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Old 10-01-2019, 06:28 PM   #1
Mister_Cee
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Default How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

I'm not looking to make a change, as the SW2 has been with me since it was new in 1996 and is still serving me well. But, I do look at ads for new cars and have always wondered:

New, my SW2 was just shy of $17,000. According to the online Inflation Calculator, that's (approx) $28,000 in 2019 dollars.

How can a $25,000 2019 car (with some bells and whistles not even thought of, let alone available, in 1996) be as good a vehicle as my (inflation adjusted) $28,000 SW2?

Inquiring minds want to know lol

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Old 10-01-2019, 07:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Interesting question. Your 17000 dollar 96 was 17000. You could probably get a 33000 dollar car for 28000 17000 in 96 dollars. Advantage of a car from 24 years ago was it was pretty simple and basic, easy to work on etc.. but so primitive compared to modern cars. Safety and convenience has come a long long way in that time. If you look at it backwards how does a 1996 car match up with a 1972 car. A lot of improvements.

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Old 10-01-2019, 10:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Advances in manufacturing processes and material selection has driven cost down a little too when you try to compare apples to apples. An AM/FM/CD player could have been a premium option in 1996 that tacked an extra $300 to the MSRP, but nowadays it seems like every base model comes with an AM/HD-FM/CD/USB/AUX-in/Bluetooth/XM/footwarmer/makesyoubreakfast radio as standard equipment.

Plus cars are just built cheaper than they use to be as well... Granted there's plenty of exceptions to this statement, and I would honestly say that statement holds more true to cars built from the late 70's to the late 80's, but in general it seems like most vehicles 20-30 years ago were built to last a while. Vehicles rolling off assembly lines today are just built like disposable appliances... in the hundreds of thousands, with the cheapest materials that can be sourced, and assembled by the lowest bidder...

That's just my professional opinion after working in a salvage yard for the last 9 years, dealing with various makes and models from the late 80's to the most current 2020 models...

...
98 SL2, 70k miles, kept in the family since new!

Her name is Uranus :)

Last edited by 98_Gold_Uranus; 10-01-2019 at 10:12 PM..

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Old 10-02-2019, 08:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Come back in 2043 and see what 2019 cars are still around and running strong.

...
• 1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
• 2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
• 1994 SL1 new traded
• 1992 SL2 new traded for above
* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg

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Old 10-02-2019, 09:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

The new cars have better front suspension and better transmissions. They accelerate faster because the transmissions are better. Well, that and variable timing.
However, if you’re a s l a y e r of transmissions, then you’re better off with an S-Series.

...
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Oil use is 1 oz per 100 miles with approximately 230,000 mi on engine

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Old 10-02-2019, 10:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

I'll always keep an S-Series around as a backup because I've taken enough apart where I would wager I could do an entire engine swap blindfolded at a reasonable pace at this point. They're mechanically simple cars that are easy to work on.

When I got hurt earlier this year I had to drive an automatic S-Series for a few months. When I got back into my 2016 Honda the difference was significant. Bluetooth, quieter, smoother all around, etc. Not ALL newer cars are worth dumping your Saturn for ( Mitsubishi Mirage for example is a laugh ) but many probably are..

...
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Old 10-02-2019, 10:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dummo View Post
Come back in 2043 and see what 2019 cars are still around and running strong.
And what 98/99 cars are as well.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 10-03-2019, 01:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

I wonder the same thing occasionally too. My 96 SW2 was a tad over $17k out the door.

I like the small wagon for practicality. That narrows down choices in new cars a lot. I like the manual transmission because it's kind of fun (even at my age). The polymer panels still look pretty good

The car is a little slower than many new cars (one negative).

...
96 SW2 5MT

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Old 10-03-2019, 02:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

I find no advantage whatsoever with newer cars. Modern cars just have more plastic and electronics with little additional utility. The Saturn S series is as reliable as it gets. I've been through a dozen of these cars(and still have them) and taught my entire family to drive on them, along with various others.

My big peeve is the stupid bucket seats. I hate them. I'd rather have a bench seat that reclines to horizontal so I can sleep easily in the car on long trips. The buckets also waste a lot of space and a console is even worse.

No modern cars have bench seats and I can easily cruise at 90 with my foot barely grazing the gas in my old 97 SL2 daily driver. It has 340K miles on it and has the original drive train. I have zero reason to get anything else of a similar size.

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Old 10-03-2019, 05:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid View Post
I wonder the same thing occasionally too. My 96 SW2 was a tad over $17k out the door.

I like the small wagon for practicality. That narrows down choices in new cars a lot. I like the manual transmission because it's kind of fun (even at my age). The polymer panels still look pretty good

The car is a little slower than many new cars (one negative).
You read my mind lol. I bought the SW2 because I needed the space to haul things and have have manual transmission cars ever since a 1974 VW Beetle that I bought, new.

My panels look great (EXCEPT some paint dings on the drivers' side back door) where a former apartment complex neighbor thought that opening his truck door onto my car, daily, was acceptible practice. Oh ... and there is a paint "zit" on the hood from a rock chip.

I, too, would love to have a few more horsepower/some extra torque.

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Old 10-03-2019, 09:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Our 2018 Chevy Volt is so much improved. It was $23,500 after tax credit. A very good bargain in my opinion.
I have the LT version with comfort package heated seats and steering wheel. The Bose stereo system with sub-woofer.
We have solar array and have driven 20K EV miles on solar power so far.
We also have 5K gas miles @ about 43 mpg.

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Old 10-03-2019, 09:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_b View Post
Our 2018 Chevy Volt is so much improved. It was $23,500 after tax credit. A very good bargain in my opinion.
I have the LT version with comfort package heated seats and steering wheel. The Bose stereo system with sub-woofer.
We have solar array and have driven 20K EV miles on solar power so far.
We also have 5K gas miles @ about 43 mpg.
Interesting feedback. How is it for maintenance? Assuming DIY, is there anything that's more difficult or takes longer than the S series?

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Old 10-03-2019, 09:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S-forever View Post
Modern cars just have more plastic
Uhhhh... what do you think more than half of our S-series exterior is made of? lol

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Old 10-03-2019, 10:08 PM   #14
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S-forever View Post
Interesting feedback. How is it for maintenance? Assuming DIY, is there anything that's more difficult or takes longer than the S series?
@25K miles and I am just about to do my first oil change.

I had a Gen one Volt (2013) that I sold with over 100K miles two oil changes the brakes still looked great.
It has regen to slow the car down so you don’t have to use your brakes as much.

I do my own maintenance I even had free oil change (on my 2018) but I like mobile one so I did not take them up on it. My car has not been back to the dealer scene I bought it.
So far just tire rotations.

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Old 10-04-2019, 12:49 AM   #15
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlayZombi View Post
Uhhhh... what do you think more than half of our S-series exterior is made of? lol
]

Saturn did many things right on the S, including putting plastic where it would otherwise turn to rust. I personally don't like the standardized interior on modern cars - they're very inefficient for packing it full. There's too much plastic on the inside, including the S. I also don't like plastic in places like engine clips, etc., where if it fails or breaks, you're stuck somewhere. Everyone is doing that today though. I love the S for it's broad mission profile, and it would be even better if the interior was more open. When I get to it, I want to clean out the fuel system on my '94 SW2, put a trailer hitch on it, and I'll have a fully functional sleepable mini-SUV. The more modern cars like the Volt have a lot going for them, but they are not yet cheap. The SW2 cost me $810.00 years ago with a new engine, and the SL2 was given to me by a friend. BTW, I drive mountain roads regularly and get very good mileage on the brakes. It's just how you drive, I suppose.

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Old 10-04-2019, 01:12 AM   #16
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S-forever View Post
]

I personally don't like the standardized interior on modern cars - they're very inefficient for packing it full. There's too much plastic on the inside, including the S. I also don't like plastic in places like engine clips, etc., where if it fails or breaks, you're stuck somewhere.
What cars of the past at a comparable size to modern cars (AKA compact to compact comparison) had more room? The only reason I could think of for older cars to have more room is because they had very poor safety features like missing crumple zones and flimsy panels. I would rather have less space in order to have more of a crash buffer than have more space and get crushed in a tin can. As for the engine plastic comment, yeah, I don't like it either. I get very skeptical about plastic reaching the same temperatures as metal in the engine bay. If it doesn't melt, chances are eventually the heat will rot it and make it very brittle. Looking at you BMW...

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Old 10-04-2019, 08:30 AM   #17
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Ever priced out BMW parts, and oh my, if something big goes fitzzz, dealer only for even larger payouts. Kinda good fuel economy though for their V6's.

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Old 10-04-2019, 10:24 PM   #18
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Not to put my neck out in the prediction department , but the 2nd gen Toyota Prius might be a car that lasts. They are in the ten years old age bracket and some used ones sell for $2,000 to $5,000 on craigslist having 200-300k miles on their clocks. It seems like their owners are ready to move on and nervous about the high mileage. I have seen do-it-yourself battery replacement kits for under $1,000 putting the dealer replacement prices to shame. There are a few youtubers that have converted their Prius into campers and make the most of the surprisingly large interior space. They profess that the Prius is actually technically a mid size car. I’ve yet to sit in or drive one but just being interested in their gas mileage got me curious enough to research them from my couch. The current Prius is butt-ugly like most of today’s cars and divided by sub-models into different platforms and not as popular as the 2nd gens which were from these car’s heyday.

I am still in love with my SW2 however.

...
• 1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
• 2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
• 1994 SL1 new traded
• 1992 SL2 new traded for above
* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg

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Old 10-05-2019, 02:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 98_Gold_Uranus View Post
Advances in manufacturing processes and material selection has driven cost down a little too when you try to compare apples to apples. An AM/FM/CD player could have been a premium option in 1996 that tacked an extra $300 to the MSRP, but nowadays it seems like every base model comes with an AM/HD-FM/CD/USB/AUX-in/Bluetooth/XM/footwarmer/makesyoubreakfast radio as standard equipment.

Plus cars are just built cheaper than they use to be as well... there's plenty of exceptions to this statement, and I would honestly say that statement holds more true to cars built from the late 70's to the late 80's, but in general it seems like most vehicles 20-30 years ago were built to last a while. Vehicles rolling off assembly lines today are just built like disposable appliances... in the hundreds of thousands, with the cheapest materials that can be sourced, and assembled by the lowest bidder...

That's just my professional opinion after working in a salvage yard for the last 9 years, dealing with various makes and models from the late 80's to the most current 2020 models...
Re-read the bold portion, as that statement hits the proverbial nail on its proverbial head.

...
"What does a Saturn owner do, at the gas station?"

"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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Old 10-10-2019, 09:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: How can 2019 cars be as good as my SW2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlayZombi View Post
What cars of the past at a comparable size to modern cars (AKA compact to compact comparison) had more room? The only reason I could think of for older cars to have more room is because they had very poor safety features like missing crumple zones and flimsy panels. I would rather have less space in order to have more of a crash buffer than have more space and get crushed in a tin can. As for the engine plastic comment, yeah, I don't like it either. I get very skeptical about plastic reaching the same temperatures as metal in the engine bay. If it doesn't melt, chances are eventually the heat will rot it and make it very brittle. Looking at you BMW...
There's no good reason for having no bench seat option, and there's no good reason for that bench seat being unable to fold truly flat into a bedlike space. If it was a half and half bench seat, the passenger side and rear seat could be used for sleeping or carrying lots of stuff. There's no excuse for ugly and uncomfortable bucket seats that I have to modify and reposition so that I can endure a twelve hour trip. I've permanently removed the headrest on the driver's side and reversed the one on the passenger side for quick removal. There's so much good about the S series and it could be so much better with small changes to the interior. I'm not willing to compromise comfort for alleged "safety". Life is uncertain regardless, and sometimes "safety" "features" can be anything but.

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