Does my boyfriend's 1.9 liter engine have the muscle to get us through the mountainous parts of a cross-country roadtrip?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am a student in Austin, Texas. After I graduate, my boyfriend and I are
heading to Portland, Ore., in his 1993 Saturn SL2. Here's where you come in.
Brett (that's the boyfriend) is a rugged, outdoorsy type, dying to take the most
interesting route and trek around in the mountains. I am the nervous nature
appreciator, very concerned that his 1.9-liter engine (isn't that the same size
as, say, a Weed Eater?) won't pull us up and down mountainous terrain.

We had the car checked out, and they pronounced the brakes and clutch A-OK.
Still, I'm concerned. What do you think? Can we make it up and down mountains? A
response from you would bring tears of joy to my eyes. -- Elizabeth

TOM: Well, we're quite accustomed to our responses bringing tears to our
readers' eyes, Elizabeth. So don't think that threat scares us.

RAY: Of course you can make it up the mountains, Elizabeth; 1.9 liters is not
very big, but it's big enough to get a small car like a Saturn just about

TOM: And besides, Brett is a rugged, outdoorsy type. So if you happen to break
down and get stranded, he'll be able to kill a bear and feed you for a few weeks
until the St. Bernards arrive with the brandy flasks.

RAY: You'd be smart to have the car thoroughly checked out, Elizabeth (not just
the brakes and clutch). And moreover, pack a Triple-A card, a credit card and
your sense of humor. You'll probably need all three.

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