As part of the first vehicle series from Saturn Corporation, the Saturn SL1 is a compact family car that is very much distinct compared to other automobiles from General Motors Company. It is due to its spaceframe design where the side panels do not carry any load, allowing them to be made of polymer materials instead of metal. These polymer panels are resistant to dents and rust, making the Saturn SL1 run 12 decent years in the market from 1991 to 2002.
1991: Saturn’s first
The Saturn S-Series was introduced into the market as the make’s first vehicle series the year 1991. It came with four trim levels to accommodate different needs and tastes: the base sedan level (SL), SL1, SL2, and sports coupe. The Saturn SL1 trim level was characterized by an SOHC 1.9L I4 engine which gave it a power of 85 hp. It was run by a five-speed manual transmission which contributes to its fuel efficiency of 37 mpg. The first models also came with alloy wheels for higher torque. By this time, it already had acoustic insulated passenger compartments as well as climate controls, making it a safe choice as a family car during the time.
1996: A softer and smoother SL1
The year 1996 brought about major changes in how the Saturn SL1 looked and performed. It had a facelift that made it look round due to its smoother edges, larger interior, and improved doorway size. Aside from its appearance, foremost performance enhancements were done with the addition of various systems such as the OBDII powertrain control module. This system uses an electronic control unit to manage a series of actuators in the engine. These actuators allow the computer to control the way the engine works depending on driving situations. Also by 1996, the Saturn SL1 already had a traction control for its transmission system, providing enhanced driver control and smoother handling. Another improvement was the use of sequential-port fuel injectors instead of multiport injectors. This change allowed better fuel economy with faster engine response and less emission.
1999: A quieter run
The Saturn SL1’s engine had some noticeable upgrades in the year 1999. However, these improvements did not bring about major changes in the engine’s output performance. Instead, it made driving the compact family sedan with less noise, vibrations, and emissions with improved fuel efficiency. Part of the changes were revised pistons for more solid fuel combustion, improved connecting rods for a more efficient engine performance, and crankshaft counterweight that promote firmer grip on the pistons.
2002: The end of the road
2002 is the last year of production for the whole Saturn S-Series. This is to give way to a Saturn Ion which proved to be more appealing to the consumers. The last models of the Saturn SL1 features 15-inch aluminum wheels, head curtain airbags, lower-body panels, and fresh front fascias. By this time, it already carried the OnStar Communication System, a system General Motors developed to provide different communication features such as in-vehicle security, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, subscription-based communications, and remote diagnostics systems.