The L-series sedan built by GM’s Saturn division has never met the optimistic annual target of 200,00 sales set at launch in 1998. Its best year so far was 2001 when 98,000 units found homes. Now Saturn has freshened up the model to last until a completely renewed model, based on the new Epsilon platform, comes along for 2005.

A change in spring heights, combined with styling changes, gives the new L-Series a more balanced look, distinct from the wedge-shape of the original model.

The car has been raised 9mm in front and lowered 8 mm at the rear.
The restyled nose has large clear-lens headlamps, new grille, raised bonnet and flared guards. Optional chrome rimmed fog lamps are integrated in the new front fascia.

The back end has new tail lamps, a more substantial-looking fascia and, on the sedan, a chrome strip replaces the horizontal red panel across the rear of the boot lid.

The previously black rocker panels and lower sections of the front and rear fascias are now body-coloured and larger 16-inch wheels are now standard.

Inside, there are brushed aluminum inserts in the centre console, white faced instruments and ‘European-style’ upholstery.

US motor industry analysts are, however, less than impressed. The general view is that, facelift not withstanding, the Saturn L will still be overshadowed by the all-new Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima (and upcoming Honda Accord) with which it competes.