2002 Saturn L300 3.0 Liter L-81 from North America
The 2002 Saturn L-300 is a profound disappointment; an embarrassment to General Motors
Replaced 4 tires three times in 56,000 miles.
Replaced cradle mount bushings.
Replaced torsion bar supports.
Center console cover replaced twice.
Replaced thermostat (dealer) for $630!!
The Saturn L-300 is a stylish, moderately comfortable car (but not on long trips) for a family, however the rear leg room leaves much to be desired for a mid-sized car. The car has a high (uncomfortable) level of road noise.
Most disappointing is the L-300's suspension. Excessive tire wear has required tire replacements averaging every 15,000 miles. Alignment problems abound with this vehicle. Front end suspension problems included excessive vibration, shaking steering wheel and grinding noises on turns.
Maintenance costs also seem excessive for this vehicle. Notably, the cost to replace simple things like thermostats and brakes runs in the $500-$600 range. Interior plastic parts break often and make the car feel cheap.
Saturn's one bright spot is their service and attitude; they really seem to want to make things right; there's far too many opportunities for them to show this however.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 18th April, 2006
I own an Saturn LW300 with "sport-tuned suspension," now with 90,000 miles. It is quiet and comfortable on long trips. Tire life has been over 35,000 miles, including the OEM tires.
It lost two front wheel bearings and a transmission solenoid, thankfully under extended warranty.
Does this car have a fundamental problem? Yes, the same as any modern transverse-engine car. They are designed for easy assembly, not easy maintenance, so don't be shocked at the time it takes or the cost to do even supposedly simple things. Overall, I'd rate the car about average. I'll keep it till the wheels fall off or I find a comparable wagon.
I have just changed the alternator, for which I removed the passenger-side wheel for access, and rotated the axle into position so that the fluted axle shaft had a flute on top, so I could maneuver the new alternator into position.
Also here in Northern Ohio winters, the rear calipers are susceptible to crud buildup inside the pad pockets. I changed one rear rotor that had rusted due to a stuck pad. (I still need to clean out the other rear caliper pockets.) The rear pads are held in by pins, so they get tapped out with a pin punch.
When doing a front brake job, I cleaned and lubricated the bolt pins (Some parts stores include the proper grease in their better pad kits). They were not originally lubricated. Also, one caliper bolt was loctited in, so had to be heated with a torch to get it out.