Why is it that I like the Saturn S-series so much? The appeal behind these otherwise mundane vehicles is not obvious to many people. I didn't fully appreciate it myself until I had it for several years and really began to maintain it on my own. Let me try to explain it.
The high fuel efficiency certainly speaks for itself (36 mpg on the highway). That is nothing particularly unique to the Saturn. Lots of other economy vehicles, have it too. But, the Saturn was manufactured in America. The right way! The S-series were all put together at the Spring Hill assembly plant in Tennessee. The engines were cast there, too, along with most of the major components. From what I understand, the plant was an experiment in managing auto manufacturing that worked so well it was eventually finished due to jealousy by the rest of GM.
Simplicity. I think that really summarizes my feelings for the cars. They are rather easy to repair at home, compared to many other modern fuel-injected vehicles. My station wagon was a great car to teach myself to repair. Beyond repair ability, the simplicity is key to the vehicle lasting a long time. Many owners are able to keep their vehicles running in excess of 300,000 miles. I value what I have, and prefer to drive something to its feasible end of life rather than trade it in like a toy.
Finally, though not originally present when the company was founded, a devoted and extremely helpful, not to mention friendly, following has developed for these
cars on SaturnFans. Through this website I took the plunge into home auto repair. This is
a rather unique Internet community, given the overall helpfulness and lack of animosity. I suspect the general ease of repairs
combined with the S-series ubiquity (millions were sold) made this possible.
These reasons are largely why I'm not driving an import economy vehicle yet.
Major repairs I've seen to myself: