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Old 11-07-2012, 01:15 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Both are good cars, but considering the running cost and replacements availability the Civic is a better deal.

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Old 11-07-2012, 07:01 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CAPTAIN CHAOS View Post
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):
-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.

-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.

I couldn't have said it better myself. From a reliability stand point Saturn has proven itself time and time again. Keep oil in her and it will run till the end of time! Don't know much about the Honda's other than they rust if you just think about road salt.

My dad has an SL1 that he gets 47MPG in average and he doesn't even know what hypermiling is lmao......

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