With 290,000 miles on the clock, today’s Nice Price or No Dice Saturn could have driven all the way to the moon and then some. It still looks pretty good for all those miles, but let’s see how attractive its price turns out to be.
So an odd schism occurred last Friday — a rift in the fabric of space and time itself just like that big-ass hole in the field that features in that new Josh Brolin TV show that I’m too apathetic to watch.
What happened here was that while almost all of the comments on our candidate 2001 Plymouth Prowler were positive, with many of you praising the car as a fun weekend ride and a decent value at its $24,400 asking, that appraisal wasn’t reflected in the voting. There, the car and that price went down in a pretty sizable 66 percent No Dice loss. That discord between commentary and voting was quite disconcerting and I spent much of the weekend seeking answers as to its cause.
Of course, now that we have a shiny new week ahead of us and a… well, reasonably shiny old car to consider, I think I may be past my Friday kerfuffle. With that out of the way, let’s consider the general need to — as the Beach Boys once so harmoniously put it — “get around.” Everybody needs to be somewhere, that’s just one of the easier-to-understand laws of physics. And to get to those legally-required locations, people need some sort of transportation, whether it be feet or a mobility assistance device for nearby destinations or a train, bus, or car for those that are a bit more off in the distance.
The thing is, public transportation doesn’t always go where some people need to be, and using ride-sharing or traditional taxis can get expensive fast. That’s why owning a car offers the greatest freedom of movement possible. Having those keys in your hand can open up the world (at least outside of those pesky No Trespassing signs) and let the possessor go pretty much anywhere they need to go.
The question, of course, is whether or not owning a car is just as financially unsound a move as using Uber Eats to bring you three meals a day. Let’s take a look at this 2000 Saturn SW2 and see if a case might be made that financial ruin isn’t the indisputable outcome of its ownership.
It’s a good start that General Motors originally created the Saturn division as a provider of products for people of modest means. The cars, with their plastic body panels and sensible no-haggle purchasing process, were certainly innovative for the industry. Unfortunately, neither Saturn’s unique construction method nor the division itself survived GM’s overall incompetence in the market. It wasn’t the fault of those innovative and price-conscious cars, however, as even though they were cheap, the Saturns gained a reputation for being nearly un-killable.
This red over gray SW2 is a prime example of that. It has almost 300,000 miles on the clock and it’s still seemingly ticking away without major issue. Not only that but, in the pics at least, it doesn’t look like it’s even done a quarter of the distance. The Bright Red Metallic paint still pops in a decent fashion and the plastic lenses on the headlamps look appreciably clear and un-yellowed. Those are both laudable achievements for a cheap car of this age. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a wagon? That adds utility to the respectable looks.
Inside, the story is much the same with the mouse fur upholstery seemingly defiant against age and wear and even the chintzy plastics in the surroundings exhibiting only minor scrapes and accumulations of grunge. Yes, the factory floor mats are as curled-up as dead spiders, but that’s only a minor if creepy situation.
As this is an SW2, the car comes with the 124 horsepower DOHC 1.9 liter four. It uses a chain rather than a belt to drive the twin camshafts, so maintenance is relatively cheaper and these have a rep for being more stout than the SOHC version. This one has a four-speed automatic as a play-partner and powers the front wheels as expected.
According to the ad, the car is “Clean and reliable,” and is only up for sale since an edict was handed down by an offspring to get a newer (and one would assume safer) car for chauffeuring around the grandkids. If all you need to haul around is your own ass, or maybe a select set of friends, then you could do far worse than this Saturn. After all, it looks to be reasonably comfortable, and even with the high mileage seems to have a few turns of the wheel left in it. All that comes with an asking price of $2,850, and the seller plays up that asking by stating in the ad that they’ve “Seen junk for this price.”
What do you think, is this mileage-burdened Saturn worth that $2,850 asking as presented in the ad? Or, do you think that it’s junk?
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