Connect with us

News

At $3,900, Is This 1997 Saturn SW1 a Good Deal?

Published

on

Nice Price or No Dice 1997 Saturn SW1

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Saturn is the antithesis of another GM brand, the recently resurrected Hummer. Let’s see if this plastic-bodied wagon’s price makes it synonymous with good value.

Watching the votes for yesterday’s $14,000 2011 Range Rover SC tally in real-time was fun as it jumped back and forth between those in its favor and those against. Half of you seemed to feel “that’s a lot of car for the money,” while the others countered that it was “a lot of future problems that would eventually cost a lot of money.” Ultimately, the dreamers held sway, with the Range Rover taking home a 53 percent Nice Price win.

That was a close one. Perhaps we’ve been setting our sights too high? Today let’s look at an older car that, while not truly a beater owing to its condition, is still something that shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to keep on the road. In fact, with its plastic body panels, five-speed manual, and fascinating corporate history, this 1997 Saturn SW1 might actually be a keeper.

Image for article titled At $3,900, Will This 1997 Saturn SW1 Run Rings Around the Competition?

General Motors debuted Saturn’s products—a coupe, sedan, and wagon—for the 1991 model year as its clean-sheet import-fighter brand. The new company nominally replaced GM’s moribund Geo brand of actual imports and was set up with a bespoke factory in Tennessee.

Those initial models were built with a spaceframe construction, to which metal and polymer body panels were fastened, a practice that GM had earlier pioneered with the Pontiac Fiero. The plastic side panels provided dent resistance but required significantly wider gaps between the panels to account for the material’s greater dimensional changes during temperature shifts. That led to a perception by some that the cars were of poor quality.

Image for article titled At $3,900, Will This 1997 Saturn SW1 Run Rings Around the Competition?

That wasn’t the only unique feature given to the cars. They also received a 1.9 liter alloy four in either SOHC or DOHC flavors and Saturn-only transmissions. The last big differentiator for the brand was a no-haggle pricing strategy for its dealers.

There aren’t any Saturn dealers around any longer, the brand having been killed off by GM in 2010. There still are plenty of the brand’s cars kicking around, however, as—especially the earliest models—proved fairly reliable and capable.

This second-generation wagon seems a fine example of those attributes. Being the SW1, it sports the SOHC edition of the 1.9 liter four, which in this model year made an honest 100 horsepower. Notably, that’s backed up by the MP2 five-speed manual which in the SW1 was geared to wring every last mile out of a gallon of gas. As fitted, this small wagon should be capable of giving 40 mpg on the highway.

Image for article titled At $3,900, Will This 1997 Saturn SW1 Run Rings Around the Competition?

Naturally, as a baseline model, there’s not much here. That means there’s not much to go wrong either. The windows are manual crank as are the door locks and mirrors. Boo-freaking-hoo to that. On the plus side, there’s oodles of utility in the back despite the rear wheel arches and suspension encroaching on the load area. The bench seat ahead of that has an asymmetrical split but doesn’t seem to be capable of having either side lowered independently. Still, fold them both down and the car offers an appreciatively flat load area.

The wagon has 131,324 miles showing and looks to be in very decent shape for those miles. The gold paint still holds a shine and there’s no scuffing on the wheel covers (don’t believe Facebook Marketplace, those aren’t alloys).

Image for article titled At $3,900, Will This 1997 Saturn SW1 Run Rings Around the Competition?

The cabin features cloth upholstery and plastics that, while chintzy as all get out, look to have held up admirably. The only element that really seems to show its age is the passenger-side airbag cover which looks wizened and out of place. I would touch that if I were you. An updated stereo unit holds court in the center stack above the climate controls. And yes, this car does have A/C.

According to the ad, the car is in great condition and is offered for sale due to the seller just having too damn-many cars. The title is clear and the asking price is $3,900.

Now, in the before times this Saturn would probably have gone for about half that. But that was then, and this is now, so save the indignation. Instead, channel it into a positive force, and let’s see if we think this SW1 is worth that $3,900 asking in today’s market.

Image for article titled At $3,900, Will This 1997 Saturn SW1 Run Rings Around the Competition?

What do you think, should the seller get nearly four grand for this basic but sensible wagon? Or, does that price put this Saturn in a totally different orbit?

You decide!

Facebook Marketplace out of Independence, Oregon, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Jim H. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Continue Reading

Recent News

F95Zone F95Zone
Tech46 mins ago

F95Zone: An Advanced World of Games and Fun 

All those of us who have grown up as the Gen z kids and now into adults know our love...

Blooket Join Blooket Join
Guide48 mins ago

Guide To Blooket Join: Fun Learning Games For Children UK

Blooket Join, a name your kid will thank you for! Now, you might be curious as to why we are...

NCEdCloud NCEdCloud
Tech48 mins ago

NCEdCloud PowerSchool: Top Educational Platform For E-Learning

With modern education on the rise due to the combining of technology and education, now education on any level can...

Google Pixelbook 12In Google Pixelbook 12In
Tech48 mins ago

Guide To Google Pixelbook 12In 2024

Are you wondering about better options than your traditional laptop or PC? Then let us fill you in on the...

Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Lab Grown Diamond Engagement
Fashion53 mins ago

Increasingly Popular Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Rings UK

Diamond rings are always adored for engagement or wedding events. The spark and shine of a diamond looks so appealing...

Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Optimization
Digital Marketing58 mins ago

Search Engine Optimization Solutions – Your Key to Success

If you want to rank high on seek engine results pages and boost revenue, hiring the top search engine optimization...

NBA Playoffs NBA Playoffs
Lifestyle21 hours ago

Elevate Your Fan Experience: Must-See Moments In NBA Playoffs 2024

The NBA playoffs have reached your fingertips, and you’re excited for the rest of the season. There are several tales...

Techberry Techberry
Trading21 hours ago

Techberry Review: A Deep Dive into Next-Generation Trading Technologies

There have been significant shifts in the world of online trading in recent years, marked by technological advancements and changing...

HHC HHC
Health22 hours ago

What are the Potential Health Benefits of HHC?

You’ve heard of THC, you’ve heard of CBD, and now there’s Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC). But not as many people know about...

Women-Owned Businesses Women-Owned Businesses
Business23 hours ago

How Women-Owned Businesses Are Changing the Game

In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, women owned businesses are not just making their mark; they are redefining the rules...