Anyone drive a Saturn? Car lease advice...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Tony Whalen, May 6, 2003.

  1. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Hi folks!

    Okay... I have a couple of questions.

    My wife and I have been leasing a Pontiac Grand Am, and the lease is done in August. We had been planning to get a Pontiac Vibe. However, we aren't 100% happy with the way our long-time dealer has treated us, and frankly the Vibe, equipped the way we want, is just a tad too much dough. (The dealer claims that the lease costs are non-negotiable, due to the populatity of the Vibe. Anytime anyone says "non-negotiable" that sends up a red flag to me.)

    So, we went out looking last night, and decided to break out of our dedication to GM in general, and Pontiac in particular. We're looking for a small SUV, or a wagon-ish style vehicle like the Vibe. We want something we can carry cargo in. [​IMG]

    We stopped at a nearby Saturn dealer, and were rather taken with the Vue. Nice vehicle with reasonable cost and a nice selection of extras.

    So, does anyone here drive a Saturn? Tell me about your experience. Even if it's not the Vue, I'd just like to hear about Saturn in general, not having dealt with them before.

    Oh, and on a different note, lots of web sites I have visited say that you shouldn't lease a vehicle for longer than 36 months. Both this Saturn dealer AND our Pontiac dealer have "standard" 48 month leases, although 36 months are available. Any thoughts?

    Thanks for any advice you can offer! [​IMG]
     
  2. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    I have no experience with the Vue other than seeing them at the dealership, so I don't know how well made they are, but I've had a '98 SL2 for 5+ years (57,000 miles so far) and it's been a great car. The dealerships are nice too, with the no haggle policy and at least the ones I've been to have good service too (IMHO this is important).

    I would say going from GM to Saturn (which, ironically is owned by GM) would be a step up in terms of quality, in both dealership and car.

    KJP
     
  3. Michael Pineo

    Michael Pineo Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a 97 SC2 with almost 100,000 miles on it. I have never had a problem with it. I have only had regular maintenance and about $200 worth of brake work done, that's it.

    My wife and I are also considering the Vue. She fell in love with it coming out of Test Track at Epcot. The only downside I can see is the no haggle policy. You really don't have any bargaining room, so be prepared to pay the sticker price. Of course, I hate haggling so that is a selling point to me, but I know a lot of people look upon the "no-haggle" thing as a negative, so I thought it worth mentioning.

    MikeP
     
  4. Michael Fennessy

    Michael Fennessy Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael Fennessy
    I love my 99 Saturn SL2 with 75,000 miles on it. The only problems I have had, I have caused.

    Mike
     
  5. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Saturn's are made by GM, but they do seem to fare pretty well in terms of reliability. The real downside is their "no haggle" pricing structure. Saturns have a 13% profit margin which is twice the average prifit on a similar car with a negotiable price. If you're fair negotiator and given the state of the economy, you could de even better at a traditional dealer.

    I highly recommend reading "What Car Dealers Don't Want You To Know" by Mark Eskeldson before buying a car. I was a new Ford salesman back in the '80's and I can verify the information in this book as being brutally accurate, and you can save thousands armed with the knowledge. There is lots of good info on the "real cost" of leasing automobiles in there as well.

    Lastly, you don't have to be a supernegotiator to get a really good deal on a car. The book does contain excellent tips on bargaining, but it also shows how you can buy through "CarBargains", car buying services, membership clubs, etc. and get a smoking deal without much hassle.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    are you set on leasing only? i've always heard that leasing is really best for only certain situations. anyway, that's a different thread.

    also, check out www.edmunds.com - great website for new car buyers.

    my friend had a saturn. one day, when she wasn't around, we kicked the door relatively hard - darned if the thing didn't pop right back out! [​IMG] i was duly impressed.
     
  7. Mike Hutman

    Mike Hutman Supporting Actor

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    I'm on my third Saturn now. I love them. I just leased the Saturn Ion. I love this car. I never really had to deal with anyone else, so I can't tell you any thing but they are real easy to deal with.
    I lease my cars and never had a real problem with turning them in or anything. My lease is for four years with bumper to bumper warranty. That includes the tires for three years. All in all I don't think I could see myself in another car.

    I have a friend that just bought a Vue, Said she loves it. But she has only had it a week or two.
     
  8. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Thanks for the tips gents. Keep 'em comin! [​IMG]

    Walt, I'll go look for that book t'night! Thank you. I'm uncertain about the "no-haggle" policy. Part of me likes it, part doesn't. I like the price of the Vue with the features it has... but I'm wondering if I can do better. (With some options, I can't. The Vue has available heated-leather seating [​IMG] ...one of a couple options that aren't usually available at this price-point.)

    I think I'll go look at the Ford Escape and Honda CRV tonight... just for comparison. See what kind of deal I can get for a similarily-equipped vehicle. [​IMG]

    Ted, I generally prefer leasing for a few reasons... but we needn't get into that here. [​IMG] I'm reading some stuff at edmunds.com right now.. thanks for the suggestion. [​IMG]

    I *DO* like the idea of Saturn's much-vaunted polymer side-panels... sick of parking-lot dings.

    Sure sounds like you guys who have Saturns are enjoying them though!!!

    Keep the input coming. [​IMG]
     
  9. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    I am on my second Saturn. My first was a SL1 Had it for five years. Had no problems. Excellent service. Then it was totaled. I walked away with only a badly bruised shin. Made a believer out of me.

    I decided to stick with Saturn and got an LS 200 (the midsize model). Not as happy with this car. it's not so much the car, it's the lousy experience i had with the dealership. I had to get corporate Saturn involved to get the car fixed. Not a happy camper. I was going to by a Vue next year, but thanks to the crappy service I received, I think I'm going with a Honda Accord.

