Compact car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,800*


1995 Saturn SL


1992 Saturn SL2


1994 Saturn SW2


1992 Saturn SL2 interior


1992 Saturn SL2 interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (SL2, SW2)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Fuel economy
Cons:
  • Acceleration (base)
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise

Saturn sedans aren’t the best choice in a subcompact, but overall they rank only slightly below the class-leading Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Overview

Built on the same platform as the Saturn SC coupes, the front-drive 4-door notchback sedans and 4-door wagons came with side body panels made from a rustproof plastic. However, hoods, trunklids, and roofs were still made of steel. Both models rode on a 102.4-inch wheelbase, three inches longer than the coupe’s. The sedan appeared in 1991 in two levels: SL1 and SL2. The station wagons, SW1 and SW2, joined the lineup early in ’92. The “1s” were powered by a single-overhead-cam 1.9-liter engine that provided 85 horsepower. All “2s” came with a twin-cam version that produced 124 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard and a 4-speed automatic optional. Antilock brakes were optional.

Yearly Updates

1992 Sedan/Wagon
A new base model, the SL, is added to the lineup to provide buyers a choice of three trim levels of Saturn sedans.
1993 Sedan/Wagon
Two wagon models join the Saturn lineup for ’93, riding the same 102.4-inch wheelbase as the sedans. The new SW1 and SW2 wagons have similar equipment to the SL1 and SL2 sedans. Like the sedans and coupes, the new wagons arrive with a standard driver-side airbag and optional antilock brakes. The SL2 and SW2 share a new front fascia with a wider grille opening. Also, traction control is a new option for models equipped with the automatic transmission and ABS.
1994 Sedan/Wagon
Revised power door locks, a recalibrated transmission, and CFC-free air conditioning sum up the changes to Saturn’s sedans and wagons for ’94.
1995 Sedan/Wagon
A standard passenger-side airbag and extra power for the base engine make headlines for ’95, the last year for the current design of the Saturn sedans and wagons. The base engine provides 15 more horsepower–100 instead of 85. With the addition of dual airbags, motorized shoulder belts have been discarded for new height-adjustable manual 3-point belts.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

The basic engine for the SL1 sedan and SW1 wagon is a single-cam, 1.9-liter 4-cylinder engine. It provides 85 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 110 pound-feet of torque at 2800 rpm. A shift from single-point to multipoint fuel injection in 1995 results in new performance figures of 100 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 114 pound-feet of torque at 2400 rpm. Both the SL2 sedan and SW2 wagon move up to a twin-cam version of the same 1.9-liter 4-cylinder. It delivers 124 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 122 pound-feet of torque at 4800 rpm. Both the single-cam and twin-cam versions of the 1.9-liter come paired with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.9/116
Engine HP 100
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 114
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
29/40
27/37
31.9

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.9/116
Engine HP 124
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 122
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
25/35
24/34
22.3
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.9/116
Engine HP 85
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 110
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
27/37
26/35

Road Test

The single-cam engine in the SL1 and SW1 gives these cars adequate acceleration with the manual transmission, but with the automatic you often have to floor the throttle to keep up with traffic. The dual-cam engine provides lively acceleration and decent passing power with either transmission. Though some changes have been made over the years to decrease interior noise levels, engines still become loud and harsh at higher speeds.

Both the sedans and wagons have ample head room in front for 6-footers to sit comfortably, though the front buckets don’t go back far enough for tall people to stretch out. Passengers in the back have just as much head room but less leg room. The wagon’s firm rear seat has an upright backrest that some may find uncomfortable. Entry/exit is easy to the front, but tight through the narrow rear doors. The import-inspired dash is easy to use, and outward visibility is unobstructed. Trunk space is good for the class and the split-rear seatbacks fold for more cargo room.

Responsive handling and adept roadhandling are high points, particularly on the SL2 and SW2 models. And the addition of a softer suspension and tires for ’93 on these level “2” models provide a noticeable improvement in ride quality.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Saturn SL2

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 41

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.4 176.3 67.6 55.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.9 12.8 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 36.3 42.5 32.6
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.4 176.3 67.6 53.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
56.3 12.8 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 37.4 42.5 32.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 SL 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 80
Injury 97
Theft 26

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Air conditioning stops blowing cold air after highway driving because evaporator freezes up requiring adjustment of compresses suction set point. (1994-95)
Automatic transmission
Description: If the automatic transmission shifts harshly, erratically, or sticks in gear or neutral, iron sediment in the valve body may be the problem. (1993-94)
Brake noise
Description: Brakes that growl or grind during low speed stops are repaired by replacing the front pads and machining, or replacing the rotors. (1991-95)
Cruise control
Description: If the cruise control fluctuates at speeds over 64 mph, a new control-module assembly must be installed. (1991-95)
Doors
Description: If the doors will not open, the door-latch assembly(s) must be replaced. (1991-93)
Engine noise
Description: Squealing from the front of the engine when the temperature is below 40 degrees (F) may be fixed by replacing the drive-belt idler pulley with one having a revised bearing. (1991-95)
Engine stalling
Description: If the DOHC engine stalls and does not restart when coming to a stop, the oil may be the wrong viscosity. (1991-95)
Antenna
Description: A whistling wind noise may be coming from the radio antenna. (1991-95)
Tail/brake lights
Description: A drop in fuel economy, brake noise, vehicle vibration, and/or increased brake-pedal travel could be caused by a misadjusted brake-light switch that does not allow the pedal to return to full release. (1991-93)

Recall History

1991-93
Description: Generator-wiring harness could suffer excessive current flow.
1992
Description: Automatic transaxle-valve assemblies on some cars were improperly machined.
1993
Description: Brake-booster housing on some cars could separate.
1993 SL2/SW2
Description: Battery-cable terminal at starter solenoid may be formed incorrectly.
1994-95
Description: Some front seatback-recliner gear teeth may wear excessively through repeated use; could cause seatback to slip partially rearward when force is applied.
1995 SL w/manual steering
Description: Some pinion shafts could fracture, causing total loss of steering control.
1995 w/automatic
Description: Improperly adjusted cable makes it possible to shift from “Park” with key removed, or to remove key while lever is in position other than “Park.”

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.