Saturn used to focus on the small car segment of the automotive market. After spending many years in this segment, this General Motor’s marque plunged into a new territory—the mid-size sedan circle dominated by the likes of Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Competition in this vehicle class is stiff, and Saturn’s venture into this segment wasn’t easy. To compete in a crowded vehicle class segment, Saturn came out with the L-series, which brought a good number of models and variants including the Saturn LS1. This was meant to be inexpensive yet reliable. Like all L-series vehicles, it was designed to be a comfortable mid-size ride.
2000: The birth of the Saturn LS1 from the L-Series
Mid-size sedans and station wagons from Saturn’s L-Series were initially launched as 2000 models. These L-Series vehicles were based on the Opel Vectra B. They were powered by straight-4 and V6 engines and designed with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic transmission.
For the year 2000, the L-Series came out with five models: the 4-cylinder LS and LS1/LW1 and the V6-powered LS2/LW2. The base LS was only available as a sedan; there was no station wagon alternative for this model. The LS sedan came with 5-speed manual transmission. Its basic features included manual windows and locks, AM/FM stereo, and air-conditioning. The LS1 and LW1, on the other hand, were equipped with power windows, heated mirrors, and locks with keyless entry, among other convenient features. Meanwhile, the LS2 and LW2 came with fog lights and a more powerful V6 engine. They were designed with a 4-speed automatic transmission, which later became an option for 4-cylinder models. Anti-lock brakes with traction control were available to all L-Series models as an option.
2001: New model designations for the Saturn LS1 and other L-Series vehicles
In 2001, L-Series vehicles got new model designations. The LS1 became known as the L200. The base LS was called the L100, and the LS2 became L300. LW1 became known as LW200 and LW2 as LW300. All these L-Series models had a larger fuel tank around this time. The tank could accommodate 15.7 US gal. Shoulder belts for the center rear seat position also became a standard. Later on, head curtain side airbags were added.
2005: The final year of the Saturn LS1 and other L-Series models
Unfortunately, the L-Series didn’t stay long in the market. The line was cancelled by General Motors for 2005. This became the final model year for the LS1 and other L-Series models. Low sales prompted the cancellation of this line. Saturn’s L-Series was replaced by the Saturn Aura, which was unveiled in 2006 as a 2007 model. This was based on the Epsilon platform, a platform that was also used by the Pontiac G6 and the Opel Vectra C.