1997 Saturn S-Series User Reviews

1997 Saturn S-Series Review Ratings

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Average Ratings from 55 reviews

  • Performance:3.4 out of 5 stars3.4 out of 5 stars3.4 out of 5 stars3.4 out of 5 stars3.4 out of 5 stars 3.4 / 5
  • Appearance:3.6 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars 3.6 / 5
  • Build Quality:3.6 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars3.6 out of 5 stars 3.6 / 5
  • Overall: 3.8 out of 5 stars3.8 out of 5 stars3.8 out of 5 stars3.8 out of 5 stars3.8 out of 5 stars 3.8 / 5

Review Highlights Click to filter reviews below

PROS
"fuel economy" 34 reviews
"ride" 16 reviews
"reliable car" 8 reviews
"power" 7 reviews
"speed" 7 reviews
CONS
"power" 9 reviews
"oil" 5 reviews
"fuel economy" 4 reviews
"small power" 4 reviews
"ride" 3 reviews

User Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 55 1997 Saturn S-Series reviews.

mpmied writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL2 Sedan Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Above average acceleration; excellent fuel economy; easy maintenance; great commuter car

Cons

Troublesome audio systems; get an after market unit!

mpmied
155

Love Those '97 S-series Saturns — This is the second '97 Saturn I own. My first was an SL1 that my son drives to college now. I missed that car and bought an SL2 as my commuter. I get above average acceleration and good fuel economy (26-city; 35-highway)for the engine and transmission combination (DOHC with 4-speed automatic). It has 90,000 miles and has used up about half a quart of oil to date. Classified as a compact car, it's just what I need. I'm a teacher and an amateur violinist. The trunk is big enough to fit four music stands and there's more room when you lower the rear seat backs, enough for a cello, a viola, and two violins, plus the four music stands. What do I love about this car? Cold air conditioner (needed in South Texas), easy to park, easy to service (I do my own), inexpensive up keep, inexpensive parts (when needed), and best of all: it was made in the good ol' USA. The SL2 has better seats and better handling with bigger, wider tires compared to the SL1. I don't have any complaints about the '97 S-Series Saturn and they make great in-city runabouts. I do take exception to their audio systems. The CD player is not the best out there.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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J Hackett writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL2 Sedan Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Good on gas. Reliable. Small and light. Room enough in the trunk for two sets of golf clubs and a normal sized cooler. Good road-holding. Fun to drive.

Cons

My first gear is hard to manage, but it's only mine. Other I have driven don't have the problem. Burns oil like it's cheap. Interior plastic and radio ARE from the discount bin, but they've got character that I have grown to love. The alternator goes out once ever 120,000 miles or so. The AC isn't ice-box cold. If the front passenger and driver aren't 5'6", the back passengers need to be little people. None of this matters to me for two reasons: I'm always the driver; and I'm getting 30mpg when gas is $3.80

75

Reliability, Reliability, Reliability. — I just rolled over 170,000 miles and am still getting 30-32mpg. The roof, hood, and trunk are steel, everything else is plastic. I have hit two deer (and one hit me), and the only damage is a missing fog-light port cover (I don't have fog lights), and a broken marker light cover (the light still works!). the seats are "cloth," but somehow waterproof. If I leave my windows open and it rains, all I have to do is wipe the seat off with my hand and poof, dry seat. It's a quick little car once you get up to the power-band (in my old engine, about 3500rpm).

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Ron writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL2 Sedan Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
4

Pros

-Great gas mileage, even with age
-Simple engineering
-Keep after it and it can reach half a million miles
-No rust problems on the body
-Still has dealer support, you can always get parts if you need them

Cons

-Performance not that great
-Engines use oil as the miles pile up
-Interior is a little bland
-Early (pre '95) models have 'active restraint' seatbelts, the kind that slide forward when the ignition is turned off.  These often fail and get stuck in the off position, making the car unsafe
-OBD means you better have some type of code reader if you want to fix it yourself

