Rent, Lease, Sell or Keep: 2002 Saturn L200

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
rent lease sell or keep 2002 saturn l200

What killed Saturn? Blandness. An unending sea of uninspiring designs and sibling ripoff’s destroyed what could have been GM’s most successful project of the last 30 years. Of course they’re not alone in the branding malaise. Ford had Mercury. Chrysler had Plymouth. A lot of folks here would argue that Toyota’s Scion is becoming a living testament to compromises that yield a death defining brand. Throw in Acura’s (lack of) reputation, Infiniti and Kia during their low points, and even the winners can sometimes be losers. Which means that with no cache, a Theft Recovery title, and 93k on the odometer, I bought it cheap. $1600. Therefore I can…

Rent: I can probably rent this car for quite a long time. A semi-efficient Ecotec 4-cylinder engine combined with a powertrain and interior that is available in multitude at the pull-a-part’s means that it wouldn’t take that much to keep it running. But then you also have cheap interior parts that simply can not stand abuse. Saturns are one leap ahead of VW’s and Kia’sfrom the same era. But that’s not saying much. With this one I would look at renting it for $140 a week.

Lease/Finance: $700 down and $60 a week for 18 months. I can see that happening with this vehicle since I already have an L300 with the same terms. The L300 had a 3.0L V6 that was also found in the Cadillac Catera. For those of you who don’t know, the Catera’s engine is so feared at the auctions that only a Chrysler with a 2.7L is more repugnant. I spent money to bring the 3.0L:up to date on maintenance and now, it works. But most folks only look at these vehicles as a get-around car. The four cylinder model is far better.

Sell: $3500 in tax season is a good possibility. I may settle at the $3000 mark for a quick profit. This type of vehicle is just not among my favorites. Should it be? I think it may be too close to that borderline where marginal vehicles can yield lower than optimal returns. Perhaps I’ll just wait and see if it sells or leases first?

Keep: Why? Yes I would have minimal depreciation for the next 10 years and the gas cost wouldn’t be as bad as most other cars. My wife hasn’t a care in the world about the car she drives. She realizes that her footwear is going to have a bigger impact on her life. So it wouldn’t be impossible to keep this appliance in the garage and just simply drive it. God knows it would be more worthwhile to own than the Bravada. We have two Hondas at the moment, a late model Civic and the 1st gen Insight. I like them a whole lot better than this midsized mushroom. But eventually I sell them all.

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2 of 31 comments
  • George B George B on Jan 20, 2011

    Sell for a quick profit. The Saturn L series was canceled due to poor sales so junkyard parts are going to be difficult to get.

  • Alfred p. sloan Alfred p. sloan on Jan 21, 2011

    Puke on it and call it art, but what ever you do don't drive it.

  • Dusterdude When there is a strike the union leadership talk about “brothers and sisters “ . They should give up that charade . Bottom line is they are trying to wring out every last penny they can and could care less ( putting it politely) about the future of the industry 5 - 10 years+ down the road
  • Ronin They all will back off, because the consumer demand is not there. Even now the market is being artificially propped up by gov subsidies.
  • Keith Some of us appreciate sharing these finds. Thank you. I always have liked these. It would a fun work car or just to bomb around in. Easy to keep running. Just get an ignition kill switch and you would have no worries leaving it somewhere. Those OEM size wheels and tires are comical. A Juke has bigger wheels!
  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.