Used 2001 Saturn L-Series

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2001 Saturn L-Series
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2001 Saturn L-Series

Pros

  • Extremely competitive pricing for this segment, customer-focused dealers, strong powerplant with V6, wagon availability.

Cons

  • Build quality from the Jurassic Period, ultra-conservative styling, lack of established service and repair history.
Saturn L-Series years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

It costs thousands less than comparably equipped Accords and Camrys -- and it looks, drives and feels like it.

vehicle overview

While Saturn enjoys strong customer loyalty with its line of small cars (almost 50 percent return to buy another Saturn), GM researchers found that when owners move on, they most often move up to a midsize vehicle. So a medium-sized entry makes perfect sense for both Saturn and its loyal customer base. Enter the Saturn L-Series, American-built Opel-based sedans and wagons designed and priced to compete with top imports such as Toyota's Camry and Honda's Accord.

With an overall length of just over 190 inches, the L-Series slots nicely between the segment-leading Camry Sedan and the Ford Taurus. Saturn has changed the L-Series trim level nomenclature slightly for 2001 to avoid confusion with the S-Series model names. Available as base L100, midlevel L200 or top-line L300 Sedans as well as fully equipped LW200 or upmarket LW300 Wagons, all models include air conditioning, four-wheel independent suspension, theft-deterrent system, and front disc/rear drum brakes (disc/disc standard on the 300 models; ABS with traction control is optional).

Inside, the L-Series features a spacious interior with logical, easy-to-use controls. Seats have been designed for all-day comfort. Sedans offer 17.5 cubic feet of trunk space, which is about 3.5 cubic feet more than you'll find in either Camry or Accord. With the rear seats folded, cargo capacity in the wagon is 79 cubic feet - this is 10 more cubic feet than the Subaru Legacy wagon offers and 2 cubic feet less than the Taurus wagon's capacity. Unlike other Saturns, the L-Series has steel quarter panels (remember, this is built off an Opel platform); nevertheless, engineers were able to fit Saturn's signature dent-resistant polymer panels for the doors and fenders. We're hoping that Saturn will take more care in the assembly of its L-Series cars, as 2000 models suffered widely from ill-fitting panels and wavy plastic bodywork.

A pair of DOHC four-valve engines are offered: a Saturn-exclusive 2.2-liter, 137-horsepower four-cylinder with twin balance shafts, and a 3.0-liter, 182-horse V6. The four is standard on L100, L200 and LW200 and comes with a five-speed manual transmission. An electronically controlled four-speed automatic is optional. The V6 is available only in the L300 and LW300 and must be mated to an auto-box. Though the mandatory automatic may not please sport sedan/wagon wannabes, we've found this transmission to be quite savvy - it never picks the wrong gear.

Saturn wanted the L-Series suspension to provide a balance between a smooth ride and European-like handling - this balance holds up until the car is pushed on rough or undulating roads. And while our editors have praised the responsive steering feel in the past, we've also noted that response becomes sluggish during spirited driving on canyon roads.

A head curtain airbag system - for both front and rear passengers - has been added to the option list for all 2001 L-Series cars. When electronic sensors along the sides of the vehicle detect an impact, the bag drops from the roof rail and unfolds as it inflates. Saturn says that the system will help reduce the severity of head and neck injuries incurred by occupants involved in side-impact crashes. While we approve of this timely safety upgrade (timely indeed, since the 2000 L-Series earned a "poor" rating in the "side impact front" category) we would still like Saturn to add seat-mounted side airbags to protect against torso injuries. We're pleased to see that Saturn has added a three-point seatbelt for the rear center passenger in its L-Series sedan, but we don't understand why the wagons were denied this important safety feature. Saturn claims that its L-Series wagons compete against offerings from Volvo, Subaru, Volkswagen and Audi, but all of these brands offer a standard three-point belt in the center of the rear seat.

Unquestionably, a fully loaded L-Series car offers excellent dollar value (though you will pay the no-haggle MSRP regardless of demand) when compared with similarly equipped Accords, Camrys and Passats - but the Saturn doesn't meet its peers' established standards for build quality and interior materials. Decide whether you're willing to make these concessions before you buy.

2001 Highlights

The Saturn L-Series sedans and wagons didn't exactly set the world on fire when they were introduced in 2000, but they return for 2001 virtually unchanged. Saturn has addressed safety concerns by making front and rear head curtain airbags optional on all trim levels. All sedans are now equipped with a three-point seatbelt in the rear center seat, but this feature is still not available in wagons. Later in the model year, sedans will get an emergency trunk release handle. New colors include Cream White, Bright Silver, Silver Blue and Straight Shade Black. Bright White, Silver, Silver Plum and Blackberry have been discontinued.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Saturn L-Series.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

If you buy this car, read this
hannabanana,01/02/2013
There is a design flaw on the timing chain tensioner. Anywhere from 80k miles to 150k miles, it usually breaks. This is a 30.00 part. But if you don't know about it, and you don't fix it, the car will "jump time", and when this happens, it almost certainly will destroy the top part of your engine. This will cost about 2k to fix. If you own one, get it down to the shop and get that part changed. You will be sorry if you don't. In my town, the junk yard is full of these L series Saturns. They all look nice, but they are sitting there rotting. I had a S series, and it was the best car I ever owned. This L series, not so much!
Saturn Buyers Beware
troubled18,04/10/2013
If your thinking of buying this model vehicle DON'T. Hands down the worst car I have ever owned. It WILL suck every penny you have out of you. These cars have the weakest commuters in any car I am aware of. Just change a battery, alternator, or just put a battery charger on it and you can burn out the BCM (Body Control Module). Diagnosing the problem will be the first problem then there is the $600 to replace it. Subframe built by SAAB with a curved muffler $400 for muffler only. Poor design on the oiler that keeps timing chain oiled+interferance motor=t-chain jump & replace motor, used $1000, new $2500. Heater fan,switch, and repair melted under sized connector in the dash $400. Just say NO
Change your timing chain!
Mike S,09/03/2006
I needed a new car, and heard a lot of good things from other Saturn owners. We took delivery of this car with just under 17k on the odometer. For the first 21/2 years it was a very reliable car. There were 2 recalls on this car and this was taken care of with no problems. We did oil changes and all suggested maintenance on time. One day I was driving to work and the car was acting a little sluggish but did not seem to be running rough or anything. I parked the car at work and when I came out it would not start. I had it towed to the deaer and was told that it was the timing chain and would cost $1100 to fix. Many other Saturn owners have had this problem at around 70 to 80k miles
A Lemon!
var5592,05/15/2011
Upon purchasing this car I found that the previous owner had replaced the engine. I heard of this engine having issues yet I doubted it would actually blow due to the list of issues that plague these engines. After one year of ownership, the engine blew due to a random rod busting through the block. The second engine only had 40,000 put on it upon purchase and then another 30,000 put on by me during the year. Awesome car besides the shoddy craftmanship.
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Features & Specs

MPG
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
135 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
21 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
135 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
182 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
135 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 2001 Saturn L-Series features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Poor
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Poor
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2001 Saturn L-Series
Used 2001 Saturn L-Series Overview

The Used 2001 Saturn L-Series is offered in the following submodels: L-Series Sedan, L-Series Wagon. Available styles include L200 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 4A), L100 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 4A), L300 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 4A), LW300 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 4A), LW200 4dr Wagon (2.2L 4cyl 4A), L100 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M), and L200 4dr Sedan (2.2L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2001 Saturn L-Series?

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Which used 2001 Saturn L-Serieses are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2001 Saturn L-Seriess you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Saturn L-Series for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,105.

Find a used Saturn for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $19,239.

Find a used certified pre-owned Saturn L-Series for sale - 2 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $18,192.

Find a used certified pre-owned Saturn for sale - 10 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $25,245.

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Should I lease or buy a 2001 Saturn L-Series?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Saturn lease specials
Check out Saturn L-Series lease specials