The SW2 was part of Saturn's first ever series of vehicles and first line of compact cars--the S-series. This series debuted in the market in 1990 with the SL (sedan level) model. Two years after, the lineup expanded with the introduction of the SC, a 2-door sports coupe. It was in 1993 when the SW became part of the S-Series. The SW designation stands for "sedan wagon."
1993: The SW2 joined Saturn's S-Series lineup
By the time it was introduced, the Saturn SW2 was mechanically identical to its SL2 counterpart. Power was delivered by a DOHC 1.9L I4 LL0 engine producing 85 horsepower. This powertrain was offered with either a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission. The automatic transmission came with a kind of performance setting that delivered crisper shifts at a higher RPM. There was also a setting for traction which ensured more controlled take-offs. With such setting, the transmission stayed in 2nd gear from a stop.
In 1995, the interior of the Saturn SW2 was redesigned to make way for dual airbags and a new dashboard. The transmissions for DOHC-equipped models were also modified to improve acceleration, while models with SOHC engine were enhanced to achieve better fuel economy.
1996: The redesigned Saturn SW2
For the 1996 model year, the SW2 was redesigned, making it sport a more curvaceous body. This redesign also resulted in a more spacious interior and bigger doorway size. The biggest modification done to the 1996 S-series was the OBDII PCM, modern sequential fuel injection setup that made use of the first ever "compress sense" cam sensor set up.
In mid-1998 model year, only minor changes were given to the S-series, which included a new cluster featuring a digital odometer. The transmission also received a new ECU software and a new larger muffler was installed to minimize the NVH levels in the engine exhaust. Models produced in late 1999 got engine improvements. Both SOHC and DOHC engines were improved to reduce the harshness without affecting the drivetrain's power output.
2000: The face-lifted and final Saturn SW2
The final SW2 that was made for the 2000 model year was facelifted. It got a lot of style changes both in the exterior and interior; it received mechanical and electronic modifications as well. The cabin was given a new dashboard and a new stereo, making the third-generation the first and only S-series to be fitted with a standard sized Double DIN stereo. The interior also got a redesigned set of seats.
The third-generation S-Series also took pride in being the first Saturn to be fitted with a Body Control Module or BCM that worked hand in hand with a Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The BCM was in charge of the interior functions while the PCM was strictly designed for controlling the engine and the transmission.