I liked the "Saturn" way at the time, and thought that the quality was strong for this car. Some other models of similar size were out of the question. I wouldn't buy Japanese nor German. I'd owned a Dodge 600 before. I wasn't going to buy a Chrysler product, and Ford had nothing that interested me.
Reliability & durability
Engine and transmission have been highly reliable. Over 182,000 miles with only regular maintenance and one warranty to replace an ignition module. Tires have always worn well.
Safety & braking
Braking is very good. (Front disc, rear drum). I wish that it had rear disc also, but wasn't on this model. Doors are reinforced with steel tubes beneath the outer skin for side impact collision resistance. Strong body cage.
Respectable: 22-24 MPG around town; 25-28 MPG mixed; 30-33 MPG hwy and long distance.
Steering is very responsive, positive, and easy at the same time. Cornering is very tight. The car stays very level on turns.
Engine power is adequate and if you need to push it, it will respond. It idles and runs very smoothly thanks to the balance shaft in the engine. Transmission shifting is accurate.
Materials & workmanship
Some weak elements in interior appointments. The center console accessory box lid broke twice. The plastic door handles are squeaky when gripped.
The ride is a bit too stiff. Tends to transmit all of the flaws in the road to the passenger compartment.
I enjoy driving the car, in spite of its' weaknesses, and it's been very dependable.
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