Despite being the last one among its sisters to feature a W-body, the Chevrolet Lumina proved the saying
save the best for last, as it rivaled the popular leading sedans such as the Ford Taurus and Honda Accord in terms of efficiency and reliability. Despite its phasing out in the US by the early 2000s, the Chevrolet Lumina has left its mark as a distinct auto in the sedan market and will continue to be a framework for future vehicles.
1990: Replacing the Chevy Celebrity
Introduced as a replacement to the outgoing Celebrity, the Chevrolet Lumina was initially offered with a four-door sedan style. Despite its immediate impact in sales, it was still criticized by the press as being late in the competition with the Ford Taurus. Despite the remarks, Chevy introduced a new coupe body style, which was taught to be a quasi replacement to the Monte Carlo that temporarily stopped in 1988. Aside from this new body type, a high end performance Z34 Lumina was introduced in 1991 as a sports version.
1991: The sportier Z34 Lumina
The Z34's upgraded 3.4-liter dual overhead engine distinguished it from the trim based Lumina. Coupled with either a four-speed automatic transmission or an optional five-speed Getrag transmission, Chevy owners were able to satisfy their need for speed with the car's 200 horsepower and 215 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm.
In terms of aesthetics, a rear spoiler, hood louvers, a ground-effects package, and dual exhaust pipes, were equipped to give the Lumina a sporty look. Not only focusing on the exterior, the new Lumina received refurbished seats with sport bucket types and featured sportier analog gauges. Adding more features to its uniqueness, the interiors of the Lumina also included unconventional settings, such as a dashboard that angled towards the lap and distinct power window switches.
1995: Setting the trend
Despite having the shortest lifespan among GM W-body cars, the Chevrolet Lumina was redeemed when it was the first to receive a major redesign. The second generation was considered a trend-setting age for the Lumina as it featured a distinct independent suspension and a DOHC 3.4 V6 engine, which makes it the only Chevy model to receive one. This engine upgrade boosted capacity to 215 horsepower. The car also became popular to law enforcement agencies and taxi companies because of its reasonable performance and reliability.
1997: Production end in the US
By 1997, the Lumina line had started to phase out, as it was slowly replaced by the Chevy Venture. A year later, the Chevy model shifted its focus into offering a safety-conscious sedan with standard features that include driver and passenger airbags, automatic Daytime Running Lamps (DRL), and a child protection package. In 2001, the Chevrolet Lumina's production ceased in US, two years after the production in Canada stopped. While the models were discontinued, the production of the Chevrolet Lumina continued in certain Asian countries and in Latin America.