Let’s face it. Saturn is known for producing affordable, small vehicles with plain-Jane features. However, the L-Series ventures into the midsize, semiluxury class. The Series consists of the LS sedan designated as the LS, LS1, and LS2, and the LW1 and LW2 wagon. The sedan enters the competitive midsize market with the likes of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, while the wagon is an alternative to SUVs and competes with wagons from Volkswagen, Audi, Volvo, and Subaru. Both vehicles have features consistent with other midsized vehicles such as four-wheel independent suspension, antilock brakes, and leather seats. Electronic traction control is optional equipment for both vehicles.

The L-Series is powered by either a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 137 hp at 8,500 rpm, or a 3.0-liter V6 providing 182 hp at 5,600 rpm. A five-speed tranny is standard on the LS and LS1 versions. A computer-controlled four-speed automatic is standard on the LS2, LW1, and LW2.

The MacPherson strut front suspension includes a 20-mm-diameter stabilizer bar mounted to the front subframe for stability. The rear suspension is a multilink independent system with two unequal length lateral control links per side to minimize movement. A single longitudinal link on each side gives fore and aft control for improved impact feel. The front struts and rear shocks are gas pressurized with multistage controlled hydraulic shock valves for increased tuning ability. The struts and shock absorbers are calibrated to damp wheel and body motions and cushion jolts.

An oil-life monitor senses when oil is near the end of its useful life and notifies the driver with a “change oil” message, which displays for 15 sec when the engine starts. This system customizes oil changes based upon driving habits, eliminating unnecessary changes and reminding forgetful drivers.