Author Topic: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?  (Read 7784 times)

wtrfre

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Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« on: May 16, 2015, 03:23:52 PM »
I'm in the market for a newer car.  There is a Saturn Astra hatchback for sale.  I know nothing about Saturn's other than that they are no longer made.  Do I want to own a 2008 Saturn Astra?  Will it last?
Any assistance with reliability of these vehicles is appreciated.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2015, 04:20:16 PM »
In my opinion, no.

If you look at long term reliability data (beyond 100k miles), Toyota and Honda win hands down over every other car manufacturer.  You'll probably pay a little more, but you know it's going to last.

chasesfish

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2015, 04:50:42 PM »
I drove a 2002 Saturn and put a ton of miles on it for work.  It was a cheap to operate 5 speed and an ultra-light car.  Unfortunately it got expensive when it required almost a quart of oil with each fill-up.  I had saved up enough mileage money to replace the car.

It had about 150k on it.

daverobev

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2015, 07:11:35 PM »
I'm in the market for a newer car.  There is a Saturn Astra hatchback for sale.  I know nothing about Saturn's other than that they are no longer made.  Do I want to own a 2008 Saturn Astra?  Will it last?
Any assistance with reliability of these vehicles is appreciated.

Have a look at a Vauxhall Astra or Opel Astra. They are the same car, and very very very common the other side of the pond.

I would have no qualms about buying one.

RunHappy

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2015, 07:26:32 PM »
years ago I would have said yes, now i'm not so sure. 

I drove 3 different Saturns from 1996 until 2012.  My last one was a 2004 Saturn Vue (I loved that car).  I sold (really gave) it to a friend who really needed a car and didn't have money for a new one, the car had 150k miles.  His wife had a 2009 Saturn Vue.  The 2009 has had a ton of problems, it is in and out of the shop, but they can't afford a new one and they still owe money on it (bought used in 2011 for too much money).  The 2004 is still going strong and has turned into their most reliable car.

Another Reader

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2015, 08:06:29 PM »
For all the hype, the Saturn is just another piece of GM garbage.  Look around you on the roads.  How many 7 year-old Saturns (or their clones in the other GM product lines) do you see?  And how many 7 year-old Toyotas and Hondas do you see?  I can think of a number of GM products that essentially disappeared from the streets before they reached 10 years of age.  I personally would not buy a Saturn, on the assumption that it will be a cascading series of increasingly expensive problems culminating in a trip to the wrecking yard.

Faraday

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2015, 08:11:45 PM »
For all the hype, the Saturn is just another piece of GM garbage.  Look around you on the roads.  How many 7 year-old Saturns (or their clones in the other GM product lines) do you see?  And how many 7 year-old Toyotas and Hondas do you see?  I can think of a number of GM products that essentially disappeared from the streets before they reached 10 years of age.  I personally would not buy a Saturn, on the assumption that it will be a cascading series of increasingly expensive problems culminating in a trip to the wrecking yard.

+1 to these comments. It IS just GM garbage. Take it from someone who TRIED very hard to love GM, and GM merely shat on me every chance they got.

BlueMR2

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2015, 08:21:59 AM »
For all the hype, the Saturn is just another piece of GM garbage.  Look around you on the roads.  How many 7 year-old Saturns (or their clones in the other GM product lines) do you see?

Surprisingly, quite a few.  I do notice that they are all the earlier Saturns though.  Which goes along with my observation that people I know with newer GM vehicles are having a lot more issues than people with older ones.  I grew up in a GM family, but they're abandoning GM now as the quality seems to have taken a dive in the last decade.  The replacements are Toyotas and Fords (yes, really, the current generation Fords are VERY well built, think Honda quality but at lower prices!).

Jack

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2015, 08:48:17 AM »
If the Saturn were a Sky (especially the Redline)? Yes (albeit with the full knowledge that it's closer to "british roadster" or "italian roadster" quality than it is to "Japanese roadster").

If the Saturn were an Astra? Probably not. I like their style, but they're still a GM...

If the Saturn were anything else? Hell no!

Honestly, if you want a GM car, I'd say take whatever you were going to spend on an Astra and buy a much older Corvette instead. It'd be just as irrational and equally breakdown-prone, but at least it'd be much more fun!

