2001 SL1 New Car Test Drive
Saturn's S-Series cars are popular among people who are seeking value and a pleasant ownership experience.
These compact sedans and wagon were redesigned for 2000, which brought significant improvements to help make the driving experience smoother and quieter. They carry over little changed for 2001. The biggest news is the availability of optional front- and rear head-level air bags.
The Saturn S-Series was the car that put Spring Hill, Tennessee, on the map. Debuting in 1990, it was a new car, a new way of thinking, and an attempt by General Motors to breathe life into its flagging small car business. By most accounts, the S-Series has been wildly successful, even though the Saturn division hasn't been profitable. But Saturn owners don't care about GM's bottom-line; they only care that whenever they return to their favorite Saturn dealership they're greeted warmly and are made to feel good about their purchase. This is why Saturn customers keep going back.
These cars do indeed offer value. Saturn has been winning accolades for high resale values and its cars are regarded for low maintenance and repair costs. Prices range from about $11,000 to a tad over $14,000.
Buying one brings the owner into the Saturn family, in which you are treated with courtesy throughout the buying process. The results prove that this system works; Saturn has been named best overall nameplate in sales satisfaction by the J.D. Power and Associates research firm again and again. But that's only the beginning. When it's time for service, you are welcomed back warmly. There are even picnics and other family gatherings.
Saturn's S-Series comes in coupe, sedan, and a wagon body styles.
Saturn's sedan lineup consists of the SL ($10,570), SL1 ($11,485), and SL2 ($12,895). Saturn SC coupes include the ($12,535) and SC2 ($15,645). There's also a wagon, the SW2 wagon ($14,290).
One way to keep the nomenclature straight is to remember that the number in the model designation stands for the number of camshafts: For example, the SL1 sedan comes with a single-cam engine (sohc), while the SL2 is powered by a more powerful twin-cam (dohc) engine. The wagon only comes with the twin-cam engine.