Saturn L-Series
00-02 Saturn L-Series sedan.jpg
Manufacturer Saturn (General Motors)
Also called
  • Saturn L100
  • Saturn L200
  • Saturn L300
  • Saturn LS
  • Saturn LS1
  • Saturn LS2
  • Saturn LW1
  • Saturn LW2
  • Saturn LW200
  • Saturn LW300
Production 1999–2004
Model years 2000–2005
Assembly Wilmington, Delaware, United States (Wilmington Assembly)
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size
Body style
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform GM2900 platform
Related Opel Vectra B
Saab 9-3
Saab 9-5
Wheelbase 106.5 in (2,705 mm)
Length 190.4 in (4,836 mm)
  • 69.0 in (1,753 mm) (2000–2002)
  • 68.5 in (1,740 mm) (2003–2005)
  • 56.4 in (1,433 mm) (sedan)
  • 57.3 in (1,455 mm) (wagon)
Successor Saturn Aura

The Saturn L-Series is a line of automobiles that were sold by Saturn.

The L-Series mid-size sedans and station wagons were introduced in 2000. They were based on the Opel Vectra B and manufactured at a GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware. The L-Series was available with straight-4 and V6 engines with either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions.

Poor sales of the L-Series caused GM to cancel the line for 2005. The first L-series car was built in May 1999, and the last one rolled off the Wilmington line on June 17, 2004, after a short run of 2005 models. About 406,300 L-series cars were built in this period. The plant was then retooled to build the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters.

2000–2002 wagon

The replacement for the L-Series, the Saturn Aura, arrived in August 2006 for the 2007 model year. The Aura was built on the Epsilon platform, also shared by the Pontiac G6 and the Opel Vectra C.




Model history

  • 2000: The L-Series consisted of 5 models: The four-cylinder LS and LS1/LW1, and V6 LS2/LW2. The base LS sedan, which did not have a wagon counterpart, came equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, manual windows and locks, air conditioning, and an AM/FM stereo. The LS1/LW1 added power windows, mirrors and locks with keyless entry, heated mirrors, and other comfort features. The LS2/LW2 featured additional standard amenities including fog lights, as well as the more powerful V6 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission; the latter being optional on the 4-cylinder models. Anti-lock brakes with traction control was an option on all models.
  • 2001: The L-Series received new model designations: the LS became L100, LS1 became L200, LS2 became L300, LW1 became LW200, and LW2 became LW300. All models received a larger fuel tank (15.7 US gal (59 L; 13 imp gal)) and shoulder belts for the center rear seat position. Head curtain side airbags became available later in the model year.
  • 2002: Anti-lock brakes with traction control were standard this year, along with curtain side airbags. A new six-spoke chrome alloy wheel became available, as well as automatic air conditioning and a rear DVD entertainment later in the model year.
2003–2005 facelift
  • 2003: Sedans were facelifted, front and rear; wagons received the new front along with new taillights. Silver dash trim replaced wood trim, and there was new cloth upholstery and a new available alloy wheel design (borrowed from Saab). The L100 sedan was canceled, and anti-lock brakes with traction control were made optional again.
  • 2004: Anti-lock brakes and traction control were standard again, the automatic air conditioning was discontinued (leaving all models with the manual air conditioning), and the manual transmission was dropped, leaving all models with a four-speed automatic. The "L200" and "LW200" names were discontinued. Both L-Series sedan and wagon models were officially renamed "L300," adopting a trim level structure like that of Saturn's Ion compact. The previous L200/LW200 were now the L300.1, powered by the 2.2L Ecotec and having no available options. The L300.2 was powered by the 3.0L V6 and had the same range of options as before. The L300.3 had the chrome alloy wheels and a standard power driver's seat, and was unique in offering the "Premium Choice Package." This offered the choice between OnStar, rear DVD entertainment, or (on sedans) a power sunroof at no extra charge.
  • 2005: Wagons were discontinued this year and the lineup was trimmed to one model, the L300.2 sedan. The only option was a power moonroof, as all other options were dropped to reduce production complexity. The last L300 rolled off the Wilmington Assembly line on June 17, 2004.

Quality issues

The Saturn L-Series was troubled early in production by a number of quality issues, often related to engine failures, transmission failures and overall fit and finish issues. Consumers reported repeat problems with tire noise and vibration linked to poorly designed control arm bushings and nonadjustable rear alignments. A retrofit kit was released to address these concerns.

In 2005, a recall was issued pursuant to a defect petition by the North Carolina Consumers Council, a consumer nonprofit advocacy organization, alleging repeat brake and tail light failures. The resulting recall affected more than 300,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada.[1] Later that same year, the North Carolina Consumers Council petitioned for an investigation into timing chain failures and subsequent engine failures across the model lineup for vehicles using the 2.2L engine. The resulting recall affected only a small number of vehicles built in a four-month period in late 2000 and early 2001. The organization reported that complaints of engine failure due to a defective timing chain design persist to this day and requests for recall expansions have largely been ignored. The organization has gone so far as to make its first recommendation against the purchase of a vehicle in its more than forty year history due in part to this timing chain defect.[2]

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