(That last statement is probably really bad advice, but it's something I myself would actually do...!)

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2015, 08:57:48 AM »
Do they have the 60,000km/37,500mi timing belt change intervals that the 1.8L Holden versions (the same car with a different badge) did here?

I still see a fair few of the earlier model Astras from 1998-2005 (that didn't make it Stateside) around. They've got a bit of a mixed rep here though.

I ended up buying a GM vehicle because it was about two grand cheaper than the equivalent Japanese car (probably more like three when compared to the Honda). I figured even if the maintenance was slightly more expensive I'm starting from two grand ahead anyway.

Is it cheaper than the equivalent Toyota or Honda (or Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, etc)?
« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 09:04:33 AM by alsoknownasDean »

tthree

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2015, 01:51:08 PM »
I'm in the market for a newer car.  There is a Saturn Astra hatchback for sale.  I know nothing about Saturn's other than that they are no longer made.  Do I want to own a 2008 Saturn Astra?  Will it last?
Any assistance with reliability of these vehicles is appreciated.

Have a look at a Vauxhall Astra or Opel Astra. They are the same car, and very very very common the other side of the pond.

I would have no qualms about buying one.

Correct info.  My DH worked at Saturn until they closed.

I drive a 2008 Saturn Astra. I have put about 45,000 km on in this time.   Never had an issue. Plan on driving it for 15 more years:)

« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 01:54:24 PM by tthree »

Emg03063

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2015, 01:58:31 PM »
Drove a '97 SL1 for 11 years with only 1 unscheduled maintenance item (due to undersized heat sink on a voltage regulator).  Would have driven it 20 but for the fact that it was totaled by an SUV on the interstate.  (I do vouch for the performance of the side impact beams).  Can't speak for the Astra.

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2015, 04:42:26 PM »
Lots of pseudo-information in this thread.

Regarding the S series burning oil:  This was only true for the SOHC engine.  The DOHC engine (Found in the still-ubiquitous SL2 models) suffered no such problems.  Regardless, burning oil is not an uncommon problem in older cars.  Ironically, search for this issue with older Toyota Corollas and you'll find that the 98-02 models (same vintage of the S-series) suffer similar oil burning problems. 

Regarding the question of how many 7 year old Saturns do you see on the road:  I'm surprised this was asked.  I find it impossible to walk but a few blocks and not see an ION (or its twin, the Chevy Cobalt) parked somewhere.  They're everywhere, but maybe I just live in an area where people drive cheaper cars.  This model was also equipped with one of GM's best products: the 2.2 Ecotec engine.  This is one of the most reliable four cylinder engines out there.  Pair it with the Getrag F23 manual transmission and you have a powertrain that feels like it belongs in a much more expensive car (it does actually - it's found in some Saabs).   I speak from experience here - my SO drives an ION, after selling a bulletproof S-series. 

I do, however, hate that once the ION came around, GM had all but swallowed the Saturn division into its rebadge machine and so many things (interior quality, etc.) were classes pre-bailout GM.  Solid, solid power train though.   It's sad to see what GM did to Saturn in the end.  I have to agree with mefla on trying to love GM - tough when the company was run for so many years with clear contempt of its customers. 

All of this is moot though, as the OP asked about the Astra.  Others are correct, this is really a Vauxhall/Opel product.  Different beast. 

Try not to fall into the trap of shopping just a brand.  Do your research by model and model year. 

Jakejake

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2015, 05:17:13 PM »
I am still driving my 2003 Saturn Vue. I had some transmission problems with it from the start and eventually had to replace that. The temperature display in the mirror is crazy, it's always warning me that the roads are ICY, and claiming it's below freezing when it's 90 degrees out. The gas door spring disappeared at one point, so for the last few years I've been using the magnet from my old laptop to keep it closed. And now the engine light is on, which seems to be radiator related, something with the relay switch or fuse. My husband swapped the bad part with an identical part that runs the rear window defrost, under the theory that I won't need that in summer anyway. The light remains on, but everything's running fine. I'm thinking since I bike commute most days, the car will probably last through to when I retire in 2019. For me, it's already the car that's lasted me the longest, and despite its quirks and the transmission replacement, it is still running like new.