245

No Rust, Great Mileage, Simple — For me, the Saturn SL2 has been the closest modern equivalent to my Beetle; with a 1.9 liter engine it's by no means a speed demon. But much like Toyota's, Honda's, and many other imports, these cars seem to run forever. I received this car from my mother two years ago when she bought a new car; at that time it had 107k on it and wasn't worth selling. Or at least we didn't think it was; i recently checked blue book value and it's actually pretty good. One thing you'll never have to worry about with these car's is body rot; this car was the 2nd to last or last year for Saturn's cars being unique, which meant that had the dent resistant panels. Kid you not, at age 12 i walked across a door in a dealership and the panel popped and bowed, but didn't dent. The whole body, with the exception of the roof, trunk, and hood are plastic. Obviously the internal structure is steel, but you'll never have to worry about body rust. Rust on the unibody you might, but as long as you keep after the car it will last a long time. At the time of this writing, this very Saturn has 135k on it and is still running strong. As stated above, with only a 1.9 liter 4 cylinder, this car isn't exactly a pocket rocket like modern cars, but then again who races a Saturn? And with an automatic tranny behind it, you wouldn't want to really stand on it; i've had to do it a few times and the tranny hasn't been very happy, hunting between gears as i was trying to accelerate. gas mileage is great; even 11 years on the car still pulls in 34 - 36 mpg in mixed driving. It used to get around 40+, but the miles are starting to add up and are taking their toll. One caution i will add is that Saturn engines like to use oil as the miles start to pile up; they don't burn it, it just disappears. The oil control rings on the pistons start to stick as the engine gets older, and oil begins to seep into the combustion chamber and be burned. Not enough to produce blue smoke, but enough that you start to use oil; you have to check these cars every week to see how the fluid is. It's not uncommon for Saturns to reach 200k miles and up, but at that stage they start using oil like gas; consumption over 1 quart for ever 1000 miles is not uncommon over 200k, and even at 130k the cars can use some. Mine hasn't (matter of fact it's using almost none; last oil change i went 3000 miles and used a half a quart of oil) Overall, a good first car for highschool or college kids, and can even last you into the years after college until you can afford something better

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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Thadeus writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL1 Sedan Review
Back Seats:
Cargo Capacity:
Family Car:
Fuel Economy:
Front Seats:
Handling:
Maintenance Cost:
Price:
Power:
Reliability:
Looks/Style:
Overall:
4

Pros

Good gas milage, design still doesn't look old and outdated, holding up well despite age.

Cons

Lacks power.

35

Reliable — I have just over 283,000 miles on this car and it is still on the factory engine and transmission with no noticeable issues. I've only had to replace a few mostly minor things here and there as they wear out. It has pretty good mileage averaging about 33MPG on the highway. City is probably around 28 but I'm not very sure on that. The car has held up well cosmetically and is only now starting to show a little wear on the seat fabric and the head liner. The exterior is in good condition despite siting in the elements for 16 years. It has pretty good cargo capacity and the flip down back seats are very useful. The main down side is that it has crappy acceleration especially if the AC is on. Putting it into "performance mode" helps a bit. Braking could be better but it works.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Gary writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 2 Dr SC2 Coupe Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
3

Pros

Gas mileage and cheap

Cons

plastic fenders suck

35

Cheap Transportation — Not much there for a plastic car. seems to handle pretty good but not any power compared to a turbo 2.2. Once I find another motor for it I'll probably drive it for a while till I get the Rampage swapped over and then sell it and use the money to pay bills or invest in the AWD Rampage project.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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James writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 2 Dr SC2 Coupe Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Quick, sporty, 32mpg.

Cons

Squeeks and rattles (it's a plastic car)

45

A+ — Best car I've owned thus far. Quick, handled well, looked sexy, got 32mpg. If you can find one with under 100k miles, pick it up. Mine was one of the "factory freaks", which means something went terribly right with the engine. I was able to keep pace with Mustang GTs even before I modded her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Josephb_3 writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL2 Sedan Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
3

Pros

Good gas millage, fiberglass body.

Cons

Tendency for oil consumption

Josephb_3
35

Great Economy Car — I like how good the gas millage is, but don't like the oil consumption. I like the inexpensive replacement parts, and the space within the vehicle. Low maintence vehicle. It doesn't excellerate like a larger vehicle, but is acceptable. The vehicle seems solid, and the outside will not rust, so it will always look great. The vehicle is a joy to drive, as long as yours has lumbar support in the seat.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Kelly writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL2 Sedan Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
3

