Saturn L-Series Overview
The Saturn brand’s first midsize model was the L-Series. It was designed to expand the brand and build on the success of the original Saturn S-Series. Based on the Opel Vectra, the L-Series was offered in sedan (LS) and wagon (LW) configurations.
All LS models originally offered a standard 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. Also available was a 3.0-liter V6 engine that’s matched with a four-speed automatic transmission. The LW models had the same powertrain combinations except the manual transmission was not offered.
With 17.5 cubic feet of trunk space, the LS sedan provides more cargo space than many larger vehicles. As for the wagon, it offers 29.4 cubic feet behind the second-row seat. That capacity more than doubles when the rear seat is folded.
Upon its debut, the LS was offered in base, LS1 and LS2 trims, and the wagon was available in LW1 and LW2 trims. Standard equipment included air conditioning, power steering and a tilt steering column. Except for the base LS, all L-Series models are also equipped with remote keyless entry, full power accessories and cruise control.
For 2001, Saturn made front and rear head-curtain air bags optional across the model line. Saturn also changed the model designations. The sedans were now called L100, L200 and L300, and the wagon's trims became LW200 and LW300.
Beginning with the 2002 model, the optional air bags became standard equipment and were joined by antilock brakes and traction control. Other updates brought in standard automatic headlamps, and four-wheel disc brakes were standard on all but the base model. A DVD entertainment system and an OnStar telematics system - both introduced late in the model year - can be found on some 2002 models. New chrome and alloy wheel choices were also added.
For 2003, the L-Series was significantly refreshed, with new front and rear fascias added. An updated instrument cluster, improved upholstery and new trim accents were introduced. Spring rates were adjusted to improve ride handling. In addition, new wheel and tire choices were rolled out, and the base L100 sedan was dropped from the lineup.
The 2004 model year saw the discontinuation of the manual transmission as well as the LS200 and LW200 trims. For 2005, only the sedan was built, and in small quantities before production ended that year. Two years later, the Saturn Aura arrived as the late replacement for the L-Series.
Stiff competition in the segment means there are many other midsize models to compare with the Saturn L-Series. These include the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu and Nissan Altima. Other models to consider include the Mazda6, Kia Optima, Subaru Legacy, Hyundai Sonata and Volkswagen Passat.