a GM fan the Prizm and Cavalier are each better options in their own ways.

    Saturns are pretty reliable so you can't really knock them about it, although I would really challenge anyone who says their quality can equal that of a Civic or Corolla.

    Saturn, while a decent car, I think is currently in a state of the market where there are just too many other more attractive options when considering any of price, room, performance, reliability, style.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    The smaller Saturn engine (I believe a 1.9L) is a bit quieter than the DOHC optional engine. You give up a little horsepower, but you will get a smoother ride and better gas mileage. If you really want the extra ponies the DOHC upgrade isn't much extra (I think about a grand).

    regfootball: I agree with you on a couple of those, but the Saturn isn't a inferior as you are making it out to be. The 2000 model has been updated nicely and is pretty refined now. Go try one and see.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    let's look at your list here, shall we:

    focus zx3 : not a bad car, but new and unproven, especally considering ford's history. Let'
    s look at your "points"
    *better looking: not to me, buddy.
    *larger and better interior: better is is subjective, and if you look at the sc vs the focus in real interior space, it's not that different at all.
    "far superior handling and powertrain": based on what exactly? You were wrong about this in the tuarus thread too. Look at a 12.9K sl2. Less HP and torque, bigger car, yet has better skidpad and 0-60. Who has better powertrain and handling now? What is the reliability and safety of the focus??

    cavalier: Is ok, but the interior is not nicer(IMO) or bigger.. And I had to rent one for a few days recently, so I know what I'm talking about. Look at the edmunds size stats:


    Front Headroom: 39.3 in / 37.6 in.
    Rear Headroom: 38 in / 36.6 in.
    Front Shoulder Room: 53.9 in / 53.9 in.
    Rear Shoulder Room: 53.1 in / 54.9 in.
    Front Hip Room: 49.2 in / 50 in.
    Rear Hip Room: 50.2 in / 49.5 in.
    Front Leg Room: 42.5 in / 41.9 in.
    Rear Leg Room: 32.8 in / 32.7 in.

    Yep, that cavalier is totally cavernous compared to the saturn!!

    neon: another car I had to rent for a few days.
    Yes, much much bigger, eh? Actually, the saturn is a hair larger. And the neon has a few more HP.. But has the same acceleration. As before, you like the smaller higher-revving motors.. EXCEPT when they are on a saturn.

    protege: Again, you claim the better powertrain.. Without saying what you mean. Better in what way? Your styling complaint. Are you ever going to raise a real point? I personally don't care for how it looks.

    corolla/civic: Decent cars, but you don't make any points for them, just say they are "better." At the same price point, they will not have as many features, not have the same acceleration or handling, and not have the same safety scores, which is one of the main reasons I got my car. This is all not to mention cost of service.

    jetta: equal room, german engineering ( i.e. expensive to fix ) , and "hip." Whoop-e hold me back. Actually, I really like the golf, and would surely consider one if shopping in that price range, but not for your reasons. Just to let you know I'm not a 100% saturn fanatic.

    contour v6: such a great, desirable car ford is cutting it. Didn't this whole thing start over saturn cutting production? What does it mean that ford axed this car?

    Again, I'm not saying everyone in the saturn price range needs to get one. Just that your "view" is absurdly biased against saturn. For some reason, you have to post against them despite not having one, or really having a legitimate or major gripe against them as norbert has.

  • saturnboysaturnboy Posts: 89
    I have decided that as much as I used to like coming here to veiw comments from those who know little or nothing about Saturn, and those who really know a thing or two like dhanley. I Won't be coming here anymore, Pointless comments/opinions coming from Flordia DUD , are a waste of my time, and everyone elses here. Rather then continue to see the demise of this room, I think I won't be wasting any more of my time seeing useless comments. I have no further comment. Period.
  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    Here is another little experience with my 95 SL2: I tried to eliminate the rattles coming from the dashboard that are theoretically a consequence of the odometer cable and fuel gage replacements by the dealer during the warranty period. Removed the top cover there and the two side trims. Found that the rattle comes from the instrument cluster right behind the steering wheel, thus strengthening the theory.

