Which Saturn SL for the best MPG's - Fuelly Forums

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Old 06-30-2010, 08:53 AM   #1
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Which Saturn SL for the best MPG's

I am new to the forum. I currently have a 1995 s-10 ext cab 4x4 with 267,000 miles. It runs great and doesn't leak anything but rust, but due to my wife and I having a second child recently I need to buy something that can handle 2 car seats. I have narrowed it down to a saturn sl. Mostly because I live in Wisconsin and don't ever wash my cars. What SL model and engine is the most fuel efficient? I am already going with a manual trans. By the way my daily commute is 20 miles one way.
Thanks for all your help.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:20 AM   #2
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What you meant to say was, "Which Saturn S Series for best MPG's" because the SL is actually one of the models.

It goes like this for the sedans:

SL - SOHC engine, entry level, no options (will have crank windows, no A/C, etc.)
SL1 - SOHC engine, most all options available
SL2 - DOHC engine, all options available

With babies involved, I'd look for an SL1 with A/C.

The SOHC engine when paired with a 5sp is capable of great MPG. Heck, the SOHC with an auto is capable of a lot more than the EPA rates it at.

If your wife can't drive stick, I wouldn't have any regrets getting an SL1 auto, it'll still get 35+ mixed and probably 40mpg highway. This is of course, if you drive it like it was intended to be driven... slow and steady.

I own both a DOHC and a SOHC S-series and honestly the SOHC is rated at 24 hp less (yes, that means 100hp total) but they both perform about the same... slow and gutless. Only difference you'll notice between the DOHC and SOHC is when pushing the engines above 4,500 rpm, if you're saving gas that should never happen anyway, so a SOHC will be fine.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:51 AM   #3
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Thanks. So far I have found a 2002 SL1 with the SOHC, w/cruise(not sure i will use it), manual and ac. With 110,000 miles for $2700.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:01 AM   #4
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Deals are out there, you'll find one. I'd say for what you described, you should be able to talk them down to $2200-2400 and that would be a great deal.
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'09 Saturn Aura 2.4L
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'96 Chevy C1500 (5.0L 5sp)
'08 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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nice little sl1 sohc is the way to go. try to get something above a 95 if possible. you should see around 40+mpg driven nicely stock. 45+mpg if you drive with care.
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:39 PM   #6
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Ended up going with a 98 SL2 5 speed. I'll pick it up on Monday. I'm going to have my mechanic give it the one over and tune it up before I start driving it.

Is there anything that I should specifically looked at or replaced?
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drahthaar View Post
Ended up going with a 98 SL2 5 speed. I'll pick it up on Monday. I'm going to have my mechanic give it the one over and tune it up before I start driving it.

Is there anything that I should specifically looked at or replaced?
make sure he adjusts the valve lash, everything else everyone remembers but this one..
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:10 AM   #8
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Any update on the car? How do you like it? what kind of MPGs?
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:12 AM   #9
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Still on my first tank of gas. I only drive about 40 miles a day and filled up on 7/20, so it will be next week before I have an update. Seems to be doing well so far. It was a nice surprise to fill the tank up for $25 instead of $50 on the truck. Once I get a few tanks under my belt and have a decent idea of my mpg then I will look at mods to improve it.
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Old 07-22-2010, 09:33 AM   #10
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I read your garage entry description about hoping for mid 40's w/o extreme hypermiling... unless your commute is pure highway I wouldn't count on that... aim for it but don't count on it.

Step 1 - HAI... ASAP! I think I have a build thread on here, if not, look over my garage entry pics for the general idea.

Step 2 - go through the car with a fine tooth comb. Do all the preventive maintenance you can. Plugs, wires, fuel filter, air filter, brake check (dragging), tire psi check (and raise it while you're at it), change the trans fluid. Buy an engine coolant temp sensor or ECTS, a brass tipped one. You'll need it eventually. Get yourself a spare crank position sensor from a junkyard and be aware of how to replace it (very easy... but its in a tricky spot) because they tend to fail w/ no signs of potential wear out and it'll leave you stranded.

Step 3 - do some searching for "lovemysan" and check out his aero mods on his Saturn. Inspiring.
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