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Old 08-18-2002, 08:42 AM   #1
danix
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Default Is it the right time to buy an SL?

I had posted here once before, when I was considering a VUE.
I held off on that purchase, for now, but was glad to see that the VUE got good IIHS crash test scores.

My mom is considering a new car. Since she parks in a high crime urban area, I figured that an SL1 or SL2 would be good since I believe they have a low theft rate, and the plastic side panels would be useful.

My grandfather is a GM retiree so I get the cars at a discount, another good reason to buy Saturn. The only other comparable GM car is the Cavalier, at least price-wise, and I think that is actually more money at this point.

My question - I know the Ion is coming out. Is there going to be a 2003 SL? If yes, it might make sense to wait and get the 2003, but if not, is now the right time to buy an SL (1 or 2, automatic, sedan) or do you think future deals are forthcoming?

Thanks.

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Old 08-18-2002, 09:04 AM   #2
ddsaxy
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The ION pretty much is a madeover SL. There will be no 2003 S-Series vehicles. They will now be the ION - more power - bigger - cooler - but less MPG

Also, where are you getting low theft rate from? Or is this something that you figured? Just curious...

Hope this helps.

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Old 08-18-2002, 11:06 AM   #3
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Some dealers don't allow GM Discounts on Saturn products. People have mentioned that here before.
It's a really good time to get an S-series. Saturn just wants to get rid of them all before the ION replaces it.

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Old 08-18-2002, 11:35 AM   #4
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'02 S-series vehicles will be the last (sniff sniff) S-Series, and perhaps the last "true" Saturns ever.

Yes dealers are trying to clear the lots of the '02 S's to make way for the ION, which in the coming month or so, you should see a fair amount of media hype about. After all, it isn't every day that an automaker replaces it's original vehicle. Whether or not the ION is successful will of course remain to be seen--it's certainly aimed at the youger crowds with it's styling. Personally I think the ION look is schweet, but if you've read any of the threads here or seen pics yourself, it is clearly and intentionally a highly subjective design choice and by no means bland--some will love it, others not and that I believe is the whole idea.

My advice would be to check out the '02 S-Series. Despite what many online reviews say, it's a good vehicle--though the styling and feature list is admittedly aging, it still is certainly better-looking and much safer in crash tests than the Cav if that's what the competition is, which I think speaks volumes on the original design of the car, which really hasn't changed much since it's introduction in 1990. All S-Series should be still 0.0% for up to 60 months, which might be worth a look at just based on that.

I've got an '02 SL2 (more HP than SL1) and am basically pleased with it and look forward to the next 4-5 years of ownership.

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Old 08-18-2002, 12:13 PM   #5
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I don't have stats on Saturn thefts, I just know that I wouldn't steal an SL1/2
Seriously, it's not like they are 20 years old and parts are hard to get, or they have factory Recaros or highend stereos that someone wants to steal.
Actually, I checked on iihs.org, and in general Saturns are much better than average for theft rates.

As far as a good time, I look at it this way - whether I bought it a month ago, 6 months ago, or tomorrow, the average consumer would be paying MSRP, and I pay the GMS/GMO price, both of which are fixed prices. So what is Saturn doing to clear out the SLs, knowing that the Ion is coming?
They are offering 0% financing, but I don't know if that is enough to sway buyers.

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Old 08-18-2002, 12:56 PM   #6
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Saturn really can't do much to move the 02 models. Because they don't do discounts, there isn't anything other than financing that they can use as a lure to people "on the fence." I wouldn't worry about the 03 ION is the 02 SL1 suits your fancy. The SL1 is plain honest transportation at a good price.

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Old 08-18-2002, 03:42 PM   #7
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You might try to get one of the SL special package cars. I bought one last month. It is a silver blue 2002 SL (Silver blue is supposed to be an SL1/SL2 only color). It has a five speed and AC and just am/fm stereo radio...... But it has rear defrost and intermittent wipers and only front speakers but the wires are already run to the back at the factory. Except for wheel covers being different and no rear speakers, it is the same as the silver blue SL1 (has body colored bumpers and power steering). As an SL, it should have been $12000. As an SL1, it would be $13400. It was $9995 with destination. No 0% financing though. I even got a better price on insurance because I could prove to the insurance company that the car was stickered at $9995...

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Old 08-18-2002, 05:10 PM   #8
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A nice value IMHO.

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Old 08-18-2002, 05:40 PM   #9
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Yes, I was quite pleased. I know my dealer sold 16 of them in 2 weeks. I was going to buy one from a dealer 100 miles away but the dealer called and said they got two more in. Mine was made in July.. Must have been one of the last ones...I notice many improvements over my 93. I find it pretty nice and wonder why the media hate them so much.. It is not as nice as my 2000 Legacy but Legacy was twice the price too....

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Old 08-18-2002, 08:45 PM   #10
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The special edition is indeed an excellent value - I could get it for under $9400 in fact.
Thing is, Mom is tired of driving stick and has gotten used to the automatic in her 90 Camry, so she wants to go that route. I'll mention it to her though.

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Old 08-18-2002, 09:52 PM   #11
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I've found the SL2's auto tranny to be a very smooth operator--again, I saw many reviews that called the auto "abrupt and lurchy" which I can easily dispell as biased reporting. Sometimes the only way I can tell if the car is shifting is by the tach, only when I'm accellerating quickly do I feel the car lurching mildly between gears. The (auto) SL1's I test drove was a bit more on the rough side, but then again, I was pushing the engine harder as it's got less HP.

Don't be fooled by "noisy engine" slams in reviews, either. Again, media stigma at play based on "what once was" rather than "what is." While engine noise was definitely an issue in earlier model S's, Saturn engineers have worked hard to dampen the noise of their 1.9L I4 powerplants. Engine noise is only evident in my SL2 at high RPMs. It's almost too bad to see the ION go to the GM global small-car ECOTEC, but from what I hear it's a good engine, and rated at 140 HP should work out nicely for the ION, even though it's a much heavier vehicle than the current S. Early MPG estimates on the ION are disappointing, though they're not EPA yet, so one doesn't know if Saturn is just low-balling what the engine will actually perform at before EPA rates it or not.

If this car will be needing to merge into 80 MPH traffic on a regular basis, I'd suggest the SL2 for the added punch. Otherwise, for driving around town, go for the SL1. It will yield slightly better gas mileage, and should save you a few $$$. My SL2 is getting about 30-32 MPG mixed highway/city driving (with A/C on).

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Old 08-19-2002, 01:54 PM   #12
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If you want an S, now is the time!

Infact, thousands of people couldnt agree more -- S series sales have increased by nearly 60% last month.

The ION will be a great replacement...BUT...Saturn will no longer offer a 40mpg-ish car.

It would have been nice if they made that an option somewhere and kept the 1.9 or 1.8L for the base model....or maybe even used one of GM's diesel engines...

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Old 08-19-2002, 02:37 PM   #13
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Went and looked at them at lunchtime.
Gotta tell you, it don't look good. $14,600 for an SL1 auto with am/fm/cd, well over $16k if you want to get an SL2 with power options.
How can you build a $15k car without power windows and locks? Kia has them, Hyundai has them, and that's at 12k or below. Even with my discount, the SL does not appear to be competitive.

Now, the SL special edition is a solid car at $9995, compared to a Kia Rio or an Accent, but that's for a base model.

I'm going to shop around and will report back.

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Old 08-19-2002, 02:48 PM   #14
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Neither the Kia or Hundyi has proven to be reliable yet. However, I agree that the Sl1 and 2 is not worth it compared with a Sentra, Civic, Corrolla, etc. Heck, you can buy an LX accord at discount for $17500 with destination....... But for $9995, it was a sweet deal. Also, I was thinking, if your mom is used to a Camry you are looking at buying an L at the very least and probably another Camry/Accord. Have you checked out the special edition L? Loaded and about $17000.... You are better off going that way than a $16,000 SL2 IMO

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Old 08-19-2002, 02:49 PM   #15
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Idea

Quote:
Originally posted by danix
Gotta tell you, it don't look good. $14,600 for an SL1 auto with am/fm/cd, well over $16k if you want to get an SL2 with power options.
Is it an absolute MUST to buy a new car? Have you consider any Pre-owned 1-2 yrs old Saturn SLx? With lower price to pay upfront you'd definitely get more stuff from the Pre-owned car.

Not to mention this Pre-owned car is still under factory warranty, same reliability records and same 5-star crach test performance. If you're talking about parking near a high-crime area, buying Pre-Owned is NEVER been a bad choice too!

Biggest catch: You most likely can Haggle the Pre-owned car price with the Dealer. If this dealer won't budge, go to another dealer who does. You never know.....

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Old 08-19-2002, 02:49 PM   #16
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Also, the Special Edition SL is an SL1 except for lack of rear speakers and different wheel covers..

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Old 08-19-2002, 03:02 PM   #17
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For example, i bought a '99 SL2 in feb 2000 -- almost loaded, for $13k (at bluebook of $16.5k). It only had 7800 miles on it...damn well within factory warranty. The car was in mint condition, and i even was able to score new car financing from the credit union because it was under 24k miles.

There was nothing wrong the car up until i sold it at ~36k.

The Honda dealer claims she wanted a bigger car, and traded in the saturn. Nothing like stealing a practically new Saturn from a Honda lot...

Buying almost new is just about as rewarding as buying new.

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Old 08-20-2002, 12:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by clearanceman
Also, the Special Edition SL is an SL1 except for lack of rear speakers and different wheel covers..
Actually, the SL Silver Blue SE is a Saturn SL... which is different from an SL1 because it comes with different seat fabric, only the grey interior color, and has far less options.
Also... for whoever asked about the L100 Special Editions... you had better get one fast if you're going to.. we don't have any more and won't have any more at our store...and dealers refuse to trade them too.
~D.J.~

...
2012 Mercedes Benz C250 Sport Sedan
2008 smart fortwo Passion Coupe 8/28/2008 - 3/12/2012
2002 VUE FWD4m - Gone but not forgotten. 5/14/2002 - 10/31/2011

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Old 08-20-2002, 12:51 PM   #19
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I'd buy an SL2 , if you're not worried about depreciation, I think it might be worse since the model is out of production.

Also you could get a 2000 SL2, you get hand bars (you know on the roof by the windows, I forgot the name) My friend's SL1 doesn't have them....strange.

Also for anyone that knows, they're aren't going to make 2003 SC2's? I thought the ION C was being realeased in the Spring!

...
Current Vehicles:
2003 Acura 3.2CL
2000 Saturn SL1

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Old 08-20-2002, 03:08 PM   #20
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Default Stranger...

What's even more strange is that my '02 SL2 doesn't have Oh s**t handles....Hmmm.

If I understand what I've read in various places, S-Series production will cease in September, and the Spring Hill facilities will be retooled for ION production, with the '03 sedans arriving at dealers in Oct./Nov. 2002 and the Quad coupes arriving at dealers in Feb./Mar 2003.

Unless anyone else has anything contrary or more updated, that means there will be no '03 SC2.

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