Saturn S-Series

Saturn's history is unusual among most well-known automakers. In 1982, General Motors decided to launch a new project that was intended to create a small, compact car that could compete successfully against many of the more popular Japanese options in that class. About a month after the first meeting, the project was given a name: Saturn. It was named after the Saturn spacecraft that led U.S. to a victory in the space race over the USSR.

More on the Saturn S-Series
Saturn S-Series Origins

In later years, GM decided to make Saturn a subsidiary, and the company began to produce some of the most popular cars and vehicles in the U.S. Many industry experts have suggested that Saturn helped to change the way carmakers manufactured and sold cars.

In an unfortunate twist, the company was destined to not last. GM made the choice to discontinue the brand and the company in the midst of the financial downturn of 2008 that hit the auto industry so severely. Up to that time, Saturn had been well known for offering a variety of unique models, including the popular S-Series.

About the Saturn S-Series

Offered in wagon and sedan body styles, the Saturn S-Series is known as a reliable option for the everyday driver. These cars aren’t necessarily meant for drivers looking for high performance. The S-Series is popular for everyday highway and road driving for the suburban or urban driver. Especially when purchased with the best upgrade options, the S-Series does reasonably well in almost any situation. This, along with Saturn’s reputation for producing dependable cars, made the S-Series popular with families, businesses, and young professionals.

In addition to reliability and dependability, one of the best qualities of the Saturn S-Series is its quality design and fun driving experience. Saturn changed the way buyers see the purchasing experience. Saturn’s policy was always to focus on the experience of buying and owning its cars, rather than focusing on sales numbers. The result was happier clients and an improved relationship with the manufacturer, which in turn led to high popularity and strong sales.

Saturn S-Series Features

The 2001 model year was the last year Saturn produced the S-Series. There weren’t many changes from the previous years, the one notable exception being the newly available option for overhead airbags. As with other years, the S-Series was offered in wagon and sedan body styles. Also as usual, the lower trim levels offer very few standard amenities, including air-conditioning and power accessories. However, the S-Series still retains its reputation as a reliable car that offers fun behind the wheel.

Also like previous years, industry experts note the interior of the 2001 S-Series is poorly designed and lacks the comfort that most buyers would expect for the car’s price, which was relatively high compared to others in its class. The qualities of the materials are inexpensive and badly put together, though the exterior body style looks stylish and modern.

The engine and transmission systems vary by body style and trim level. Buyers were offered the 1.9-liter, four-cylinder engine capable of 100 hp or the twin-cam version of the same motor. A four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission was available. Most industry experts recommend choosing the twin-cam engine paired with the five-speed manual transmission for the best performance.

Saturn S-Series Evolution

The past versions of the Saturn S-Series were received well by the public for the most part. These cars are reliable and dependable, though not necessarily the most comfortable in terms of plush seating. It’s important to note that the earlier versions of the S-Series in the base editions have very few standard options, and did not come standard equipped with air-conditioning, power locks, or CD players.

The upgraded trim levels of the S-Series can provide more comfort and convenience. In the high trim levels, the buyer will find a more powerful engine in the twin-cam motor, a sportier suspension system, and improved steering capabilities. These models also provide fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a rear spoiler. While these cars aren’t noted for being exceptionally thrifty, some of the extras are expensive. On the other hand, the cars are known for handling well even in earlier iterations. Industry tests indicated that the earlier versions of the S-Series drive comfortably on highways, as well as twisty country roads.

Select a Saturn S-Series Year

2002 Saturn S-Series

Compact, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan

The 2002 Saturn S Series provides a subcompact car that has a well-deserved reputation for reliability and a fun drive.

2001 Saturn S-Series

Compact, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon

The 2001 Saturn S Series is an affordable line of compact cars that consists of the SL Sedan, the SW Wagon, and the SC Coupe.

2000 Saturn S-Series

Compact, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon

1999 Saturn S-Series

Compact, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon

1998 Saturn S-Series

Compact, Coupe, Sedan, Wagon

The 1998 Saturn S-Series is a line of similarly styled cars in three different styles: coupe, sedan, and wagon.

1997 Saturn S-Series

Compact, Coupe, Sedan, Wagon

The 1997 Saturn S-Series debuted in 1990 with a blend of reliability and a big interior.

1996 Saturn S-Series

Compact, Coupe, Sedan, Wagon

The Saturn S-Series is a triple threat, offering fuel-efficient models in three different body types: sedan, coupe, or station wagon.

1995 Saturn S-Series

Compact, Coupe, Sedan, Wagon

The 1995 Saturn S-Series is a compact car that comes as a coupe, sedan, or station wagon.