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  Home : Cars : S-Series Model Year History  [ Save | Forward ]

S-Series Model Year History
Charting the Changes

The list below represents a history of changes made to Saturn's S-Series line of sedans, coupes, and wagons throughout their production run. Please note, that this is a work-in-progress. Similar lists are also being developed for the Ion, L-Series, and Vue.

If you have any additions, clarifications, or comments, please send me a note via e-mail.

1991 to '92:

  • Added upper engine mount for reduced noise and vibration
  • Revised seat-inset fabric (SL2, SC)
  • Polished alloy wheels with painted "geartooth" pattern (SL2, SC)
  • "Teardrop" alloy wheel available (SL2, SC)
  • Optional rear spoiler added (SL2, SC2)
  • Leather interior available (SL2, SC)
  • Aquamarine added (SC)
  • Light Blue (SL1) and Bright Blue (SC) dropped

Late '92 Changes:

  • Driver's side airbag available (Note: initially airbag-equipped cars did not get cruise control until new cruise switches designed)
  • Windshield washer spray nozzles moved from hood to cowl
  • Teardrop alloy wheel dropped (SL2)

1992 to '93:

  • SC1, SW1, SW2 added; SC renamed SC2
  • Updated front bumper with optional fog lamp (SL2)
  • Updated rear bumper (SL2)
  • Optional spoiler "raised" to allow easier cleaning (SL2, SC2)
  • Alloy wheels made optional (SL2)
  • "Teardrop" alloy wheel replaces "geartooth" wheel (SC2)
  • Softer tires and suspension tuning (SL2)
  • Fuel gauge reads correctly even with power off
  • Oil pressure gauge dropped (SL2, SC2)
  • Outside mirrors left unpainted (SL2)
  • Driver's side airbag made standard
  • Traction Control added to ABS option with Automatic
  • Gold and Plum added; Beige dropped

1993 to '94:

  • Air conditioning goes CFC-free
  • Further revised engine mounts for even smoother, quiet ride
  • Added security feature to power locks
  • Tan leather seats available (SW2, SC2)
  • "Sawtooth" alloy wheel option replaces "geartooth" wheel (SL2, SC1, SW2)
  • Alloy wheels made optional (SC2)
  • Revised gearing improves acceleration (SL, SL1, SC1, SW1)
  • Medium Blue-Green replaced Blue-Green. Silver and Black fade away.
  • Two-tone paint combos (red over silver, silver over grey) dropped

Late '94:

  • The limited edition 'SL2 Homecoming Sedan' (HCS) bowed. Only 3500 were made. Each featured special pearl paint, grey leather/cloth seats, blacked out emblems, and teardrop wheels from the SC2.
  • Power steering option added (SL) (Note: Some older SLs received power steering at no cost when manual steering components were in short supply)
  • Black Gold and Light Plum added; Grey and Medium Blue deleted
1994 to '95:

  • SL2-style front bumper applied to SC1
  • Streamlined front fascia (SC2)
  • Full-width reflex panel added (SC2)
  • Optional fog lamps added (SC1, SC2)
  • "Teardrop II" alloy wheel replaced Teardrop optional wheel (SC2)
  • All-new dashboard with dual airbags
  • All-new radio options, including a trunk-mounted CD changer (due mid-year)
  • New seat designs and fabrics (SC1, SC2)
  • Rear passenger vents removed (SC1, SC2)
  • Rear brakes stay drums with ABS (SL, SL1, SC1, SW1, SW2)
  • Single cam engine gets port fuel injection (SL, SL1, SC1, SW1)
  • Revised compression rings reduce oil and fuel consumption, emissions
  • Full-power steering replaces variable speed steering (SL1, SC1, SW1)
  • Power-steering no longer available (SL)

Mid-year '95:

  • Plum replaced by Dark Green
  • Purple added for SC2

New Models for '96:

  • Revised frame: fewer welded parts (270 reduced to 250), increased structural rigidity, 2 inches taller (1.7 inches more headroom), 0.5 inches longer, 0.9 inches narrower. (SL, SL1, SL2, SW1, SW2)
  • All-new exterior styling, including integrated drip rail (SL, SL1, SL2, SW1, SW2)
  • All-new seats, including extra 4 degrees back angle in rear bench (SL, SL1, SL2, SW1, SW2)
  • Sound deadening added to door panels in the form of 3M Thinsulate.
  • All-new door trim and other interior items--everything except dashboard (SL, SL1, SL2, SW1, SW2)
  • Rear defrost switch can operate in an auto-off timer mode or manual-off mode.
  • New headlamps mount turn signals to outside of assembly
  • Daytime Running Lights are now standard (U.S.)
  • Cargo cover standard (SW2)
  • Optional ABS includes Traction Control (Manual Transmission)
  • Revised fuzzy logic for Performance mode (Automatic Transmission)
  • Optional Power Door Locks include Remote Keyless Entry
  • Revised CA/NY/MA Emission requirements (close-coupled mini catalytic converters in exhaust header)
  • ODBII Powertrain computer diagnostics
  • Composite valve cover (SL2, SC2, SW2)
  • Narrower Firestone Affinity 185/60R-15 tires (SL2, SW2)
  • Revised control arm bushings and tighter strut valves for better ride
  • Silver returns as a color option. Black-Gold and Purple available on sedans.
  • Switch to steel panel from fiberglass for roof (SW1, SW2)

Changes for Late '96:

  • The 'SC2 Classic' was released as a limited-edition coupe in Black, with a Red stripe, Grey Leather interior, special Saturn badges (the black badges of the Homecoming Edition rather than the traditional red logo) and all the bells and whistles (e.g. power windows, etc.)
  • A new color was added, light green.

Changes for '97:

  • New coupe debuts.
  • Black interiors will be available in sedans; grey will be available in coupes.
  • The Remote Keyless Entry system will include a new panic feature, in case of emergency.
  • Fog lamps, no longer available on SC1, will be standard on the SC2.
  • Rear Spoiler will be standard on the '97 Coupe.
  • A new in-dash CD player will be added to the radio options, as an alternative to the trunk mounted CD changer. (might be of particular note for prospective Wagon buyers).
  • A new color was added, blue.

1997 to '98:

  • Reduced force air bags
  • Automatic transmissions are recalibrated; Norm/Perf switch removed
  • New wheel covers and alloy wheels on the SL2, SW2, and SC1
  • New interiors (tan and grey)
  • New removable headrests
  • Alarm that will arm itself
  • Dome light will shut itself off if left on
  • Trunk release will be mechanical, not electrical
  • Ski rack on SWs (retailer installed)
  • Cars will have improved emissions that will make all models comply with future government standards
  • Colors: Silver Plum (new), Black (returned Spring 97), Medium Blue, (introduced Spring 97), Bright Red (will be available on the SCs only)

Midyear '98:

  • Prices are reduced
  • The special edition pearl white color of the famed '94 Homecoming SL2 (HCS) is offered for a second time on 4800 '98 SL2 and SC2s. The paint costs an extra $150. Unlike the HCS, these cars feature Saturn's traditional red emblems and standard uplevel interior fabrics (the HCS had a leather/fabric seating areas).
  • Red or white SC2 coupes with black roofs were sold for a limited time. White faced gauges, black mirrors, black Homecoming emblems, black pin stripes, and Teardrop II alloy wheels with black accent paint were standard. The package was a $225 option.
  • A new grey bronze color was sold on specially equipped SL1s and SW1s. The cars featured body colored bumpers, black Saturn emblems, and new "double-spoke" wheel covers. The package cost $75.
  • Dark blue is dropped from the SC1, SC2, SW1, SW2 color pallet. SL1s and SL2s continue to be offered in the distinct hue.
  • A new digital odometer replaces both the old analog odometer and trip odometer.

Changes for Late '98:

  • The exhaust system is redesigned to reduce noise.

1998 to '99:

  • Increase in windshield washer bottle volume to one gallon.
  • Powertrain improvements.
  • New optical alloy wheel, and new standard wheel cover for SC2; c/o SC1 wheel cover.
  • 100% rear drum brakes on all vehicles (eliminate rear disc brakes on SL2, SC2 with ABS).
  • Improved suspension dampers for a smoother ride.
  • New exterior colors: blackberry and green.
  • New fabric on SC2 (Rotini).
  • New seat belt retractor with load limit.
  • New belt guide for LH front seat (coupe only).
  • Front seat belt inboard latch extended 24mm.
  • Roller follower valve train on DOHC for improved fuel economy.
  • Longer powder metal connecting rods and piston changes.
  • New 8-counterweight crankshaft.
  • New 8mm pitch timing chain.
  • Expect prices of the sedans and wagons to remain unchanged.
  • The price of the SC1 coupes will decrease by $650, the SC2 by $350.
  • The cost of the CA-Northeast emmisions package will be the only price increase.