Oh - and it survived a (low speed) head on crash when I was driving 4 of my students cross country - and left all of us without a scratch, so I feel pretty loyal to it.

Returnoftheyeti

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2015, 09:26:14 AM »
The Astra is a great car, and you will pay less for a comparable Toyota or Honda because it's a "Saturn"   You also pay less because of all the prejudices mentioned in this thread.

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/tag/saturn-astra/

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/new-or-used-not-all-orphans-are-created-equal/

jackiechiles2

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2015, 09:33:39 AM »
I had a 2002 saturn SL1 that I drove for 300k miles and 10 years.  Only thing that ever broke on it was the alternator and the engine mount.  Total cost of repairs: $390.

Saturns are also apparently pretty easy to work on.  You can find a ton of youtube videos on how to fix stuff on saturns.

I know my saturn did not have a timing belt, but had a chain, which meant never having to get it replaced.

As mentioned by another poster above, it did burn oil like crazy.  Apparently the pan on that particular model was too shallow, causing burn off. 

It did also have some sort of issue where it would lurch from reverse into drive when you were trying to parallel park.    I never got that fixed and just dealt with it though.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 09:35:22 AM by jackiechiles2 »

wenchsenior

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2015, 09:45:49 AM »
We still drive our 2001 SL2 4 door sedan. I think it has about 180K on it.

We've replaced the battery a few times, and the alternator once. I expect it will need some major repairs soon due to age, but it is hands down the most reliable car we've ever owned. We bought it to replace a mid-90s model Honda Accord, which was hands down the biggest piece of breaking-down shit we've ever owned. God, how I hated that Honda. So much that it has taken me 15 years to even begin to consider buying another Honda.

Both of these cars are possibly exceptions to the typical trend.

Returnoftheyeti

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2015, 09:51:48 AM »
Remember that the Astra is a completely different car than a S1, or a Vue, or any other Saturn. Just because an 01 Vue suddenly has its wheels fall off every 15k miles ( not true BTW) does not mean that the Astra will have the same issues. 

Different engines, different frames, made in different assembly plans.

The most important item on any used car is its maintenance history, can you see if it had regular oil changes and was maintained. Secondly, read about that specific car and see if there are known issues. Subaru has head gasket issues, Hondas get stolen, Porsche has problems with a rear main seal, Toyotas have acceleration issues. Do Astras have any "known" issues?

if the price is right, and you like the car, have it checked out bya mechanic you trust.  Then buy it.
To hell with the Haters.

And remember, with Toyotas and Hondas you are paying more for the Name.

ketchup

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2015, 12:04:18 PM »
My parents had a 2003 Vue (bought new, their only new car ever) and it was trash (started having issues around 50k and they gave up on it entirely around 110k).  I'll agree with the general sentiment of some in this thread that it seems the older 90s Saturns are still around and kicking, but all the newer models got trashed pretty quickly.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2015, 04:38:35 AM »
I've seen lots of anecdotes and assertions on this thread, but no real data.  Here's the data from one of the biggest studies of long-term reliability.  The Astra is shown on the third graph down.

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Saturn.html

The Astra is just average.  You could do a lot worse, but you could also do a lot better.  Here's the Toyota page for comparison:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Toyota.html

and the Honda page:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Honda.html

Most of the models are well above average, hence my earlier comment about passing the Saturn by.

rmendpara

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2015, 09:36:19 AM »
For entry level "cheap" cars, the Japanese makers seem to have the better reputations in general. Today, new cars are much closer in quality, but the mid-2000s models still appear to be tilted toward the foreign makers.

You certainly can't go wrong with a Saturn, if you like it, but (as linked above), Toyotas and Hondas do have very good reviews and reliability ratings in those model year ranges.

Price point also matters. I'm guessing you're in the 5-10k range based on the '08 Saturn you asked about? You could certainly get something with better reviews, but of course your preferences could swing that.

JLee

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2015, 09:52:49 AM »
My roommate drives a mid-late 90's Saturn. He paid $1500 for it and it's very easy to work on. He loves it.

