Are Saturns Good Cars?

Saturns are good cars that have great reliability and high safety ratings, as well as a good resale value.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Christelle Agustin
background
The Saturn brand was dissolved in 2010, but Saturn owners still drive their cars around and praise the cars’ reliability. Most Saturns have an average rating of over 80/100 on Edmunds.com.
The Saturn brand was dissolved in 2010 and may not come to mind when envisioning the best cars on the market. The brand was once known for its fuel-efficient vehicles that were designed to compete with the Japanese competition—but are Saturns good cars?
Let’s take a look at the Saturn brand with the
car insurance
comparison super app
Jerry
, including its strengths and weaknesses. We’ll also look at the brand’s last few manufactured models, discuss their reliability, safety, and affordability, and even talk about a quick way to save on your
Saturn car insurance costs
.

Are Saturns good cars? 

Saturn was a future-facing brand
created by General Motors
in 1985. The initial goal was for the brand to compete with Japanese imports that were flooding the US compact car market. Although the Saturns were popular with buyers, the brand lost its identity when the product offerings expanded. Saturn’s drain on GM’s resources led to its eventual shut down when the market lost interest in the once unique cars.
Saturn was known for reliable vehicles that handled a lot of driving—in fact, you can still see Saturn vehicles on the roads nowadays. The most unique feature of the vehicles was the Z-body platform with a dedicated 1.9 L Saturn I4 engine and dent-resistant polymer exterior panels. It’s a shame that the brand was pitted against GM’s own
Chevrolet
and
Buick
and ultimately got weeded out of the family.
Here are the last five Saturn models that came to the market in 2009/2010 before the brand was discontinued:
Model
Starting price
Years
Vehicle type
Edmunds.com rating
Car and Driver rating
$3,538
2008 to 2009
Compact
N/A
N/A
$4,576
2007 to 2009
Midsize
83/100
5/10
$5,580
2007 to 2010
Midsize SUV
83/100
7/10
$7,278
2007 to 2009
Sports car
86/100
7/10
$5,447
2002 to 2010
Compact SUV
82/100
6/10
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Did you know? Saturn originally operated as a quasi-independent brand from GM. It was supposed to be a “revolutionary new” small car project that eventually lost its vision.

Are Saturns reliable?

To determine if a vehicle is reliable, you’ll need to look at how often a car breaks down and how affordable and easy the repairs are. Having generous warranties, low repair costs, and infrequent recalls is a good sign that a brand is reliable. 
Although the Saturn lineup didn’t receive any J.D. Power awards, such as the quality award, the brand only has a low number of recalls in the years that it was in business. Saturn owners have also expressed their satisfaction with the vehicles which is a good indicator that they didn’t have issues with their cars.
MORE: The 5 characteristics of a reliable car insurance company

Are Saturns safe?

Saturns are safe vehicles. All the tested vehicles were rated five stars by the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
, aside from the Astra. On the other hand, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Saturn Aura and Vue a good rating. The Outlook was even rated the top safety pick in 2009.
The Saturn fleet didn’t come with astounding safety features but the following are included:
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Stability control
  • Front, side, and overhead airbags
  • Seatbelt pretensioners
Here’s a complete rundown of Saturn’s safety ratings and recalls for the latest models that were tested: 
Model
NHTSA rating
Recalls
IIHS rating
2009 Saturn Astra
N/A
0
N/A
2009 Saturn Aura
5 stars
4
Good
2009 Saturn Outlook
5 stars
6
Top safety pick
2009 Saturn Sky
5 stars
2
N/A
2009 Saturn Vue
5 stars
1
Good
MORE: How to find vehicle safety ratings

Are Saturns expensive to maintain?

Saturn vehicles are relatively affordable to maintain with an average annual repair cost of $553, according to RepairPal. However, if you want to keep the maintenance costs low, stay on top of the
standard maintenance schedule
outlined in the owner’s manual. Maintaining a regular maintenance schedule also means your Saturn will be kept in peak condition and issues can be addressed as soon as possible.
The Saturn vehicle that received the most complaints is the Saturn Vue, with 288 complaints on CarComplaints.com. The 2003 and 2005 models were laden with transmission problems. Major complaints included transmission failure and improper shifting, which led to repair costs of $2,000-$3,000.