Midyear Changes '99:

  • New coupes arrive just before Thanksgiving with a standard RAD (rear access door). Production of the 3-door SCs began November 2, 1998.
  • Details regarding the 1999 Homecoming SL2 emerge; only 4000 were manufactured. Here is a list of features:
    • Available in only one color: a "gold green" metallic hue. It looked like a soft light green color.
    • Fifteen inch alloy wheels that are similar to the 1999 SC2 three-door coupe.
    • Black and silver exterior emblems. These emblems were featured on the original Homecoming sedan, and other past special edition coupes and sedans.
    • Combination tan cloth and leather seats.
    • Light tan instrument cluster with homecoming stitching.
    • Commemorative floor mats with the homecoming insignia.
    • Automatic transmission, AM/FM St Cass w/ EQ, rear decklid spoiler, and Option Package #2
  • A new version of the popular SW wagons, called the SWP (the 'p' stands for postal), is introduced. The car featured RHD (right hand drive) and was marketed to rural postal carriers.

1999 to 2000:

  • Exterior Changes
    • New body panels below the beltline.
    • New reflector optics (clear lens) headlamps feature improved beam pattern.
    • Unique insert-molded amber park/turn lens.
    • Standard painted fascias (excluding base SL models.)
    • New 14-inch wheel covers for SL model.
    • New 14-inch wheel covers on SL1.
    • New 15-inch wheel covers on SL2.
    • New 15-inch alloy wheels available on SL2.
  • New Interior Features:
    • New instrument panel design featuring a continuous, one-piece top cover for improved appearance and squeak and rattle performance.
    • New instrument cluster with revised telltale display.
    • New console with improved cupholders and provisions for a retailer-installed six-disc CD changer.
    • New console armrest featuring fore-aft adjustment and storage is standard on SL2.
    • New door panels with integral storage pocket and cupholders.
    • Updated sound systems and climate control systems.
    • Horn button relocated to the center of the steering wheel.
    • Cruise control located on the spokes of the steering wheel.
    • Seating upgraded with extended front-seat travel and revised lumbar support system.
    • Standard engine immobilizing anti-theft system.
    • Standard top tether anchors for child safety seats.
    • Glove box door lock available on all models as a retailer-installed accessory.
  • New Chassis and Power Modules Features:
    • Wider, improved-handling base tire - P185/65R14 replaces P175/70R14 (on SL and SL1.)
    • New ABS brake system technology minimizes initialization sound; Additionally, driver will feel pedal pulse and hear ABS system operation sound during an ABS braking event.
    • New self-adjusting clutch (on vehicles equipped with manual transmissions) features reduced pedal travel and lower, more consistent clutch efforts over the life of the clutch.
    • Improved manual transmission design eliminates the need for scheduled fluid maintenance (6,000-milefluid service eliminated.)
    • New built-in oil change monitor alerts customer of need to change oil based on a computer algorithm that monitors vehicle mileage, engine revolutions and engine temperature. When the calculated oil life is 90%depleted, an instrument panel light signals the driver with a "Change Oil Soon" light. This feature does not eliminate the need for customers to check the overall oil level between changes.
    • Lower bearing ladder incorporated into 1.9-liter engine block for improved engine sound quality (DOHC only).
    • New intake manifold system for improved engine sound quality (DOHC only.)
    • Both SOHC and DOHC engines available with California or Northeastern Emission packages.

Midyear 2000 Changes:

  • Aggressively restyled 3-door SC coupe debuts in January 2000 as a 2001 model with many of the same changes that were made to the SL sedans and SW wagons six months earlier.

2000 to 2001:

  • Available front head curtain air bags
  • Painted fascias added as standard equipment on SL
  • Right side manual exterior mirror added as standard equipment on SL
  • Power steering added as standard equipment on SL
  • Emergency trunk release handle (available mid-year)
  • Extended life automatic transmission fluid (100,000 miles)
  • New Coupe exterior appearance (debuted Spring ’00): fenders, fascias (rear fascia incorporates back-up lamp), hood, doors, quarter panels, rockers, head/tail lamps, spoiler, decklid appliqué
  • Tan cloth replaces black cloth (SC1)
  • New 15" wheel cover (SC2)
  • New 14" wheel cover (SC1)
  • CD added as standard equipment to SC1
  • CD, power locks, power windows, power mirrors and cruise control added as standard equipment to SC2
  • New exterior colors: black silver, cranberry, yellow (limited edition on SC2), straight shade black replaces blackberry on SC1 and SC2

2001 to '02:

  • New optional aluminum 15-inch wheel for SC2
  • New SL2 wheel cover
  • New exterior colors: New Silver (all models, replaces previous Light Silver); Silver Blue (SL1 and SL2, replaces Grey Bronze); Cranberry (SL, replaces Grey Bronze); Orange (SC1 and SC2, replaces Green)
  • Two-tone black/grey leather option replaces tan leather option on SC2
  • Floor mats standard in SL2 and SC2; part of option package in SL1 and SC1; retailer-installed accessory in SL

End of Production: August 29, 2002

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