Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #100

Well, technically we're out of the numerically-themed cars, since we're into triple digits and therefore not quite relatable to car years. I do want to mention one, though, that was introduced in 2000:

2000 Saturn LS. Way back, BC (Before Children), the Mrs. had a bright red convertible. She bought it new/used (it was less than a year old and had like 7 or 8,000 miles on the clock when she got it) in 1994, and by late 1999 we were starting to think about starting a family. The convertible was starting to show its age (120K on a Mopar 6-cylinder gets questionable), and we really wanted to trade it in *before* she got pregnant.

We did our homework (which, in those dark dark days before broadband internet was a chore, let me tell you, kiddies...) and narrowed the field down to the LS and the Honda Accord. They were comparably equipped and priced, and we were really having a hard time deciding which vehicle was going to get the nod. Numerous friends of ours owned - and loved - Saturn "S" series cars, including a friend who was a diehard Honda guy who had recently switched to a SW2 wagon.

What sealed the deal for us on the Accord, though, was a small detail. The dealership where we bought the Accord offered the extended 6 year, 100,000 mile warranty with no deductible for a whopping $399. Four hundred smackers to extend the factory bumper-to-bumper warranty another 3 years and 64,000 miles? Sold! Before we pulled the trigger, we asked what it would cost to get the same warranty from Saturn.

$2,500. And there was still a $100 deductible. We went with the Accord and never looked back. The LS series would prove to be plagued with both mechanical defects and safety concerns, and the series was ignominiously killed off only 5 years after introduction. Accord? Still going strong. In fact, before we decided we wanted an SUV, the Accord was in the running for the latest car buying experience.

Even if Honda did sell us an unnecessary warranty... 

That is all.


Anonymous said...

I bought a Saturn for work cars when I was a road warrior. Instead of trading them every 2 years like the Fords with 100K miles, I ran them 230K and replace one water pump.

My cuz who worked in the plant said after awhile the GM/UAW can't we all get along mantra fell apart in Spring Hill.

I still see plenty of them around.


Kermit said...

Plenty of S series. The SL/SC/SW series, 1991-2002, are still around, beat to hell and back, and still going. You can get them for dirt cheap, mainly because they're all, down to the last one, extremely high mileage with a lot of damage, but they still run.

The L series, and after? Not so much. Those were rebadged Euro-junk (at least the Ion and other "named" cars were; I'm not quite as sure about the L series, but the Ion was, IIRC, a Vauxhall with a face-lift).

To give you an idea of how unkillable those S series cars are and were, my parents have had 4 of them. They "sold" (gave away) their first two to needy families who couldn't afford car payments but needed to get to work. Those two cars combined had almost 450,000 miles between them, and all that my folks ever replaced was alternators, and the usual tires, plugs, etc. The first car, my father even forgot to change the oil until it got close to 100k on the odometer! When he finally changed the plugs at something past 100k, as the car was getting a little "hard to start," he found the contact points burned almost completely away, yet the car would still start and run (monster ignition system). When it left their ownership, it was well past 220k, on the original clutch, and an oil leak finally starting from running the oil into half-solid sludge before its first oil change.
The second S series, I ran into a tree while learning to drive. It also got hit broadside by a Chevy Astro backing out of the neighbor's driveway. We performed zero repairs in either incident, as none were needed.
The third was my "college car," and I learned to drive off-road and went mudding with it.
Dad's still driving that fourth Saturn, although the front clip's had to be rebuilt twice now. He's not quite as good a driver anymore as he used to be, but the car's still going.

If you'd gotten an S series, you probably would have loved it. Cheap, reliable, and for the cost, reasonably durable, with little potential for rusting out due to the polymer body panels. An L or Ion, and you'd forever hate Saturn to the tenth generation. The difference was that great.

Old NFO said...

They were an interesting 'experiment'... And the original ones ARE still hanging around!