Although the Saturn was considerably cheaper than many of its competitors. Unfortunately, this was evident in the way it drove, and its build quality wasn't as good as other models produced during this time.
In spite of this, the 2002 L Series is still worth a look as it is well-equipped, providing a relatively smooth ride for the driver and passengers. It's ideal for anyone who likes the feel of a European styled car.
Body Styles: wagon, sedan
Engines: 2.2-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Saturn L100, Saturn L200 Saturn L300
The big changes for 2002 models of the Saturn L Series were the inclusion of more safety features. Models from this year onwards come with anti-lock brakes, traction control, and standard head curtain airbags. All models except the L100 have four-wheel disc brakes. Other standard features across all models include automatic headlights, post airbag-deployment signals, and child seat anchors. Additional changes for this year included a new DVD entertainment system, and packages had features such as automatic climate control and an in-dash six-disc CD changer. 2002 saw new 15-inch alloy wheels and 16-inch chrome wheels.
The exterior of the Saturn L Series does look quite European. It's on a 106-inch wheelbase, and has an overall length of 190.4 inches. It is 68.5 inches wide and 56.4 inches high. These measurements are all similar to the Accord and Camry. The Saturn has dent and rust-resistant polymer side body panels attached to a steel frame, and this system has been in use since Saturn began manufacturing cars in 1990. The top of the range L300 has alloy wheels, fog lights, and a sports suspension.
The 2002 Saturn L Series can comfortably seat five people, and the front bucket seats have enough head and leg room to accommodate someone six feet tall. However, it's not the same news for the backseat, as space is a little more limited. It would be perfectly comfortable to have three people in the back for shorter drives, and there's certainly ample room for two. The rear seat is split and can fold down to give extra capacity to the trunk, which can hold 17.5 cubic feet of cargo.
The layout and look of the instrument panel is very similar to that used by Toyota and Honda, so it's pretty easy to see where everything is located. The L100 has air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, and an automatic transmission. The L200 is equipped with cruise control, power windows, mirrors and locks, and remote keyless entry. The top of the range L300 model has a better quality stereo.
A car equipped with the Premium Package will have automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power seats, and an in-dash CD changer. Some cars may have a DVD entertainment system that has wireless headphones and a flip down viewing screen to entertain rear seat passengers. Models produced from the middle of the year onwards may have GM's communications system, giving drivers 24-hour assistance with such things as finding a restaurant, or receiving help during a breakdown.
Performance & Handling
The L100 and L200 models have a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine that can produce 135 horsepower, while the L300 is fitted with a three-liter, V-6 engine. The four-cylinder engine can be used with either the four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission, but the V-6 engine is fitted with the automatic transmission.
The L Series is quite a nice car to drive, and has reasonably good handling. Most drivers will be happy with the four-cylinder engine, but there's no doubt that the V-6 engine does give a more interesting ride. Cars fitted with this engine respond quickly during overtaking and merging. All models are comfortable to drive on the highways, and are good for longer drives, but driving around cities and towns can sometimes prove a little bumpy.
Safety features include curtain airbags across the side windows, and which inflate right across the length of the passenger compartment, protecting the upper bodies of rear and front passengers. This car has anti-lock brakes and traction control fitted as standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
Saturn L100: 21/30 mpg city/highway
Saturn L 200: 21/30 mpg city/highway
Saturn L 300: 18/26 mpg city/highway
- Choice of engines
- Features fitted as standard
You Won't Like
The Saturn L Series makes a good run around, but is nothing to write home about.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Hyundai Sonata
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry