Category Archives: Saturn

2000 Saturn LW -2 (266)

Overview:   

This 2000 model Saturn wagon was a pleasant surprise to drive. The most noticeable surprise is the powerful V6 engine, which is a big departure from previous models, which only offered small 4-cylinder engines. Second surprise is that it is spacious and more than I expected from a compact car. Although it is classed as a Mid-Size Wagon, it is still a small car. I’ve heard it said that this car is the answer to the prayers of Saturn owners who wanted a larger car, but wanted to stay with Saturn. The response to the consumer need was answered in good cargo area and a roomy rear seat is. You won’t however get away from the slightly closed in feeling in the front seats. It’s definitely cozy up front. Still the added space of the LW wagon serves to accommodate 5-passengers.

Most Saturn owners know, the cars trademark dent- and corrosion-resistant polymer body-side panels really do offer protection you don’t get in most cars. I think that is a good feature but don’t believe it will sway folks to buy or not buy this car. I believe it will continue to sell based on its appeal to those looking for a “soft-sell” approach and with ballpark prices that range from $10- 20,000 the car is affordable to almost anyone.

You may know General Motors launched the company in 1985 as an autonomous subsidiary to do business differently. In 1989 Saturn launched their lineup of small cars. Since then, more than two million S-Series coupes, sedans and wagons have been sold. And a statistic that impresses me is that 40 percent of Saturn customers buy another Saturn. That speaks volumes for the level of satisfaction their approach has achieved. If you haven’t been in a dealership take the time to visit even if just for the experience. They really are down home kind of folks who are the antithesis of the stereotyped car salesman.

The 2000 Saturn LW 4-door wagon is available in two trims: LW1 and this LW2. And like most cars today they tend to be cookie-cutter designs (generic / plain wrap). Or you may prefer “clean lines” as a description of the styling.

The competition:   

Ford Taurus Wagon $19,560, Subaru Legacy Wagon $18,395 – $23,695, Volkswagen Passat Wagon  $22,000 – $28,455.  

Good News:   

Powerful, roomy, smooth, economical to buy and operate, and truly fun to drive because it handles great.  

Bad News: 

Unexciting styling.

Standard Equipment: 

3.0-liter182-horsepower V6, 4-speed automatic, dual airbags, child safety locks, daytime running lights, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 4-wheel (ABS) disc brakes, traction control, alloy wheels, fog lights, security system with remote entry, rear wiper/ washer, dual heated power mirrors, stereo with CD and Cassette, air conditioning, cruise control, power locks and windows, split folding rear seats.  

Gas Stats:   

20 City and 26 Highway MPG.  

Pricing:   

MSRP $21,360.  

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

  [Back]

  Copyright ©1994 – An Automotive Love Affair

1999 Saturn SC 2 (236)

Overview: 

When all is said and done, life is just a series of trade offs. In the case of this Saturn coupe, economy is its real name. And hard sell is not the name of the game for this polite Car Company. They say they are a different kind of sales company, and from my interviews with company personnel and customers, it’s absolutely true. Is it possible from the automotive industry where people equate car salesmen with high pressure? Well it appears to be real and I think it’s a breath of fresh air in the tough job of finding the right car for your needs. I expect Saturn will change the whole industry attitude about selling cars if sales improve for Saturn while others lose a little market share. Saturn must have taken President George Bush seriously when he asked us to be a “kinder and gentler” nation.

Well, Saturn is kinder and gentler but they are also innovative. I particularly liked the driver side third door. It helps to have clearer access to the rear seat to put the stuff you invariably tote with you to the car. You know how you end up standing in the street trying to avoid being hit by passing cars while you wrestle with putting those things in the back seat. Well that problem is reduced with the third door. And beginning with November 1998 production, all 1999 Saturn coupes were produced with that third door. You won’t likely find any other coupes with that feature today, but if it proves to be real popular, others will offer it in the future. Another thing only found on the Saturn are the side panels that are made from Saturn’s trademark ding-resistant polymer material. This is another thing that works well as it helps avoid those annoying dings and dents. Saturn really is trying to be a different kind of Car Company ever since its formation in the mid- 1980s as an autonomous subsidiary of General Motors.

My engineer friend Merkel emphasizes the great engineering of the foreign carmakers with innovative engines and suspension and precision fitting parts, etc. But that kind of precision comes with a bigger price tag. And when I ponder that, I can’t help but recall the difference between the precision of WWII German guns and equipment, and the throw ‘em together, bang ‘em out counterparts of their American adversaries. One case in point was the German Lugar pistol versus the US Government Issue 45 cal. pistol. The Lugar was so finely made that the least bit of dirt would render it useless while the US 45 could be submerged in mud and it would continue to function just fine, thank you. What’s this got to do with cars? Well, precision comes at great expense and if you don’t mind paying twice as much for a car, Saturn’s lack of precision fitting components will likely annoy you. Me? I tend to look at the practical side of things and in the final analysis, both cars perform the same function. And since I’m not picky I take the extra dough I save and take a few world cruises. Let’s see I want to go to Europe and Israel and the Far East again. Or if I’m really practical I can put a down payment on another house at the beach or mountains. Oh, the kids? They can fend for themselves. They may even opt to buy a Saturn and ditch that expensive BMW and visit Europe instead of buying a piece of it.

The competition:

Acura Integra $19,200 – $22,400, Chevrolet Cavalier $11,871 – $19,571, Dodge Neon $11,735 – $13,670, Ford Escort $11,505 – $13,340, Honda Civic $10,650 – $17,445, Hyundai Tiburon $13,599 – $14,899, Mitsubishi Eclipse $15,750 – $26,960.

Good News: 

Very economical to operate, third door convenience, new car at used car prices.

Bad News: 

Flimsy shifting mechanism, less attention to detail.

Standard Equipment:

1.9-liter DOHC 124 hp engine (SC2), 5-speed manual transmission, dual airbags, daytime running lights, AM/FM stereo, intermittent wipers, tinted glass and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, rear spoiler, fog lights and 15-inch wheels.

Gas Stats:

27 City and 38 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $15,005 Manual and $15,865 for the Automatic.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

  [Back]

Copyright ©1994 – Automotive Love Affair