TheDude

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2015, 10:49:25 AM »
I had a 95 SL2. We pulled it off a junk yard with a bad engine it and put a used engine in it in 2002. I think that cost us about $2000. I think i put two starters in that thing, a couple of batteries, water pump, alternator, exhaust, brakes, tires, and some little coolant part. All in all it was a great little car. I drove it for 11 years put about 120K on it. I sold it when the clutch went out. It probably had 220k  on it (hard to know the odo stopped at 180). Contrary to what was stated above it did burn oil but I am pretty sure if you just keep feeding it oil it will work for ever.

Scandium

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2015, 11:20:38 AM »
I've seen lots of anecdotes and assertions on this thread, but no real data.  Here's the data from one of the biggest studies of long-term reliability.  The Astra is shown on the third graph down.

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Saturn.html

The Astra is just average.  You could do a lot worse, but you could also do a lot better.  Here's the Toyota page for comparison:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Toyota.html

and the Honda page:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Honda.html

Most of the models are well above average, hence my earlier comment about passing the Saturn by.

Fascinating! Thanks for that.

My dad insisted his BMW X3 came out near the top in reliability ratings, but I do not see that in these charts. I guess it's above average though. The prius looks insanely reliable! 

mm1970

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2015, 11:25:19 AM »
We had a 1994 Saturn SL2.  Bought it in 1997, drove it until 2006.

It was a POS.  For most of that time, it was our only car.  The thing is, when it rained, the battery would drain and it wouldn't start.

The mechanics were never able to figure it out.  Neither were we.  Bad connection?
Luckily, we live in So Cal, and it rarely rained.

One day I was driving it home from work (my husband and I swapped cars), and I decided to be nice and get it washed on my way home.  The thing started dying after the wash (I should have known better!)  As I got off the freeway, the power breaks went out, so I rolled through the stop sign and the next one.  As I drove up the hill, near my house, the power steering was gone, and then right in front of my house, the radio turned off.  I glided into my parking space.  Plus the sun roof leaked.

The next day we jumped it, drove it 30 miles south to the dealership to get them to look at it.  Walked across the street to the Toyota dealership, went to lunch, came back and bought a Matrix.  Drove back the next day to pick up the Saturn (it had died again, had to jump it) and drive it across the street to Toyota on the trade in.  Gave them the keys and said "good luck!"

ingrownstudentloans

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2015, 01:34:24 PM »
I had a 2002 silver saturn SC2 (sports coupe twin cam for the uninitiated) 5-speed stick that I ran from 21,000 to 115,000 miles.  I loved that car, I beat the crap out of it and it just kept ticking.  I did have to add some oil every other tank of gas or so.  The car had 3 doors.  I kid you not 3 DOORS!  One was a small reverse (suicide) door behind the driver side.  The dent resistant side-panels were the best for parking on city streets where it was going to take a beating.  I gave it up when I moved from NY to FL because we were dropping down to 1 car.  I donated it to Make A Wish...I still like to think that some badass mustachian kid's wish was to drive a silver 3-door saturn down the highway of life.  I am in denial that they just sold it at auction and used the money for real wishes, though I guess that is good too.  Either way, I got a $500 tax write-off.  This post is completely unresponsive and unhelpful to OPs original inquiry.  I just had to let everyone know about my love for saturns :)

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2015, 04:33:37 PM »
I've seen lots of anecdotes and assertions on this thread, but no real data.  Here's the data from one of the biggest studies of long-term reliability.  The Astra is shown on the third graph down.

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Saturn.html

The Astra is just average.  You could do a lot worse, but you could also do a lot better.  Here's the Toyota page for comparison:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Toyota.html

and the Honda page:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Honda.html

Most of the models are well above average, hence my earlier comment about passing the Saturn by.

This is some great data.  Thanks for sharing.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2015, 05:31:08 PM »
1997 Saturn SL2 here, 164000 miles, original owner. Never a problem on the road, no major problems at all. I just wish they still made them.

tthree

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2015, 06:06:30 PM »
I've seen lots of anecdotes and assertions on this thread, but no real data.  Here's the data from one of the biggest studies of long-term reliability.  The Astra is shown on the third graph down.

