See Also: 1996 Saturn SL1 | 1996 Saturn SL2

1996 Saturn SL

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1996 Saturn SL

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Available in 1 styles:  SL 4dr Sedan shown
Asking Price Range
$205–$5,281
Estimated MPG

29 city / 40 hwy

Average Ratings

Overall

4.0 out of 5

Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

12 out of 14 people recommended this car.


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Consumer Reviews

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    1-10 of 14 reviews

wonderful!

by Tasha from | August 12, 2014

when mine dies, I will be buying another saturn sl series! i bought mine from a friend and have had no complaints. it has about 300,000 miles on it and still runs like a champ. AWSOME gas mileage!!!!

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Uses car for N/A
Does recommend this car


Very Reliable Commuter Car

by FirstCav46 from Auburn, AL | April 1, 2014

I got the 1996 SL model in 2004 when it had only 36,000 miles on it. I had few problems with it, commuting 100 miles roundtrip since then until it hit 211,000 miles and the transmission went out. My mechanic told me that it wasn't worth putting a new or used transmission in it at that point. Otherwise, the car was still working OK; AC blowing cold air, cruise control working, etc. But the interior was coming apart. It's being junked, and not for much money since the car was mostly made of plastic/fiberglass.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


Mediocre car

by carlover from | September 25, 2012

I had to replace the transmission 2 years ago.It drove well ever since.Not bad,but not a good choice.I had to get the transmission 2 years ago and its been driving fine.I just need something larger with my 4 kids.Good for new drivers.It was ok.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


Great car fot the money

by shopper from anaheim | September 16, 2012

We bought this car 2 yrs old for 7000.00 w 15,000 miles, for the money it was a great deal. We racked up 200,000 miles on it with these problems replacing,steering cable,radiator,alternator,broken shift lever, surpentine pully and 2 batteries, and a 900.00 clutch. Overall the car is a winner getting great mileage. No luxury here it's commuter car.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


Still going strong

by Fully satisfied with my purchase from Oceanside, CA | March 22, 2012

I have a 96 Saturn SL1 and I've only replaced the Alternator (early on) and the original starter last year. 14 years on the OEM starter. I've barely laid a finger on it except for oil, batteries, wipers and tires. I've had it outside in the Florida humidity and hurricanes, In Arizona in that heat, over mountains to Lake Tahoe and all along I-10. Even a coast to coast trip from Florida to CA in 4 days. It is easily the best car I have owned to date. I want to get a new car, but just won't until this thing stops running like a swiss watch. Worst decision GM ever made was dumping the Saturn brand. I will keep this vehicle as long as I can, but GM will never see another dime of my money. I've lived in 4 states with this car, and I have never been ripped off at the Saturn service department the way they used to at Ford. I am very sorry Saturn is not more.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


nice little car

by Tim from Iowa | July 26, 2011

i had the 1996 sl1 with a 5 speeed. i got an avg of 34-36mpg and thats running 70mph to work everyday. really wish i didnt sell it now with the gas prices. very little leg room in the rear. didnt have a good audio system. road noise was kinda loud i think going down the road. but all in all its a good little car to get around in. didnt have much power at all. but its an eco car. great for long cruzes. comfortable reliable and easy to maintain. i thought it was a great car. just keep an eye on oil cuz saturns are known to burn oil when they have high miles.

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Does recommend this car


The jury is still out...

by RSpi from Arkansas | July 19, 2011

Got the car towed home and started servicing it. The fuel line came loose from the filter and I lost a full tank of gas. That was tough being that gas is $3.45 per gallon. Glad it's only a 12.8 gallon tank. The car seemed to be running a little cold so I replaced the thermostat, still runs cold 160 vs 190. Besides the maintenance, the car sits a little low and there is no seat adjustment to raise it a little. Car drives straight and with the DOHC motor, has a little pep up to about 60 mph. I think it's getting about 25 mpg around town and 28 on the highway. Kinda sad for such a small motor. Three of the 4 windows make that 4 of the 4 power windows do NOT work properly. Only 2 go down, the other two just twitch. The power door locks don't work properly. When I charged the battery and hooked it up, unlocked the door, 3 of the 4 doors were chattering and would not stop for a while. They say Volvo's have electrical problems, wow!!! The roof liner is gone, not to uncommon for a '96. And one of the valve cover bolts will not catch and tighten. After I got the maintenance taken care of I decided to take the car for a spin. Well, about 1/2 mile from the house I had to turn on the defrost to clear the windshield and the controls are so low that I was almost totally off the road into a ditch by the time I got them set right. Could not avoid going totally off the road because by the time I lifted my head up my last 2 wheels were leaving the road. I was able to get the car back on the road before I hit the guard rail that was approaching, spun out and stalled. So chalk one up for poor placement of the ventalation controls. The stereo sound weak, however it does work. I'm wondering if someone barrowed the amp??? THE GOOD: The car feels pretty good on the highway, not to noisy and pulls straight. Has no passing gutts but I dont' think a 70+ year old lady will need much of that. The rear seats fold down giving good access to the trunk for oversized things. Seems easy to service and the parts are cheap. Good price for what I got. THE POOR: Other than listed above... A couple of the doors stick, the turn signal lane change bump is hard to find, seat belts don't click/snap in good, and the transmission has a hesitation when going from 2nd to third. To be fair, I have driven Volvo's for 25 years so a car 1/2 it's price is really no match. My sister had one (Saturn) which she absolutely loved (I think it was her 1st car). Would be ok for a 2nd car or for an emergency vehicle, but don't get one for someone that is getting out of high school.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does not recommend this car


Loved my Saturn!

by MLC from Indianapolis, IN | January 27, 2010

I got a '96 SL2 in 1999 when it had a little under 45k miles on it. It has been a very dependable car, relatively cheap to maintain, great gas mileage, and fun to drive. It's been having more problems lately (e.g. burning/leaking oil) so I cannot afford to maintain it any longer, but it's up to 195,000 miles, and I've gotten more than my money's worth for it. I'm sad to see it go and hope my next car is as good as this one has been!

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does recommend this car


Love My Saturn

by Driving my Saturn from Evansville, IN | January 26, 2010

Bought a new SL1 back in 96 and it hasn't let me down. When I take it to the mountains ( I live in the flat Midwest) it balks, but for routine purposes it is wonderful. Barely costs me a thing to keep it running and has never let me down.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does recommend this car


My mom's Saturn now mine

by have one from scottsdale | October 1, 2009

29 mpg 1.2 gallons a day to drive into Phoenix. Never any major problems. Not alot of power. Need to turn air off for full power when getting on a freeway.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car



    1-10 of 14 reviews

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