The 1996 Saturn SW2 wagon.
Saturn describes it as a "sedan with a backpack." The exterior design in the back window area actually shortens the look on the 1996 Saturn wagon. The result is an attractive and comfortable smaller-size wagon.
Two Saturn wagon models, the SW1 and SW2, are available with the option of manual or automatic transmission. Our SW2 test model was a 4-speed automatic and came with a dual overhead cam 1.9 liter four-cyclinder engine, rated at 124 horsepower at 5,600 rpm. New in 1996, Saturn put in a sequential port fuel injection.
Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes are standard. ABS is optional and was on our test model. We liked the smooth braking.
Saturn's traction control system is now available for both automatic and manual ABS combinations. This means in icy conditions, sensors control and adjust the power to the wheels to maximize traction and avoid losing control. A blue "Low Traction" shows on the instrument panel.
Saturn on-board diagnostics (OBD II) monitors the operation of various systems, and if a deterioration or failure is detected, an indicator lights up on the instrument panel.
We found the Saturn wagon easy to maneuver and adequately powered for the road. It was quite zippy on the freeway and the short wheel base allows for easy turns.
The rounded roof allows for more headroom inside and the split folding rear seat makes it easy to haul longer items. The seats are comfortable and adjustable. The front seats have head rests. There are large storage pockets in the front door panels.
The instrument panel is designed to be easy to read. The climate and radio/cassette controls are within close reach. Dual air bags are standard.
On the Saturn wagon, the power window controls are located on the console. The console contains the cup holder and has a compartment which can be locked. Daytime running lights are standard, and we find that we feel safer with them.
Our test model came with the SW2 Package 1 ($1,940), which included power locks with remote keyless entry (handy, especially when carrying parcels), power windows, air conditioning, power remote control right side mirror, and cruise control.
Designed with an inward lip on the roof, we noticed that it successfully helped direct water away from windows and doors in the rainy weather.
Saturn owners are said to be some of the most loyal and enthusiastic. Even since General Motors spun off Saturn ten years ago as a wholly-owned subsidiary to develop a small American-made car to compete with foreign imports, the popularity of the Saturn brand has continued to grow. Made in Spring Hill, Tennesee, Saturn is committed to keeping in touch with their customers and sold their one-millionth vehicle (a dark green SC2 coupe) on June 1, 1995.
The Saturn wagon is one of those cars that fits an urban lifestyle, and with rising gas prices, the 34 mpg on the highway fits the budget.
1996 Saturn SW2 Wagon