2003 Saturn L300 Reviews - Page 6 of 7

2003 Saturn L300 3.0 liter from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 3.0 liter Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired10 miles
Most recent distance8700 miles
Previous carChevrolet Corsica

Summary:

A car that I hope will serve us well for the next ten years

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong with this car in the seven months we have owned it.

General Comments:

My wife and I are very pleased with this car. It has excellent acceleration.

The fit and finish are superb.

We have averaged between 28-35 mpg on a trip from Pennsylvania to western Indiana and back.

The moon roof is an excellent option for summer driving.

The only issues I have are minor. The heating control systems are more complicated than they need to be. The seats are a bit firm for my taste.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th November, 2003

29th Sep 2004, 09:34

You may find that the chrome rims really show off brake dust, more so than the standard wheels.

We recently purchased a 2005 L300, and we really enjoy it. Glad to hear that the mileage is as good as you say... I was concerned about the extra thirst of the V6 but for 2005 the 4-cylinder was dropped.

Good luck with your car and keep us posted!

2003 Saturn L300 LW300 6 cylinder. from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 6 cylinder. Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired54 miles
Most recent distance4888 miles
Previous carVolvo 740

Summary:

It's okay to buy American again--quality-control seems to be back

Faults:

Automatic tailgate latch defective.

General Comments:

Other than really terrible gas mileage (17-18 mpg average), my Saturn wagon far exceeds my expectations of it. I bought it instead of a VW Passat wagon because the Passat runs on premium fuel and the Saturn is recommended to run on the cheapest regular. Of course, I understand that Passat gets far better mileage, so this may be a moot point. But in the long run, I believe the Saturn will prove to be the more economical of the two.

I buy a car and keep it forever. The Saturn's predecessor was a 1989 Volvo station wagon that I bought when it was 3 years old. However, the Volvo had started to become a pain in the assets when it started going through servo motors--power windows, power sunroof, power antenna, etc.--at an alarming rate. And Volvo servo motors are NOT cheap!

I live in Santa Barbara, Calif., which does not have a Saturn dealer. Saturn retailers in Southern California weren't able to find exactly the model I wanted with the color (medium blue) and accessories I wanted (single-disc CD player with cassette player, convenience group and antilock brakes). Since my son is a commercial pilot and it costs me nothing to fly anywhere, I shopped around online and found that Saturn of Denver had exactly the model I wanted, so I ordered it in a process that was surprisingly easy, flew out and took delivery of it, and drove it back home to Santa Barbara.

The weird thing about the Saturn is that I bonded with it immediately. I've owned some majorly cool cars over the years--a 1954 MG-TF, a right-hand drive Mercedes, a Jeep CJ-7 that repaid my kindness by seriously trying to kill me--but I have never become attached to a station wagon before.

The pluses:

--For the money you can't beat a Saturn. It's a truly remarkable value. At least it was in June when I took advantage of dealer and manufacturer incentives to the tune of $4,000--nearly a fifth of the car's MSRP.

--It steers on a dime and gives you nine cents change. Specifically, with its tight turning circle and four-corner visibility, parallel parking is a breeze. Even my wife likes the way the Saturn wagon parks.

--The cargo capacity is far greater than the VW Passat or the Subaru Outback wagon, and while I have nothing to really prove this, I'd swear that the Saturn wagon holds as much effluvia as my enormous Volvo wagon did.

--The 6-cylinder engine kicks ass and takes names. It is as powerful, if not more so, than my aforementioned Volvo turbo. Even when loaded to capacity, you'll find your Saturn 6-cylinder wagon passing everyone on the road going uphill at a steady 70 mph.

The drawbacks:

--The gas mileage. Anything less than 20 mpg in a car of this size is absolutely unforgivable.

--It is the most difficult car to get out of that I've encountered this side of my wife's previous Mazda RX-7. The RX-7 had an excuse--it was low-slung and you sat on the ground. The Saturn isn't. I'm neither too tall nor too fat (5'10", 180 pounds), yet in order to disembark from the Saturn, you've got to do this intricate dance involving bracing your left elbow against the rear doorjamb, then sort of shoving yourself out while holding onto the steering wheel with your right hand. This awkwardness isn't helped by the fact that the automatic door catch doesn't just QUITE hit the mark, with the door either too close to you or way too far away to make things any easier for you.

In short, the abovementioned flaws aren't really that overwhelming when you take the entire car's persona into the picture. The Saturn LW300 wagon is a nice, solid vehicle that I have absolutely no doubt will be serving me well 10 years from now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th October, 2003

14th Sep 2009, 14:27

I don't think you should be so critical of the gas mileage of your LW300. If you really were so critical of the mpg factor, you should have purchased a S-series wagon. But since you live a California lifestyle, everything must be more luxurious, bigger, and better. It's like you chose a Great Dane over a Golden Retriever, you gotta feed the bigger DOG!

4th Dec 2009, 14:53

I own a 2001 LW300 (now 2009, with > 120K miles), and regularly get better than 25 mpg. You must have a short commute (cold engine), or be very heavy on the gas pedal to get such bad mileage?

6th Jan 2010, 08:09

Hi -- original poster here. Well, it's now seven years down the road and I continue to enjoy my Saturn LW300. All these years later, it's fairly low-mileage (49,000), it remains trouble-free and is still fun to drive.

The gas mileage has improved slightly (20 mpg around town, slightly more on trips), which -- now that it's exceeded the 20-mpg point -- I suppose is acceptable.

What amazes me is that at age 7, there's still not a rattle in my Saturn wagon. While I cop to maintaining my Saturn in impeccable condition, it's still like driving a brand-new car. I'm amazed that this kind of quality ever came out of an American car company. I'd given up hope long ago of seeing this kind of American workmanship and reliability.

The irony, of course, is that now that I own a car that I would most definitely buy again, I can't, since it's no longer made.

Note to GM -- you effed up ROYALLY by mis-marketing and abandoning the Saturn. If my LW300 ever dies (which I doubt it will), there's a Subaru in my future.

1st Apr 2013, 15:30

Thank you! This is my second Saturn and I love them! I couldn't believe that GM stopped making the only solid car they had. I'm not sure what kind of car I will get when this baby dies.

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 23 reviews