    Now I know the clusters have to be opened, which requires lowering the steering wheel, etc, per the manual. However, I will never again remove the top cover again, if I can help it. Namely, one of the plastic grips jutting out of it and holding it broke in spite of me doing it all by the book. Cannot afford to lose another one. Moral of the story: All that plastic is more vulnerable than we'd like to think.

    BTW, Saturnboy, come back. Your zeal is needed.
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    come on now you can't let a little factual logic get you down, We all know you are a fanatic about Saturn, that's what makes your posts so darn funny. Stay awhile

    Floridian, (alias the "DUD" !! What a hoot!!
  • Question:

    Did you not read into your car, or did the dealer not explain to you that your car could be returned within 30 days if not completely satisfied? Just wondering...
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Hey, I'll be doing something similar myself. At 80K miles the gauge covering started rattling while the car is cold. Gotta pop it open and put a little foam in there to make it stop. It doesn't look too bad--but I'll let you know if I find anything that might help. I wonder if it would be easier to access some of these components from the engine compartment side?

    I did something similar myself though. I was putting new speakers on the car and on the passenger side door I flat broke the passenger handle. It still kind of works, but it's really flaky and rattles while you drive. Guess I have to go swallow my pride and have the saturn boys fix it.

    Hey, about your trunk floor sagging.. Is the center post of the spare holding it up properly? Did that fall down or get lost? Just a thought.

  • jenc1jenc1 Posts: 5
    Ok. What's the big deal people are making about their cars making all these weird annoying sounds (aka winds noises, rattlings, etc). My cavalier has made all kinds of unknown noises since day one (which was 6 years ago). My theory is if it's not a noise that is caused by something that is wrong with the car (interfers with how it runs) then don't worry about it. That's what they put the radios in the car for anyways! isn't it?
  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    jenc1; you are right but all that shake, rattle and roll racket kinda makes you wonder if the rest of the car is so loosely screwed together as well. i put a lot of importance on SILENCE in my vehicles. Most of the time the noisy engine (ever hear a Saturn twin cam @ 5000 RPM) drowns out any lesser noise on my SC2 but man oh man all that plastic really "sings a song" when it gets cold ( that's not very cold either here in Fla.)but as long as the thing keeps running I guess I'll have to live with it 'till lease is up.

  • floridianfloridian Posts: 219
    did saturnboy really bail out and can now be found on the yougo site? i thought his other car was a AMC Pacer

    that DUD Floridian, gufaw,gufaw, chuckle, chuckle!!
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    It's an aesthetic thing. While the drivtrain on my sl2 is, I believe, very solid, and I don't feel the engine is particularly noisy except under heavy acceleration, I'd just like a lower level of noise. I doesn't make me thing the car is going to fall apart or anything though. After all, there's only one rattle not caused by me taking parts of the car apart. At 80K+ miles, it's doing better in that department than our saab, or my old tercel, escort, and passat. My only real gripe is that the wind noise I get seems excessive.

  • norbert444norbert444 Posts: 195
    dave, the center post on the spare tire is OK. However, when the cover starts sagging, it makes the "nut" on it stick out and that ain't good. Or, am I missing some support post underneath the cover on the spare tire? Hm...

    In case you didn't know: Be super-careful removing the dashboard cover. First, remove the two sides with some 3 clips each, prying them from the cabin-end. On the main cover, avoid any twisting motion before all of the cabin-side clips have disengaged. Use a good non-marring screwdriver to pry it free of the dashboard.

    On the general issue of rattles: I believe any rattles should be eliminated in order to know if something NEW is rattling, thus being able to examine each of the new rattles for their significance. But I can sympathize with people who do not get excited over them while the radio is blaring away ... It perhaps has something to do with one's outlook on what's important in life ...
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