New Car Review
1994 SATURN SW2 STATION WAGON
by: BILL RUSS
SEE ALSO:Saturn Buyer's Guide
In a little over four years Saturn has made and destroyed several myths in the automotive industry. It has proven once again that if you build a better mousetrap . . . it will be successful. It has demonstrated that not only can top quality small cars be built in America, but that they can be built at a profit. It has shown that a fixed-price, no-haggle sales campaign can not only be successful, but that it is preferred by most automotive buyers. It has shown that well-trained, dedicated workers can build top quality cars in America. It is a prime example of building a new product in an innovative manner and delivering safety, styling, performance and economy in a single package.
Saturn started out as a clean sheet of paper product both in regard to its production facility as well as the car itself. Its plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, combines state-of-the-art production technology with practical design features using a combination of steel and compound materials to produce a finished product that is stylish and safe. From the start its goal has been to be an import fighter, and to fairly and squarely recapture lost sales with a top-quality American-built automotive product.
As Saturn's newest body style, the Station Wagon incorporates all of the original desirable qualities of earlier models, plus the evolutionary changes that are, and have been, continuously implemented to insure that a good car gets even better!
APPEARANCE: The station wagon utilizes Saturn's unique steel spaceframe structure combined with thermoplastic and sheet molded compound body panels. This construction process allows the forming of seamless body, top, fender and bumper panels. The hood is the only body component made of steel. The result is a clean and aerodynamic design with a large cabin and plenty of glass, plus a top-hinged tailgate. The window trim and side mirrors are black, while the wheels sport Firestone Firehawk touring tires.
COMFORT: The Saturn SW2 wagon provides honest working transportation. Its interior is functionally arranged with an easy-to-read instruments and at-hand controls. Seating is firm, but comfortable. The driver's seat is height-adjustable and has dial-in lumbar support, while the seats in back fold down for added cargo space. The top-hinged tailgate opens easily, and is equipped with a defogger and washer/wiper for the large rear window. Its flat cargo area can hold almost 29 cubic feet of gear, and when the rear seats are folded down the storage space increases to an impressive 56 cubic feet. Option package 1 adds power windows, locks and right side mirror, as well as a good air conditioner and cruise control. Also optional are the easy to set and tune AM/FM/cassette sound system and fog lamps.
SAFETY: The SW2 uses front seat motorized shoulder straps and manual lap belts, but the rear seats do have three point seat belts. Other safety items include a driver's air bag, side guard door beams, and child security locks. Peace-of-mind factors include the dent and ding resistant side body and fender panels, as well as the optional ABS package which includes four-wheel disc brakes and traction control.
ROADABILITY: The Saturn Wagon is family transportation with no sporting pretensions. With power rack-and-pinion steering and independent suspension it is capable of handling all normal and emergency procedures. Very positive handling and safety factors are added when the optional combinations of the automatic transmission and anti-lock brake packages are installed. Included in this arrangement are four- wheel disc brakes and a slick traction control system. Its traction control is computer managed and utilizes the interaction between the ABS sensors and the automatic transmission to regulate wheel spin.
PERFORMANCE: The SW2 is powered by a Saturn-built four-cylinder, 1.9 liter, dual overhead cam, 4- valves per cylinder, fuel injected engine developing 124 horsepower. It is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with its' computer-controlled ability to downshift automatically when the brakes are tapped on a downhill grade. Shifting is smooth and there is plenty of power for keeping up with traffic.
CONCLUSIONS: Saturn has been a success, and for good reason. It makes a good, practical, economical car that uses state of the art technology in an unassuming, but quite attractive package.
1994 SATURN SW2 STATION WAGON
Base Price $ 13,395 Price As Tested $ 16,785 Engine Type I-4, dohc-16v, mpfi Engine Size 1.9 liter/116 cid Horsepower 124 @ 5600 Torque (ft/lbs) 122 @ 4800 Wheelbase/Length 102"/176" Transmission four speed automatic w/od Curb Weight 2480 Pounds per Horsepower 20 Fuel Capacity 13 Fuel Requirement Unleaded regular (87 oct) Tire Firestone Firehawk FTX P195/60R15 Brake anti-lock optional disc/disc Drive Train front engine/front drive PERFORMANCE EPA Economy - miles per gallon, city/highway/observed 23/32/29.6 0 to 60 mph 9.5 sec 1/4 mi (E.T.) 17.3 sec Coefficient of drag (cd) .34