I bought a 2001 Saturn L300 and have been disapointed with several defects. At 82,000 miles my Mass air flow sensor has gone bad, the door locks are very weak in the way they operate, the power steering pump leaks, the oil pan leaks, the engine block has a slow anti-freeze leak, something in the steering is jerky when turning, and two days ago my car wouldn't start. I had it towed to the dealer and the service manager said they can't find the problem yet. It might be the ECM module, or maybe the fuel pump is bad. I do like my car, but I still owe $8,000 on it so I will keep it until it's paid off or untill I can't stand it anymore. I should have gotten an extended warranty. Good luck Saturn owners from disgruntled in Ogden Utah.
I purchased a Saturn L200 from Saturn of Columbia, SC. Also have had several disappointing visits to their service department. Some warranty and some not. The customer service is horrible and they aren't very good at admitting mistakes. My wife had the car in there Saturday 2/26/05 because one of her tail lights went out. They ended up replacing both tail light assemblies for around $280. We got the car back, and while she was driving it on Saturday night, only a few hours later, the tail lights failed again and now the instrument panel is out as well.
I dread having to have her take the car back there, but feel they should be responsible for this, since the charged us and did not fix the problem. I'm sure I'll get the run around again as usual. They feel they can't do anything wrong, and seem to blame everything on the customer. I've met several people who purchased from this store that have had similar problems. The cars are lemons; just read about them on-line.
Saturn.com always gives me the same story about the stores are franchised and they have no say. But this is a well known problem with these cars that Saturn refuses to address. No more Saturn's for this family.
I own a 2002 L300 and while I was initially satisfied, my feelings have changed.
My headlights died due to a failure in the dash computer system. Quite a problem when you're attempting to make your way back home from 50 miles away at night!
I also experienced a problem with the Oil Cooler. After researching online, I discovered that this seems to be a common problem for this model. Unfortunately, Saturn has never issued a recall for it. So, unless your car is under warranty, you're looking at a costly repair.
While I enjoyed the Saturn buying experience, reliability will be an important factor when I choose my next new vehicle.
As I write this in May 2005, the L300 has been discontinued. Most critics agree that Saturn's first venture into the mid-sized sedan market has been a disappointment. I'm sure Saturn expected a longer shelf life for this model. Couple that with less than stellar reviews regarding the Ion and Relay mini-van and it would appear that Saturn needs to go back to the drawing board.
Just because it wasn't a popular car doesn't mean it was a disappointment. The car was never marketed successfully by GM, and it's in an awfully competitive segment. Overall I think those that can appreciate the car for its European handling characteristics are very satisfied... and it's nice to stand out amid a sea of boring Accords and Camrys.
Yes, the oil cooler is a common issue on the V6 L-series, but that and your computer issue isn't too bad in over three years of driving. It may not be as solid as a Camry, but for those of us that can appreciate it, it drives rings around the Camry, and offers more value per dollar.
The L was a strange combination of a German chassis, Saab-derived brakes and suspension, and an British (at least the Vauxhall-based 3.0 V6) engine. Altogether it made a very European sedan wrapped in a nondescript American wrapper, marketed by a brand known for its economy cars. Sometimes GM does weird things (Aztek, anyone?).
My final word is to not discount Saturn just because of the limited success of the L-series. The replacement car, called the AURA, will be in dealers in '06...and it is stunning!
We have an L300. In the last seven months we have been forced to replace the fuel pump, the fuel filter, the water pump, the transmission filter, the serpentine belt, the timing belt, the battery, the spark plugs, the oxygen sensors, the coolant bottle and the temp sensor. We are talking about thousands of dollars, and that is some done by us, some done by our mechanic, and very little done by Saturn. So if done by Saturn, ours would have run at least double what we have already paid.
Every sensor that trips the warning light is a fortune from Saturn JUST TO FIND OUT WHAT IS WRONG, and I am not talking about the actual repair. Their parts prices are triple and more what any other part would be in any other car, and they have not helped out by making any available through auto parts stores.
This car is very nice WHEN IT WORKS, but when it fails it is a nightmare to fix, and that nightmare is ONLY caused by the manner with which Saturn "assists" you and the information available for home repair. They have gone to extremes in their pricing of replacement parts, and I can only assume they are seriously attempting to make people get rid of the car once it gets old. Saturn does not want to hear about anything that is wrong with the L series beyond 65,000 miles. How's that for a long term commitment?
We will never, ever buy a car from Saturn again, and we tell everyone we come across not to. It is a very bad idea, they don't care or try with regard to their product, and they purposely work to make your repairs as difficult as they can possible be.
It makes a person seriously consider never buying American again. We are back to the terrible cars of the seventies, and it is only getting worse.
May 11 2006
Wow I agree with the L300 series. I have had nothing, but trouble with mine since I bought it in 2002. In fact it's been the same problem over and over again. Saturn's service employees have had my car 3 times for weeks on end, and always end up not knowing whats wrong with my car. So if any of you have any suggestions please e-mail me. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks Unhappy Customer.
You want suggestions for a problem you didn't even describe?
It's probably the air freshener.
I purchased a 2001 Saturn L 300 and have had it in the dealership on and off for the past 2 years with the same problem of the car turning over, but not catching. My car is presently in the Saturn shop again, they found the problem and it dates back to a recall on electrical system: ignition module, also they are checking the recall on the power train and tail lights, look it up under Saturn recalls 2001 L 300 series. The ignition module can lead to fire underneath the car.