Saturn Automobile Information
The Saturn S-Series
- The first car sold by Saturn was known as the S-Series. It was available as a sedan (the SL), coupe (the SC) and two years later as a station wagon (the SW). The Saturn S-Series was a compact car that employed a front engine/front wheel-drive layout. The car was built on GM's Z Platform, which was developed by Saturn and later shared with other GM models, including several Pontiacs. Over its thirteen year run, the S-Series was continually upgraded with new features and options to keep it competitive with similarly priced small cars from Honda and Toyota.
One of the most notable features of the Saturn S-Series was its use of plastic body panels. Besides reducing cost and weight, these panels were resistant to dents, a fact that Saturn touted in its advertising. Another unique element of the S-Series, arriving with the coupe model of 1999, was a small, rear-hinged door behind the driver's side door to allow easier access to the car's rear seats.
The Saturn Ion and Astra
- In 2003, Saturn began selling the Ion as a replacement to its S-Series. The Saturn Ion was built on GM's new universal Delta platform. The Ion was available as a four-door sedan as well as a four-door quad coupe with small rear doors like those that debuted on the 1999 SC. The Ion was sold with a choice of several inline-four cylinder engines. Both manual and automatic transmissions were also available, along with a continuously variable transmission on certain Ion models.
Sales of the Ion never matched those of the S-Series and it was discontinued in 2007. The new Saturn Astra, which was built by GM in Europe as the Opel Astra, replaced the Ion. The Astra was a compact hatchback with three or five doors built on the same Delta platform as the Ion. Saturn Astra sales were wear in 2008 and no 2009 models were imported.
- In 2002, Saturn ventured into the Sport Utility Vehicle market with the Saturn Vue. This compact SUV was the first car to utilize GM's Theta platform. The Vue was offered with an inline-four cylinder engine, as well as an optional V6 engine and later as a gas/electric hybrid (known as the Vue Green Line). The Vue quickly became Saturn's best-selling vehicle and was updated in terms of appearance and features for the 2008 model year.
Joining the Vue in Saturn;s SUV lineup was the Saturn Outlook in 2007. The Outlook was a full-size SUV that took the place of the failed Saturn Relay minivan, sold only between 2005 and 2007. The Outlook included seating for eight as well as folding seats to allow for a large storage capacity. The Saturn Outlook was powered by a V6 engine. Both the Vue and Outlook were offered with two- or four-wheel drive.
The Saturn Sky
- In 2006, Saturn began selling its first sports car, the Saturn Sky roadster. The Sky used GM's Kappa platform and closely resembled the Pontiac Solstice roadster, with which it shared many parts. Besides strong sales, the Sky had the added benefit of acting as a "halo vehicle," bringing a renewed interest to the entire Saturn lineup.
The Sky featured a front engine/rear-wheel drive layout typical of most sports cars. It was also available in a special performance-oriented Red Line version. The Sky Red Line came with a 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine that was rated at 260 horsepower and gave the Sky a top speed of over 140mph.
Other Saturn Models
- In 2000, Saturn added the L-Series to its lineup as a line of mid-size sedans and station wagons. Offered with a series of four- and six-cylinder engines, the L-Series never sold well and was replaced by the Saturn Aura in 2006. The Aura was only available as a 4-door sedan in a front engine/front-wheel drive layout. Sales were far superior to those of the L-Series and the Aura was named the North American Car of the Year in 2007. Saturn sold the Aura in base level XE trim as well as an XR premium package, The Aura XR featured a 3.6 liter V6 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, special 18-inch alloy wheels, a premium audio system, and available leather seating.
A hybrid Green Line Aura was sold in 2007, but low levels of customer interest led GM to discontinue the hybrid after only one year of production.