Are Saturns good on gas?

According to the data from the
2010 Fuel Economy Guide
, the gas-powered vehicles of this model year have a combined fuel economy ranging from 19 to 26 mpg.
Saturn also produced a hybrid
—the Vue—that delivered improved fuel efficiency.
Here are the 2010 fuel economy ratings for all five Saturn models from the EPA: 
Model
City
Highway
Combined
Saturn Astra (2009)
19-24 mpg
30-32 mpg
27 mpg
Saturn Aura
15-22 mpg
23-33 mpg
18-26 mpg
Saturn Outlook
16-17 mpg
23-24 mpg
19 mpg
Saturn Sky
19 mpg
24-29 mpg
21-23 mpg
Saturn Vue
17-19 mpg
24-26 mpg
22 mpg
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Although the overall fuel economy of Saturns isn’t spectacular, you can improve the fuel economy by choosing the manual transmission option if it is offered. However, the improvement will highly depend on the driver’s skill. The other option is to opt for the hybrid offerings.
MORE: How to choose an eco-friendly car

Are Saturns fun to drive?

Most of the Saturn lineup provides an average driving experience. However, there is one hero vehicle that is exceptionally fun to drive: the Saturn Sky.
The Saturn Sky isn’t the fastest sports car on the market, but its incredible handling makes it fun to drive, especially when taking sharp corners. The suspensions are also surprisingly well-tuned to cushion bumpy roads.
This Saturn sports car is also much loved for its first-generation Dodge Viper-inspired look but in a cute, sporty, and small package. While this car won’t make it as a family car, it’s a great secondary car to take out for a weekend spin. 
At a price of under $10,000 on the used car market, this perky car is a great car to add to your roster. However, if you’re planning to buy one, you might want to do it soon since the value of Saturns has unexpectedly climbed up again in recent years.
MORE: Should I buy a sports car? 

What’s the best Saturn?

We can’t tell you which Saturn is the best. After all, it all comes down to personal preference. You’ll also need to factor in your budget, driving style, and what you plan to use the car for. To get you started, here are a few models in the lineup that stand out as some of Saturn’s best. 
  • Saturn Sky: Those who are looking for a small and fun car to drive will not be disappointed by the Saturn Sky. Take on tight corners like a champ while enjoying the wind through your hair with the top down. This car also makes a perfect commuter to make your morning drives much more bearable.
  • Saturn Outlook: If you want a versatile vehicle, the Saturn Outlook is fit for the job. Not only does this midsize SUV provide plenty of space, but it was also the top safety pick from the IIHS. The Outlook is perfect for small families.
  • Saturn Vue Hybrid: Those looking for a practical car with better fuel efficiency can go for the Saturn Vue Hybrid. This hybrid model results in a 6-mpg gain in EPA combined fuel economy

How to find affordable Saturn insurance

Saturns are very affordable to insure, with an average car insurance rate of $1,371. However, your rates will depend on various factors such as your car’s model, model year, driving record, demographics, and location.
If you want to save even more on car insurance, there's a simple solution. Download
Jerry
—the
trustworthy insurance shopping super app
—and fill in your Saturn’s details to get the best quotes from over 55 top providers. All you have to do is pick the policy you want and Jerry will handle the rest—including the tedious paperwork! If you have any questions, you can also send our expert team a message in the app.
On average, users save more than $800 a year on car insurance!
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FAQs

Saturn models were created to compete with Japanese imports when it was first founded, meaning that the equivalent vehicles (e.g. Saturn Aura vs.
Toyota Camry
) would be comparable.
The perks of owning a Saturn include affordable maintenance and repairs. Keep up with your maintenance schedule and your Saturn will continue to drive for a long time.
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