Possibly replacing my FSP with a Saturn

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by melinuxfool, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. melinuxfool

    melinuxfool Well-Known Member

    I was looking at two Saturns today at a dealership. An 01 Saturn Coupe 3 door and either a 99 or 2000 Saturn SL 4-door. Both of them were five speeds. Both had digital odometers, so I couldn't see the mileage. But both cars have a 40 mpg highway rating.

    I was actually impressed, that dealership was the first I've seen around where there were as many standards as automatics.

    Anyway, what kind of numbers are some of y'all seeing out of 5-speed Saturns? I had a 96 once, and the best I ever did with it was 43 mpg, but that was just following speed limits and not really doing any sort of hypermiling, with no ScanGauge. Do any of you think 50 mpg is within the realm of possibility?

    As for the Nissan Truck, it'll stay in the family. My dad will most likely keep it, but for as many long trips as I take, I'm really leaning toward a small car like that. I'm going over tomorrow to see if I can test-drive both of them.
  2. MT bucket

    MT bucket I want my MPG!

    50 should be no problem if it is already rated for 40! go for it! :)
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Melinixfool:

    ___I saw on E-Bay a clean, white 05 HCH-I with a stick, 73K miles and a clean title that had a minimum bid of $8K and no reserve the other day. I bet you could take that one down for $7K or so by contacting the owner directly. 70 + mpg is easy with one of those.

    ___Good Luck

  4. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    $8k is about double what I paid for an 01 Saturn six years ago. I'd bet Melinix is looking at a budget of $2-3K. Decent used Geo Metro's are available in that price range too.
  5. melinuxfool

    melinuxfool Well-Known Member

    I had thought of those as well. But they're imposible to find here. I tried a Toyota Tercel once, but I couldn't sit in it without my head touching the ceiling. I'm not all that tall (5'11") but that car wasn't comfortable at all for me. I don't know what a Metro would be like. The Saturns were comfortable to sit in, had ample leg and head room, and the bodies don't rust (in Maine, that's a BIG issue, because they plaster the roads with salt in the winter)
  6. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    A Geo Metro is fairly small. A Geo/Chevy Prizm however is a cheap find despite being a rebadged Corolla. May be worth checking out.
  7. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Check out the mileage logs of CobraPond. His car is a '99 Saturn SL2 with a 5-speed. He usually does pretty close to 50 mpg in the winter.
  8. melinuxfool

    melinuxfool Well-Known Member

    Well, I went today to test drive. The price is reasonable for the two Saturns. Another one that was brought into my consideration was a Saab four-door. I didn't really get any info on it other than him showing it to me. But I think I might go back tomorrow to try it out. It was pretty nice looking, and I don't think it would be too expensive, or the guy (I know him personally) would not have recommended it.
  9. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    The Saturn is a safer bet than the Saab. Older Saabs can be buggy and the parts are not widely available. The Saturns of that era (99-02) have a few occasional bugs (Passkey/ignition, crank position sensor, intake manifold gasket), but all are cheap fixes and are not widespread "they all have it" problems. The Saab engines in the late '90s also had sludge problems, so you'd want to confirm that the engine isn't gummed up inside.
  10. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    I'm going to have to agree with Maxx here. I have had very good service from the Saturn's I've owned in the past. For the most part, the drivetrains are pretty much the same from the '02 all the way back to when they first came out. I have a complete set of factory service manuals and they look to be fairly easy to work on.
  11. melinuxfool

    melinuxfool Well-Known Member

    okay, so the Saturns have a higher reliability rating than the Saabs from what I can see. So the question then is, which one?

    There is a 2000 Saturn SL2 with the dual overhead cam. That one has 4-doors, traction control, ABS, and air conditioning. No cassette or CD player, though, just a radio.

    Then there's a 2001 SC1, with the single overhead cam. 3 doors, no ABS, no traction control, and no AC. But it does, at least, have a CD player.

    Being that I live in Maine, I was seriously considering the SL2, despite the lower highway ratings (38 mpg vs 40 mpg). Traction control might have saved my previous Saturn from death in a snow-storm a couple of years ago. But then again, I don't know if it works worth a darn on black ice, which is what I think caused the car to spin out.

    The 3-door coupe is a year newer and has about 38,000 fewer miles on it. However I couldn't test drive it right away, because it was running rich and on 3 cylinders, so he had to fix that before it could be driven. The advantages there are that there's about two fewer years of driving on the coupe (I put about a lot of miles on cars very quickly). The engine looked cleaner, it had a CD player, and of course, the 2 extra MPG rating.

    AC is not a deal breaker, and neither is the traction control or ABS. I haven't had any of those features since I've owned a car.

    My 1996 SL had 210,000 on it when I crashed it. Do you think the 2000 and 2001 would be good for as long?
  12. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    I would go with the SL2 for the ABS and traction control. There is a relatively easy way to gain those 2 mpg back on the SL2: Take the 5th gears out of a '99 or above SL1. This can be done in around 2 hours and the transmission doesn't even have to be removed from the car.
  13. melinuxfool

    melinuxfool Well-Known Member

    So they use lower gears for the SL2 than the SL1? I thought it was the extra HP
  14. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    They wanted to take advantage of the extra hp and torque so they geared to be really snappy at the expense of economy. That's where the 2 mpg went.

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