Pros

gas mileage

Cons

motor mounts breaking, making for a very loud car

75

I Had A Bad One. — This car wasn't great in the power department, but the handling was good. In my opinion the motor mounts should have been recalled because they kept breaking and I would have to go in and get them replaced. My dealership did it for free because they knew it was a problem and I got to know the service department men by name, which dispite the problem of having to get them replaced all the time is why I fell in love with Saturn. I also had to get the transmission replaced and about a year later when I was looking to trade it in, the transmission started to go as I was on the way to another car dealership. So I came home with a new car and since they only test drove the SL around the lot, they didn't realize they were getting a broke one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Nick writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL2 Sedan Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
3

Pros

reliable, very economical.  pretty much bulletproof

Cons

kinda ugly and boring to drive

45

Not Exciting, But Very Reliable — My mom bought this car new and gave it to us with 60,000 miles on it. It now has nearly 190,000 on it and burns only about 1/2 qt of oil every 3000miles and still gets 34mpg. The car has been pretty much trouble free and is easy to work on when necessary.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Jason writes:
1997 Saturn S-Series 4 Dr SL1 Sedan Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
3

Pros

dent-resistant panels, reliable, lightweight, automatic windows, automatic locks

Cons

"Saturn" usually associated with boring cars, ugly hub caps, uglier steelies, long antenna

55

Dent-resistant Panels Rock — Dent-resistant fiberglass is lightweight, meaning that a small compact with an average engine can suddenly have a good power-weight ratio. It features a performance mode that lowers fuel efficiency for a mild improvement in performance. While I was less atuned to cars back when I drove my SL1, I can tell you it helped. This particular car is very reliable and can run at over 200,000 miles without significant or expensive problems. This was a definite step down from my previous Altima, but it is a car I don't regret owning.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 55 1997 Saturn S-Series reviews.

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Reviews From Other Years

2002 Saturn S-Series Reviews

Reliable And Efficient By STouchton

This was my first financed car. I was always happy with it, and it never left me stranded anywhere. I like the look of it, as it's an economical car, yet has a sporty look. It doesn't accelerate as qu... Read More

Just Adored This If You Have Kids Buy This Car For Theyre First Car By Jade

I loved this car it was my baby but i had to get rid of it because i needed a truck it was a 5 speed i loved shifting it had a custom exhaust system and made it sound beast people could hear my car ... Read More

Read all 33 2002 Saturn S-Series reviews

2001 Saturn S-Series Reviews

Great Little Car By bamendt

goes through a lot of oil (not a leak), can kick when going from drive to reverse (have heard others with this issue with the same model, handling is not that great... overall i am very please with th... Read More

Overall Nice Car! By dwalt4719

Consistently gets around 28 MPG. Really comfortable car for the smaller driver. The back seats are especially cramped for a bigger person. The third door makes getting things out of the back quite eas... Read More

Read all 33 2001 Saturn S-Series reviews

2000 Saturn S-Series Reviews

Great Gas Mileage Car!!! By topsecretauto

This Car gets great gas mileage!!!! There's not a whole lot of room for tall people. But with that said, this really is a great car!! The gas mileage alone makes up for the lack of room in the back fo... Read More

Very Good Car Everyone Should Have One On The Track By patbrown

good on the track. needs a littel more speed. only running 5500 rpm's on the straight a way. great quailty car, doors are hard to destroy. lots of saturns on the track. good moters and easy to get par... Read More

Read all 27 2000 Saturn S-Series reviews

1999 Saturn S-Series Reviews

I Dont Like Any Car That Isnt Reliable By billybobisbillybob

its hard to write a 40 word survey about a unrelaiable car but I might be able to make it to forty words if I keep writing about this unreliable car that's been sitting in my drive for a month. wait h... Read More

Inexpensive Utilitarian Workhorse By TheHorror

I purchased my Saturn wagon in 2006, with 52k on the odometer. I was looking for a reliable and efficient daily driver, no frills necessary. Having no high expectations for performance, style or luxur... Read More

Read all 55 1999 Saturn S-Series reviews

1998 Saturn S-Series Reviews

Great Car! By microWaves

I like everything about the car in general, nothing wrong with it um just a few little things need to be replaced. honestly I would recommend this car for a first timer, great for college and people w... Read More

Good Family Car, Great Gas Mileage By MSJ

This is a great day-to-day car, for any sort of commuting or errand-running. Great for road trips, as it has good storage and fantastic mpg on the highway. The lack of power-steering is a bit cumber... Read More

Read all 34 1998 Saturn S-Series reviews

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