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Old 10-09-2012, 12:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
I have the same two cars in my drive way, the VX is mine and the Saturn is my room mates, her saturn looks brand new and has no issues and she really wants a VX because it can haul more stuff and is a nicer car to drive with fewer mechanical issues.
Her Saturn is a 2000, and my VX is a 1993, so the age spread is a little larger, along with the number of miles being a larger spread.
What kills VX's is rust, so if that is not an issue where you live then that car should be working fine with 400,000 miles on it as long as you do basic maintenance and repairs.
What kind of issues does your roommate have with the Saturn. I have another car that can haul a bunch of stuff if need be.

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Old 10-09-2012, 01:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Which car fills your needs better. Which has better parts support. Which is capable of better mileage?
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panamacolin View Post
What kind of issues does your roommate have with the Saturn. I have another car that can haul a bunch of stuff if need be.
She's had issues with the front sway bar and it's a dealer only part, suspension all around wearing out faster then seems reasonable, starter went out and a few odd sensors, I forget what, but it's also a GM car so they have their own list of trouble codes on the computer that you need a GM code reader to read, I've worked on a number of Saturns now and am not impressed, their quality is better then that of a Geo Metro but it's not up to the standards that I've seen from Honda.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:55 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies, keep them coming.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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A friend of mine asked me yesterday if he should buy an original paint, 1 owner, clean old Ford pickup he had found. For $400. My answer was "Why are we even having this conversation?" Since you are posting this on a forum for economy enthusiasts, I will ask you the same thing. VX.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:56 PM   #16 (permalink)
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You have to make your priorities, and decide for youself.

Some people may place higher value on other things, like brands, or what have you. Although there may be some correlation between brands and service needs, it is not fact, and your needs and priorities will make the decision.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:57 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Compare the two vehicles side by side!
Compare Side-by-Side

Saturn SL1 (you didn't say if it was an SL1 or SL2) with a 5 speed is EPA rated ("new" EPA figures as of a few years ago) at 24mpg city 36mpg highway, Civic VX is EPA rated at 37mpg city and 45mpg highway, the EPA's figure for cost to drive 25 miles is $3.42 in the Saturn and $2.39 in the Civic VX, average person drives around 25 miles per day so the Saturn is going to cost you over a $1 per day more to drive! that web site figures the average person drives more then that per day and says the Saturn is going to cost you an extra $600 per year in fuel.

Those are EPA numbers, so yes, the average person on here is going to be doing better then them in both cars but they use the same test to get those numbers on both cars so it's a level field.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:17 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Look at the aftermarket parts for a civic and then aftermarket for a saturn. There are more parts for civics, more people own civics, and honda just makes damn good engines. Civic dominates the aftermarket which means cheaper prices. Compare prices of things like alternaters/fuel pumps and post the prices here and then make your decision.
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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First of all, take the “American car” phobia and throw it out the window. They all break, PERIOD. One certain badge on the hood over another does not ensure that you’re going to get a better or worse car. I’ve been working on cars for years and I’ve seen failures from ALL of them. However, certain models do have better track records than others and certain brands do tend to have more issues with some of their models. Basically what I’m saying is that buying a Honda, for instance, does not mean you’re going to have a more reliable car than buying a _______<fill in the blank.
That being said, I do know Saturns and I currently own 2 of them; a 93 SL2 and an 04 Vue.
Here’s some thoughts:
You didn’t say SL1 or SL2, that does make a difference.
The SL1 is a SOHC engine and also has taller gearing in the transmission. What that means is better MPG and a more relaxed cruise rpm.
The SL2 has the DOHC engine and is a bit peppier. The shorter gearing, however, has it turning 3000rpm at interstate speeds and mpg is definitely worse (by 3-5 or so on average) than the single cam. If you’re not afraid of a project, single cam transmissions will swap over to a dual cam. I’ve been contemplating this swap for a while now in an effort to get “the best of both worlds”.
The twin-cams typically have a “sportier” suspension also and rear sway bar although I wouldn’t call either of them a “great handling” car. Probably on par with a typical standard (non-SI) Civic though.

Here’s some general Saturn attributes (from my experience):
Positives:
-Both engines are capable of running 300k mi +. My SL2 (twin cam) has about 230k mi on it and is dead reliable.
-Saturn S-series tend to be very simple and easy to work on
-parts are cheap (rockauto.com has just about everything-no dealer necessary).
-their reasonably comfortable for 4 adults
-they don’t rust. I don’t know how big of an issue rust is where you are but here it’s a MAJOR problem. Finding a 20 yr old Civic w/o serious cancer issues is like trying to find Bigfoot riding on a Unicorn. Saturns hold up MUCH better not only because they have plastic bodies but because the metal parts just don’t seem to rust like other cars.
-a twin cam is capable of 40mpg and a single 45+ without extreme hypermiling. Just smart, careful driving will net you some pretty darn good mpg’s for their size. Keep in mind though; auto-tragic versions will be down a couple mpg vs. what I said.
-their CHEAP to buy, CHEAP to maintain, CHEAP to insure and CHEAP to drive. Their low-cost transportation at its finest.

Negatives:
-aftermarket support is minimal. You’re going to have to be creative if you want to mod.
-They use oil. For whatever reason, most S-series seem to use some oil, even since new. They don’t smoke or dump it out of every seal in the engine, they just seem to “eat” it. From what I’ve read, mine is on the “excellent” end of the scale and it goes through ľ-1qt every 3000mi. Some have been known to self-destruct because the owners never checked and they run themselves dry. If you’re looking to buy an S-series ask the owner how much it uses. If they can’t tell you they’re either hiding something or their neglecting the car to an early grave; walk away.
-They are hard to get in and out of. Their seating position is low and it makes it a bit of a pain to get in/out. This is an issue for some (mostly older folk) and not for others. It’s a minor annoyance for me but not enough to make me shun the car.
-their kind of bland and boring. There’s no “sportiness” or “fun to drive” factor with an S-series. Their just simple A-B transportation.
-The headliners do fall over time. The bright side is that it can be fixed for about $100 (that’s what mine cost me) at any decent upholstery shop.


You already have a good car from a fuel economy and reliability standpoint. If the fact that you’re mileage is getting “high” has got you spooked, relax. A well cared for Civic will keep going until the body falls off. If you’re just looking for something different, you could do far worse than a S-Series. However, it’s more of a “lateral” move as an SL isn’t really “better” than a Civic in any significant way.

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