Which cars are similar to Saturns?
November 13, 2010 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Cars similar to Saturns?

I own a 2001 Saturn SL and love it. However, pending a visit to my mechanic on Monday, it may need some pretty extensive transmission work. I'm trying to prepare myself for the idea that it may be better to buy a new car rather than sink a lot of money into this one. Since it's been ten years since I've been car shopping, I have no idea where to start! If I can't find a used Saturn that I like, what are some other cars that are similar to the Saturn SL in appearance, general price, and performance?
posted by bookmammal to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Honda Civic?
posted by killdevil at 3:29 PM on November 13, 2010

I had a 1997 Saturn SL1 and I loved it too! Now I have a 2009 Chevy Cobalt (previous 2006 Cobalt totalled in an accident, saved my life) and the shape is kind of similar. I don't know how much my dad payed for the Saturn in 1996 (I was 16 and it was leased) and how that would translate to today's dollars. But I'm delighted with my Cobalt and it's the most Saturn-like car I've had since. I believe it's around $18,000-20,000 depending on how you load it up, but I got mine for 14-something using cash for clunkers plus an additional $2000 rebate Chevy was offering at the time.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:31 PM on November 13, 2010

Here's a pretty good list of similar cars.
posted by killdevil at 3:32 PM on November 13, 2010

Compact sedans under $15k. A lot of them look similar to me; I can't speak to performance.
posted by amro at 3:34 PM on November 13, 2010

My mother was a huge Saturn fan, and, out of all the cars she's recently tried, absolutely loves the Ford Focus. Bonus: It's actually on the list of cars.com's similar models to the Saturn SL.
posted by General Malaise at 4:06 PM on November 13, 2010

I have a 2001 Saturn L-series wagon, which is holding its own so far. My neighbor has a Ford Fiesta wagon, which seems similar.

I am pretty bitter, and do not know if I could bring myself to buy another GM car, no matter how good they my turn out to be.
posted by Danf at 4:18 PM on November 13, 2010

I'm going to be that awkward person who admits that, prior to reading this entire post, they thought you were asking about cars similar in size to the planet Saturn and as such was coming to tell you to get a Hummer.

Clearly that was not the case, and so, I humbly submit an alternative: a Toyota Carolla. 38 mpg, incredible longevity, beautiful interior, etc, etc. I have a few friends that have switched from Saturns to the Carolla and they really like them (as much as I love mine).
posted by patronuscharms at 4:49 PM on November 13, 2010

Hyundai. Great warranties on cars that don't break in the first place. They drive better than anything American I've driven (somewhere between Saturn and Germany) and they don't break.

The Accent and Elantra start at under $15k.
posted by Galen at 5:56 PM on November 13, 2010

I wasn't going to comment in this thread because I've never owned a Saturn, but I've gotta back up the Toyota Corolla comment. I bought one new in '99. It served me well up until about 5 months ago when I gave it to my dad with 150K+ miles on it. No major problems to speak of, and I tested the MPG and continually got 28-30 MPG (this is a combo of driving NYC city streets and NY metro highways). I'd imagine the newer models are even better with the MPGs.

It also held up like a champ through two fairly impressive accidents (one: rear ended at a red light, other driver didn't even slow down; two: hit and run while parked on the street).

Not sure what the current prices are for used, but worth a look.

My dad now has it (I decided that it wasn't worth insurance when I can walk/mass transit to everything) and is very happy with it. He uses it to drive back and forth to work back home. Yeah, it has a few dings from being parked on the street in NYC for 5 years, but it really is a great car.
posted by AlisonM at 6:16 PM on November 13, 2010

Honda Fit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:19 PM on November 13, 2010

I think the Focus is a good choice, because I used to have a Saturn and I hated it. Then I test drove a Focus and I hated it in a very similar way. Sorta felt like a toy car, I don't know how else to put it. And I'm not a car snob -- if you asked for a recommendation I liked, I'd say an Accord or Civic.
posted by zvs at 7:20 PM on November 13, 2010

I had a Corolla for years and loved it. I now have an Elantra and love it too. Both similar in size to a Saturn & very economical
posted by pointystick at 7:23 PM on November 13, 2010

Honda: Fit, Civic
Ford: Fiesta, Focus
Mazda: Mazda 2, Mazda 3
Hyundai: Accent/Elantra/Sonata

All of them are reliable and reasonably fun to drive. Toyotas are worth a look, but not my cup of tea. The Mazda3 hatchback/wagon is my go-to recommendation when people ask me what car they should buy these days. Not much to dislike about them, really.
posted by pjaust at 7:24 PM on November 13, 2010

I second the Hyundai Accent.

I shared a 1992 Saturn SL with my sister for 6 years. We recently traded it in for a 2002 Hyundai Accent. As someone who loved a Saturn, I think I like my Accent just a little bit more.

While I know I am comparing cars that are ten years apart, in comparison to the `92 SL the Accent is way more fun to drive. tHE steering is smoother and sensitive, it feels more agile and its smaller build makes it easier for a lazy parker like myself to maneuver it around the poorly-designed parking lots in strip malls in my suburban town.
posted by GEB's fun world at 6:32 AM on November 14, 2010

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