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Saturn.html

The Astra is just average. 
I'm not seeing the Astra in that link.  Can see the Aura, completely different vehicle though:)

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2015, 06:53:32 PM »
I've seen lots of anecdotes and assertions on this thread, but no real data.  Here's the data from one of the biggest studies of long-term reliability.  The Astra is shown on the third graph down.

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Saturn.html

The Astra is just average. 
I'm not seeing the Astra in that link.  Can see the Aura, completely different vehicle though:)

My bad.  Need to get my glasses checked.

I did a little google searching on the Saturn, Opel, and Vauxhall versions of the Astra and didn't come up with any data.  That lack of information would be enough to make me take a pass.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 04:32:40 AM by Monkey Uncle »

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2015, 06:56:17 PM »
I've seen lots of anecdotes and assertions on this thread, but no real data.  Here's the data from one of the biggest studies of long-term reliability.  The Astra is shown on the third graph down.

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Saturn.html

The Astra is just average.  You could do a lot worse, but you could also do a lot better.  Here's the Toyota page for comparison:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Toyota.html

and the Honda page:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/reports/Honda.html

Most of the models are well above average, hence my earlier comment about passing the Saturn by.

Fascinating! Thanks for that.

My dad insisted his BMW X3 came out near the top in reliability ratings, but I do not see that in these charts. I guess it's above average though. The prius looks insanely reliable!

Here's the home page with all of the makes listed:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/

Looks like the X3 is a little better than average, but not spectacular.

Scandium

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2015, 07:56:05 AM »

Here's the home page with all of the makes listed:

http://tradeinqualityindex.com/

Looks like the X3 is a little better than average, but not spectacular.

yeah I spent too much time there now looking at our current and any and all potential cars.

Just spent another $700 in repairs on our 100k mi VW golf (feels like a yearly thing now..), and the rating is a measly 48! Was hoping to keep in few more years but maybe it's time to look more seriously:( Although, they don't break them out by model so that would include the turbo and diesel golfs, which are much worse from what I hear.

I really want that prius, but I saw a refresh is coming later this year. Maybe prices on older model will drop? I fear I will want the improved milage etc though, which means waiting a few years for a used one. Either way looks like waiting to 2016 is the way to go.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 08:11:35 AM by Scandium »

Faraday

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Re: Would you choose to drive a Saturn?
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2015, 09:18:40 PM »

Here's the home page with all of the makes listed:
http://tradeinqualityindex.com/
Looks like the X3 is a little better than average, but not spectacular.

Just spent another $700 in repairs on our 100k mi VW golf (feels like a yearly thing now..), and the rating is a measly 48! Was hoping to keep in few more years but maybe it's time to look more seriously:( Although, they don't break them out by model so that would include the turbo and diesel golfs, which are much worse from what I hear.

I really want that prius, but I saw a refresh is coming later this year. Maybe prices on older model will drop? I fear I will want the improved milage etc though, which means waiting a few years for a used one. Either way looks like waiting to 2016 is the way to go.

I'm sorry that you own a 100k mi VW Golf. If it's any consolation, New Beetle owners have it way worse, with transmissions going out on those cars before 75k mi.

I was a VW fan from the 70's: my first two cars were original VW beetles and I loved them to death. Then a Scirocco with electrical troubles and blown engine, then a VW Rabbit with electrical troubles and maintenance nightmares....I finally got the message and quit buying VW's by 1992. I switched to Mazda, Honda and Toyota, never looking back. (I still have fantasies of owning a Vanagon camper. I spent a week camping in a buddy's and it was huge fun.)

The condition you speak of about Prii is here now: the current models are on sale and deals can be had for about $4k off list plus 0% for 60 months. Don't fear making the leap for a current new or used model - they are great all-around vehicles. You can get 50+MPG all day long and that kind of MPG saves you both time (fewer gas station stops) and money (we can go 2 weeks between fill-ups on our 2011 Prius).

The Gen3 Prius (the currently sold generation) has an "EV" button that gives you up to 25mph and 2 miles in all-electric mode. That's not much, but you'd be surprised how often you get to use it: tooling around parking lots, through subdivisions and up into the garage are typical places I get to use all-electric mode.