Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,100 – $5,500*


2000 Saturn LS2


2001 Saturn L300 4-door sedan


2000 Saturn L-Series interior


2000 Saturn LW2


2001 Saturn L300 4-door sedan

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Cargo room (wagon)
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Noise
  • Rear-seat comfort

Though not class leaders, L-Series models satisfy in most performance areas. Although cabins are roomy, they’re furnished modestly. New-car prices undercut those of comparable Accord and Camry models, and Saturns are likely to remain lower than those competitors on the used-car market.

Overview

The L-Series sedan and station wagon could have a V6 instead of the four cylinder common to the smaller S-Series. The new front-drive midsize 4-door sedan and wagon were based on the German-made Opel Vectra.

Assembled in Delaware, the L-Series used Saturn’s familiar dent- and rust-resistant polymer panels for front fenders, doors, and bumper fascias. Other body parts were made of steel. Sedans came in LS, LS1, and LS2 form. Wagons were named LW1 and LW2. LS, LS1, and LW1 models used a new GM 4-cylinder engine. The LS2 and LW2 borrowed a 3.0-liter V6 from Saab, another GM company, but omitted Saab’s turbocharger. LS and LS1 vehicles could have 5-speed manual shift or a 4-speed automatic transmission; the others were automatic-only. All models seated five and had 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks. LS2 and LW2 versions had 4-wheel disc brakes. Antilock brakes were optional, coupled with traction control.

Yearly Updates

2001 L-Series
Inflatable side-curtain airbags became optional on all models for 2001. All L-Series models were renamed. Instead of LS, LS1, and LS2, the sedans now were known as L100, L200, and L300, respectively. Wagons switched from LW1 and LW2 to LW200 and LW300. Models with “100” and “200” suffixes had a 4-cylinder engine, while “300” designated vehicles came with the 3.0-liter V6.
2002 L-Series
Curtain side airbags were among previously optional features made standard for 2002. And added midyear was an optional rear-seat DVD video entertainment system. Other new options included a 6-disc in-dash CD changer, and, at midyear, an automatic climate system.
2003 L-Series
All models gained a chrome grille, larger headlights, and revised rear appearance. Silver-colored plastic console and instrument-panel trim is new. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels replace 15s on 300 models; the 16s are optional on 200s.
2004 L300
The L-Series gets renamed L300 in 2004. Also new is the return to standard antilock brakes, which were optional last year.
2005 L300
Wagon models were dropped, leaving only sedans for the L-Serie’s final season.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Model numbers indicate the type of engine in a Saturn L-Series. A 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine, rated at 137 horsepower, was installed in LS and LS1 sedans, and the LW1 wagon (later called L100, L200, and LW200, respectively). Either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission was available. The LS2 sedan and LW2 wagon (renamed L300 and LW300 for 2001) used a 3.0-liter V6 engine that produced 182 horsepower and came only with automatic.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/134
Engine HP 135-137
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 142-147
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
24/32
23/32
26.6
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/183
Engine HP 182
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 190
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

20/26

19.0

Road Test

A reasonably accomplished performer, the L-Series is distinguished by fine handling. Opel-derived suspension tuning pays off in impressive high-speed stability. These midsize Saturns corner with confidence and modest body lean. Steering is linear and communicative, though it may feel heavy at low speeds. Some 4-cylinder stick-shift models have felt too light at high speeds. Sedans and wagons handle nearly identically, though wagons ride marginally stiffer. Neither absorbs bumps as well as a Camry. Buyers get a firm, Eurostyle ride in exchange for sporty road manners. Stopping power and pedal feel are impressive. Saturn has claimed that the volume-leading LS1/L200 with automatic takes 9.8 seconds to reach 60 mph, while a V6/automatic LS2/L300 did it in 8.2. Some early V6 models showed poor throttle response at takeoff and slow downshifts when passing, but others felt spry even in hilly terrain. A test V6/automatic sedan averaged 19 mpg, while a 4-cylinder/automatic wagon got an impressive 26.6 mpg. L-Series models are as quiet as most competitors. Road, wind, and engine noise are well-muffled. The 4-cylinder engine sounds richer under hard throttle than the V6.

Four adults have as much room as in an Accord or Camry, even if the L-Series does not match their interior refinement. Cloth seats are more supportive than the optional leather. Rear leg space is ample, with head clearance for 6-footers, but the cushion is soft and low. Vision directly rearward is constricted by the high deck. Instruments are large and clear. Sedans have a large, accessible trunk. Interiors have a low-budget look. Door handles are uninviting plated plastic, and audio controls are small and plasticky.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Saturn L300

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 6
60%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 53

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.5 190.4 69.0 56.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
17.5 13.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 38.0 42.2 34.4
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.5 190.4 69.0 57.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
71.3 13.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 39.6 42.3 37.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2000 SL 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 2
40%
Rear Passenger Injury - 4
80%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 73
Injury 76
Theft 30

Trouble Spots

Climate control
Description: The HVAC blower may only operate on high, requiring replacement of the resistor card. (2000)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant leaks into engine require new intake manifold gasket. (2000-01)
Exhaust system
Description: Exhaust manifold bolts work loose causing noise that may be misdiagnosed as lifter tap. (2002-04)
Oil consumption
Description: The oil-filter cap can be damaged if an open-end wrench or adjustable wrench is used to remove the cap. Only a socket wrench or cap-style oil-filter tool are acceptable. (2000-01)
Seat
Description: The power seat may stop working because the wiring harness chafes the seat assembly. (2000-01)
Hood/trunk
Description: A shorter release cable is available for the hood release. (2000)
Electrical problem
Description: Chafed wires for the cooling fan cause the No. 1 fuse to blow. The wires were being lengthened with splices. (2000)

Recall History

2000 LS
Description: Certain vehicles have inoperative valve within fuel-tank assembly, which can result in fuel spillage in a rollover incident.
2000 LS
Description: Turn-signal lamps may not work, or work intermittently, when driver uses turn-signal lever or hazard-warning switch.
2000 w/automatic transmission
Description: Transaxle shift-cable clip may be missing or improperly seated, allowing cable to slip out of bracket; driver may put lever into “Park,” but transaxle may be in Reverse or Neutral.
2000
Description: Over Pressure Relief valve in fuel tank can become stuck open in a frontal collision; if vehicle rolls over, fuel spillage could occur.
2000 w/TRW seatbelt-buckle assemblies
Description: Seatbelt-buckle assemblies fail to conform to Federal requirements, because buckle base was not properly heat treated.
2000-02 Sedan
Description: Some plastic housings in taillamp assembly can become distorted if brake lamps remain on for an extended time; can cause intermittent lamp operation or short-circuit that leads to inoperative lamps.
2000-03 2.4L engines
Description: Ignition-control module may fail. The “Service Engine Soon” light will go on, and the vehicle will be hard to start. Dealers will inspect and replace all affected parts.
2001
Description: Small number of vehicles may have passenger-airbag-inflator module with incorrect amount of generant.
2001 L-Series with 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine
Description: Links in the engine’s timing chain can separate, causing the engine to stall and not restart. Dealers will replace the timing chain.
2002-04 Wagon
Description: Seat belt anchor may separate from floor of vehicle before holding required test load for the required time.
2003
Description: Windshield-wiper motor could fail, resulting in loss of visibility. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
2003-04 Wagon
Description: Some plastic housings in taillamp assembly can become distorted if brake lamps remain on for an extended time; can cause intermittent lamp operation or short-circuit that leads to inoperative lamps.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.