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2000 Saturn L-Series

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 4.5

Reviewed by 97 users

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Reviews written: 6
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Glad we bought a Saturn!

by zookeepers:      May 19, 2001 - Updated Jun 7, 2002

Product Rating: 5.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: stylish, zippy (6-cyl), solid feel, price, warranty service, dent-free panels
Cons: window control placement, some warranty work needed, size of gas tank
The Bottom Line: Buy a Saturn LS-2. It rides well, gets decent mileage (26 hwy), is priced right compared to other cars with the same features, and NO MORE DOOR DINGS. Yay!

The Saturn LS-2 is a pretty terrific car for the money. Here's the story of how we made our decision:

CAR SHOPPING: We didn't know we were doing it, but last summer my husband and I went shopping for a new car. We told ourselves that we would just check around. We didn't really need a new car, but we were just "keeping up with the Joneses", the couple down the street that bought a used Lexus (that you would NEVER know was used, and they really were named Jones). Our uncle is the sales manager at a Lexus dealer and we thought we could get a good deal on a somewhat used, but super guaranteed LS400.
After driving a couple and realizing just how expensive their "good deals" were even though they were used cars, we did some comparison shopping. We thought we might want a station wagon because we have 2 dogs and would someday have kids. A wagon would save the kids from the slobbering beasts, and vice versa. We checked out the Subarus, and they were OK, but felt a little too rough, as in rough and tough. The kinds of cars you wouldn't mind getting filthy. Could be good to some people; to me I wanted a little more class.
So, driving up my block one day I saw a classy looking wagon. Figured for sure it was a VW Passat, but lo and behold, it was a Saturn. How cool. Didn't know Saturn made wagons. Brad, let's go check it out...

SATURN: Got to the Saturn dealer. First terrific thing is that we were not swarmed with sales people. It actually took some eye contact to get Bryan, our eventual seller, to come out to help us. We took an LW-1, a 4-cylinder, out for a drive. Hmmm, let's try the 6-cylinder LW-2. {Saturn has this ingenious way of naming cars: LW means "large wagon", while LS means "large sedan", an "SW" is a "small wagon", while an "SL" is a "small sedan (don't really get that one), a "1" is a 4-cylinder, a "2" is a 6-cylinder}
OK, the wagon was doing well. We went zooming up I-10 (a MEGA highway) at a ridiculous rate of speed. We slammed on the brakes in parking lots. We did a 360 in a tiny area. It passed all tests and we were thinking "this could be it". Then I sat in a showroom sedan....
Why were we wanting a wagon? We already have a jeep. We could put the dogs in there... My mind wasn't thinking "but then where do we put the kids? Wasn't that the purpose in the first place?"

FEATURES: The seats were CUSHY, I mean super-soft (but good support). They molded around my body. The features were snazzy. Leather, heated seats (in Houston?), sunroof, fold down back seats (this was a BIG selling point), power everything, decent gas mileage (I had no idea how important this would become), power seats that RISE (I am only 5'2"), dent resistant panels, great sound system, remote door locks, tint. The only weird thing was that the window controls are on the center console. If you are a short person in the passenger seat, you will have trouble putting your window down unless you slide your seat forward a lot. This puts you in the position of really getting nailed by the airbag in the case of an accident. The only BAD thing is that the gas tank is like a mini-size. Even with good mileage you are likely to fill up at least once a week. The tank is only around 13 gallons.

HOW MUCH: Ok, how much? Bryan pulls out a list. Each feature has a specific NON-HAGGLE price. Basic car: $20135, sunroof $725, audio system: $220, leather everywhere: $1420, power seat: $325. All told, $23265. Then we got the leather cleaning kit and the paint kit for a bit more. Final total: $24691.12 with tax & tags. Compared to $30,000 for a 1990 Lexus-400 with the same features, this was great. No bragging to the neighbors about how we haggled the poor salesman down to a non-existent commission. We did brag about the service that we got, the patience that the poor people showed us when I couldn't decide which color to get, and the fact that the car was styled after some European car that I forget the name of. Oh, and the interest rate...

FINANCING: At the time Saturn was having an unbelievable special. We financed this car for 60 months, with only $2500 down for 2.9% interest. Over the entire 5 years, I will pay only $1807.06 in interest. Not bad.

SERVICE: Regular service has a specific schedule. They will hand you a sheet with the mileage and months that you should have service, with the exact services that will be performed and the exact price, as well as the yearly cost of the service. Let me tell you, they have it ALL figured out and all you have to do is drive.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Saturn has served me well this year. I got pregnant and used the heated seats for my aching back (even in Houston!). We have had a few minor problems, most of them due to our stupidity. When we bought the car we bought off of the lot. Ours had some spots on it where apparently someone had really test-driven it to death. The rim was scratched, there were some random scratches here and there. Saturn took care of them NO PROBLEM. The tint had a hair-like line in it. REPLACED. The sunroof was funky and clinked. REPLACED. There was a funny hesitation at 37 mph. They replaced the computer chip (we now think it was just changing gears up and down - but on suburban Houston roads that's about the speed you have to go). Oh, and yes, now we are wondering what to do with the dogs! Except one is a mini-dach and when we road-tripped with him we just put the back seats down and let him wander into the trunk and out - but now we have a baby. ?!.

BONUS INFO: I got whammed by an idiot at Target who decided to swing his massive Suburban door into mine. While it caused two small scratches (I got touch-up paint for them), THERE WERE NO DENTS. NONE. NONE AT ALL. Those dent-resistant panels are not a joke.

OVERALL: Buy a Saturn. Even if you have trouble they don't haggle with you there, either. It rides well, gets decent mileage (26 hwy), is priced right, and NO MORE DOOR DINGS. Yay!


JUNE, 2002:

In the year since I first wrote my review I have come across quite a few warranty issues, including the following:

the back window leaked INTO the trunk, destroying 25 $10 coloring books. {this was replaced and a check was cut for the cost of the books}

The emblem on the steering wheel looked corroded {this was replaced but the whole airbag assembly had to be replaced and now there is a noticeable lump caused by the new air bag}

The dome light wouldn't come on when the back doors were opened {fixed}

There was an alignment issue caused in production {all 4 tires were replaced completely and the car was realigned}

It has developed a "growling" sound like a diesel {they replaced the timing belt, but that hasn't helped. I'm going to make sure they do something to straighten out this problem}

The lock seals on the doors look all sorts of yucky {I will address this next visit}

There is an awful rattling sound under the passenger dash {I will address this next visit}

There is another hair line in one window tint {I will address this next visit}

The car makes a funny grinding sound when turned on if the AC is already on {I will address this next visit}

I think that's about it. I have to say that while there are more problems than I had hoped for, most are minor, and all have been or will be taken care of by the warranty. No one has argued with us, and everyone sincerely tries to help. I have had more "friendly parking neighbors" whack into the sides and none have produced a ding, although someone seems to have scraped the side of the car and I have two small, white scratches that I'm not pleased with.

Overall, after almost 2 years of use I am still quite happy with my Saturn. Next time around, though, I may give that Lexus dealer another try.
Amount Paid (US$): 24691.12
Condition: New
Model Year: 2000
Model and Options: LS-2, leather, sunroof, sound system

Product Rating: 5.0
Recommended: Yes 
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