    Most people have a really good experience with Saturn, but let it be know, they can be real ***holes if they want to. I still might change my mind and go with the Vue. Who knows...
     
  10. Ron Etaylor

    Ron Etaylor Second Unit

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    My wife and I both have 2000 SL-1's. They've been very reliable cars, and the dealership people are nice. I know we got the cheapest thing they have, and I would say build quality reflects that. Not that I think it's unsafe, but the comfort is not that great, and there are some minor interior issues that seem like they are a symptom of a cheaply made auto.
     
  11. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    I had a 97 SC and a 2000 SC2 (which I currently have). I'll never buy another one though. They are ok cars but don't have much power to them. The car currently serves its purpose but I'm bored with it. You get what you pay for.

    My next car is probably going to be a BWM, so that'll be a pretty big leap up. It probably won't happen for a year or more anyways even though I want one now.
     
  12. Bill Harada

    Bill Harada Stunt Coordinator

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    Bought a new SL-2 in '98. Drove it for 3.5 years and never had a problem with the car or dealer. But as Mike mentioned above, Saturns aren't known for their power/performance. Iended up trading it in last year for a Subaru WRX (my wife call it my mid-life crisis car [​IMG] ).

    As far as leasing goes, it's okay if you like to get new cars every few years, but you also will be making perpetual payments. And often times you don't get any kind of deal unless you trade the leased vehicle in for another of the same make.
     
  13. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    I bought a new SL2 in September of last year, and have had no problems with it (going on 10,000 miles).

    One of the biggest factors for me was service. I was down to buying either a new Civic or a new Saturn. While I know that the Civic has the edge as far as quality and reliability (though the SL2 IS a good car!), what helped decide me was the outstanding service at Saturn. The Honda dealership could in no way compete with both the atmosphere and quality of service that Saturn offers.
     
  14. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    I've been driving a Vue since February and have been very happy with it. It handles well, rides nice (feels more like a car than a truck or minivan), and has plenty of power. Just be sure to go all out and get the V6 AWD as the extra horsepower really is a must and you'll need that AWD come winter considering your location.

    As for the much-vaunted Saturn service I haven't needed it and probably won't as I have to buy or lease a new car every two years so there isn't much cause for maintenance beyond changing the oil. But I did like the professional way the dealership handled the purchase and I'll certainly consider another Saturn the next time around.
     
  15. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Again.. thanks for all the input gang! [​IMG] It's appreciated.

    As with all car makes, I see a few people making positive and negative comments. [​IMG]

    Now the real kicker is that my wife and I went out to do some comparison shopping last night, checking out other vehicles in the same class as the Vue.

    We looked at the Ford Escape, which is nice, but the sales guy was a twit, and the dealership didn't impress me at all.

    We also looked at the Toyota RAV4, which we both like, and the sales guy was great, as was the dealership. (We've both owned Toyotas in the past... and have always viewed them as reliable vehicles.)

    So now... we're torn. RAV4 or Vue. We like them both for several diffent reasons. Each one has it's strength and weaknesses. Both the ones we are looking at are 4-cyl manual tranny... but the RAV is actually 4-wheel drive, wheras the Vue is Front. (Not really interested in the AWD)

    We have to test drive them both. Right now, we're leaning towards the RAV4. [​IMG]

    Any further input folks? [​IMG]
     
  16. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    take the rav4!

    i've never had good luck with american cars. they always seem to require "little fixes' all the time. small things start falling apart and before you know it, you're in deep poop.

    japanese cars just seem more "solid" to me.

    of course, this is just my very subjective view....
     
  17. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    First let me start by saying that I'm not much of a car person. Instead of looking at a car as a status symbol or letting a car define who I am, I consider a car nothing more then necessary tool.

    That being said I have had my current Saturn since 92. It's been operated reliably with few repair issues. I currently have 145K miles on it and it's still running, as it should. I probably plan on running it until it can run no more.

    Would I buy another? Sure I take a look at the new models when the time comes.
     
  18. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Well Ted, my experience with Toyota's is a positive one...

    I owned a 1980 Tercel... was my first car. 3-speed manual with an AM radio. [​IMG] I drove that sucker from 86 to 88 and didn't take care of it at all. Still ran just great.

    I traded it in in 88 for a brand new off-the-lot 88 Tercel Coupe. THAT car I drove for 10 years. Again, didn't take care of it worth a damn. Probably changed the oil a dozen times, maybe. REALLY drove that guy into the ground. The only major thing I ever had to do was get the clutch replaced. Other than that, the car was reliable as hell. I sold it a few years back, and I know it's still running well, as I know the guy I sold it to.

    I've been driving a Pontiac Firebird for the past 4 years. I'm a huge Firebird fan, and this was the first one I ever bought. It's an older model (88) and when I bought it, I had it inspected by a mechanic I trust. It was in good shape. I've put a *lot* of money into it since then, and the thing still rattles and groans all the time. I love it, but it's a real money-pit. If I treated it the way I used to treat cars, it would explode. [​IMG]

    Now, in all fairness, we've had little trouble with our '00 Pontiac GrandAm GT. It's been a great car, and I'm gonna be sorry to turn it in. Zippy as hell with the 6-cyl and ram-air. Blows my Firebird away, much to my annoyance. [​IMG]

    PS - I don't treat cars NEARLY as badly as I did when I was younger. [​IMG]
     
  19. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    I'd vote for the RAV4 too. If you buy, you can expect a much better resale value and IMO it's a better machine.

    I have a '98 4Runner (75K) that has been wheeled hard yet there are no squeaks, rattles, or groans. I've never experienced such a tight, well made body in an American 4x4. The rest of the vehicle is nearly indistinguishable from new, and I've had no repairs.
     
  20. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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