PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- I bought my '97 Saturn SL1 in 2000 with about 36,000 miles on it from Saturn of Tempe, just outside of Phoenix. My aunt has owned a Saturn from the beginning. She had always been very happy with it, so I decided to check it out. My father owns an Engine shop in Central Virginia, and had always told me how he thought they were very good cars. After doing a bit of research, I bought my car. From the moment I stepped foot on the property, I knew I would love my experience. The sales people walk up to you, introduce themselves, and walk away to allow you to check stuff out. They always watch from a far. No hassle. I've since paid the car off, and drive it everyday. Of course I have had a few problems. Had to replace the clutch. That's my fault though. I didn't really know what I was doing, and I made the mistake of teaching a few people how to drive a stick. I do have a couple of minor complaints. The windows have gone out, which is the only complaint my aunt had with the car too. The doors do rattle a little bit. I have since heard that Saturn has perfected these problems. Small price to pay for NEVER having been stranded. Every time I rent a car when I'm out of town, which I do quite frequently, I realize how GREAT my car is. It gets about 28-30 MPG in the city and about 38-39 MPG on the highway. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best!! Driving through mountains is somewhat of a pain though. It has a 1.9liter engine, so not too much power.
The SL2s have the dual overhead cam, which gives pretty much twice the power. I have To switch gears on large hills quite frequently. If looking for one of these cars, go for the DOHC. They still maintain the great gas mileage, but the power is great!! I have now owned the car for 8 years, it just rolled over 180,000 miles, and I plan on having the car many years to come. I've also been looking into the Saturn Greenline. I LOVE MY CAR!!!