Sporty/performance car; Built in USA
  • 2-door coupe
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,100 – $2,000*


1995 Saturn SC2


1992 Saturn SC2


1996 Saturn SC1


1995 Saturn SC interior


1992 Saturn SC 16-valve engine

Pros:
  • Acceleration (SC2)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Fuel economy
  • Instruments/controls
Cons:
  • Acceleration (SC1)
  • Engine noise
  • Entry/exit
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise

Saturn coupes began to get lots of competition from rivals, but the used-car certification program from Saturn dealerships could help ensure that buyers will get a good deal on a used Saturn. You also have the promise of higher-than-average customer service on repairs and warranty work after the purchase.

Overview

The newest member of the GM family was Saturn. Initially they offered a 2-door coupe and 4-door sedans and wagons. All came with doors, fenders, and side body panels made from a rustproof plastic. However, hoods, trunklids, and roofs were still made of steel. Saturn coupes rode on a 99.2-inch wheelbase and measured 173.2 inches from front to back. For its first year, only one coupe model was offered–the SC. The only engine for the SC coupe was a twin-cam, 124-horsepower, 1.9-liter 4-cylinder. All Saturns are front-wheel drive and had antilock brakes optional.

Yearly Updates

1992 Coupe
Saturns return for their sophomore season with few changes. The most significant being the arrival of an optional driver-side airbag and a new mounting system for the engine and transmission, designed to reduce noise and vibration.
1993 Coupe
A standard driver-side airbag is added to all Saturn subcompacts, while a new base coupe is added. The new entry-level coupe is dubbed SC1 and comes equipped with the 85-horsepower single-cam version of Saturn’s 1.9-liter 4-cylinder. Last year’s coupe is renamed SC2 and retains the 124-horsepower twin-cam version. For both engines, a 5-speed manual is standard and a 4-speed automatic is optional.
1994 Coupe
Revised power door locks, a recalibrated transmission, and CFC-free air conditioning sum up the changes to Saturn’s sports coupes for 1994.
1995 Coupe
A standard passenger-side airbag, extra power for the base engine, and minor styling changes are making headlines this year at Saturn. Saturn completely redesigned the interior with a new dashboard and dual airbags. In addition, 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. Among the styling changes, the SC1 gets a new front end, while revisions were made to both the front and tail of the SC2.
1996 Coupe
For 1996, the electronic 4-speed automatic has new adaptive shift program that changes based on how the car is driven. The other big change is that traction control, previously included only with the optional ABS and automatic transmission, can now be included when ABS and the 5-speed manual gearbox are paired. The Saturn coupe would be redesigned for ’97.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

The basic engine for the initial SC coupe was a twin-cam, 1.9-liter 4-cylinder engine. It provides 124 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 122 pound-feet of torque at 4800 rpm. In 1993, a single-cam version was added for the new SC1 base model, while the SC2 version retained the twin-cam engine. The single-cam engine 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 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
25.8

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
24.0

Road Test

If possible, select a base model (1995-96) with the 100-horsepower base engine paired with the manual 5-speed. Acceleration is sluggish with the automatic. Also, the revised base engine performs better than the previous 85-horsepower unit. The more powerful twin-cam engine in the SC2 performs well with either transmission. We timed one with the automatic at 9.1 seconds to 60 mph. The same car averaged 25 mpg from mainly urban driving. The SC1 should prove even more economical. However, both engines are still too noisy at higher speeds.

Like most other sports coupes, these two suffer from limited rear-seat room, though there’s plenty of space in front for tall people. The gauges are clearly marked and well-lit at night, and the steering-column stalks for both lights and wipers are at the driver’s fingertips. The early climate controls are too low in the center of the dashboard and require a long look away from the road to find the right switch.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Saturn SC1

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 - 2
20%
Fuel Economy - 7
70%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 2
20%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 37

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.2 173.2 67.5 50.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.9 12.8 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.5 35.0 42.6 26.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 SC 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

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

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 92
Injury 108
Theft 13

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: A simple adjustment to compressor may prevent air conditioner evaporator freeze-up. (1994-96)
Air conditioner
Description: Air conditioning stops blowing cold air after highway driving because evaporator freezes up requiring adjustment of compresses suction set point. (1994-96)
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 the rotors. (1991-95)
Cruise control
Description: If the cruise control fluctuates at speeds over 64 mph, a new control-module assembly may be needed. (1991-95)
Doors
Description: If the doors will not open, the door-latch assembly(s) will be replaced. (1991-93)
Engine noise
Description: Squealing from the front of the engine when the temperature is below 40 degrees (F) will be fixed by replacing the drive-belt idler pulley with one having a revised bearing. (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)
Trunk latch
Description: If the trunk can be opened without the key, Saturn will fix the release mechanism. (1991-93)
Electrical problem
Description: If rear wiper, speakers, fuel gauge stop working, wiring harness near left kick panel may be chafing on bracket. (1995-96)

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 SC2
Description: Battery-cable terminal at 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 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.”
1996
Description: Horn could become inoperable or activate without pressing button; under certain conditions, heat could build up, leading to underhood fire.

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.