2000 Saturn SL2 (315)


This week we’re looking at the Saturn SL2 4-door sedan. My friend’s son Brent bought a 1999 new last year and as a young man, he has those old feelings. Speed and performance are most important. 124 horsepower just doesn’t get it for him. The 200 hp he’d like comes at a higher price but not all that much more. Equipped fully this Saturn costs enough to be able to move up to a muscle car like the Camaro or Pontiac sports models. I believe that’s where we go wrong sometime in selecting a car. We look at the price and then try to make it something it isn’t meant to be. Brent is now talking about modifying the engine etc. Why not just buy a car already designed for the added horsepower and torque?

When Saturn first came out, it represented a departure from the usual run of the mill car companies. Although spawned by GM, it is autonomous and if they remain true to their mission statement they are “kinder and gentler” car sales people. That is perhaps the most unique feature of this Saturn.

Handling & Performance:

As good as anything in its price and quality range. But if you, like Brent, want more power, go up in class and find a V8 to burn the tires off the car. Otherwise you’ll get frustrated from the performance of this 4-cylinder equipped car.


Face it, this is pretty much cookie-cutter styling, but again it wears the Saturn badge because it is meant to be an economy car.

Fit and Finish:

By now, most folks know that the Polymer steel treatment is supposed to make the car finish more dent resistant. I haven’t had anyone tell me it doesn’t work. The rest of the car is put together pretty well, albeit, pretty plastic. But that’s the whole idea of economy so I’m not critical.


If you buy the base model, you’ll have to live without remote keyless entry, cruise control, ABS brakes and traction control, power windows and mirrors.


Equipped the way I’d want it, the price is a little much at about $18 grand.


This is a good family car worth the look see, plus the low-pressure sales force is a nice change in the buying process. From my testing I’d look at the Neon, Corolla, and Civic for the best comparison. And then all things being equal, I’d add ABS and traction control at the very least.

The competition:

Chevrolet Prizm $13,995-16,060, Dodge Neon $12,640, Ford Focus $12,125-15,260, Honda Civic $10,750-17,545, Hyundai Elantra $11,799, Kia Sephia $10,195-11,795, Suzuki Esteem $12,399-15,699, Toyota Corolla $12,568-13,383.

Good News:

Excellent gas mileage, dent resistant panels, and a good starter family car.

Bad News:

Base price model excludes ABS and traction control, pricey with the options I consider necessary.

Standard Equipment:

1.9 liter 124 horsepower engine, 4-speed auto trans, power steering, power brakes with front disc, dent resistant exterior panels, air conditioning, fold sown rear seats, adjustable steering col., stereo radio, remote trunk and fuel door, dual air bags, daytime running lamps, child proof rear locks.

Gas Stats:

25 City and 36 Highway MPG.


MSRP  $13,755.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is movello@earthlink.net .


Copyright © 2000 – Automotive Love Affair

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