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2003 Saturn L200 Road Test

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Khatir Soltani

2003 Saturn L200 - Something Different from GM's Alternative Car Brand

What a nice car. That's all I could think about as I slipped behind the wheel of Saturn's flagship L-Series. I've driven pretty well every Saturn model since the GM division's inception and the L is by far its best effort yet.

The fit, finish and tactile quality of interior bits and pieces initially made a good first impression. Its switchgear clicks with much greater precision than the ION, general interior design is attractive, it's filled with functional features and the seats are comfortable - especially the 2-way heated cushions of my test car.

But wait a minute. Anyone who has read my Saturn reviews knows that I'm not one to hold back if I don't like something. And truth be told, the L200 isn't perfect - I'll get to these items in a minute. What's more, the midsize model is up against some of the best vehicles available today, dollar for dollar, so it will be important to compare and see how it stacks up.

From a styling perspective Saturn has done a good job. It has a European flare, similar from some angles to a Saab, which makes sense considering they're not only second cousins twice removed but sold from the same Saturn Saab Isuzu dealerships. That said there's a little Subaru influence in the grille. The L200's front overhangs are quite long, bucking a current trend, which highlights its chrome grille and bold headlamp clusters. The taillights are especially nice looking, appearing much more upscale than the model's $23,480 base price leads on - a current Saturn trait. It's easily as attractive as the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, the market leaders in this class, but that is obviously subject to the eye of the beholder.

Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada