Saturn generated some excitement with its new three-door coupe for the 1999 model-year, and the company has announced that it will introduce two new midsize models as competition for imports such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
The third door on the coupe is not a traditional hatchback. It is a miniature rear-access door on the driver's side, the kind you see on compact pickup trucks. The third door is hinged at the rear and opens to the rear. It is a standard feature for all 1999 coupes produced after early November 1998.
The coupes also get engine refinements aimed at reducing noise, vibration and harshness. There are small improvements (of 1 and 2 miles per gallon, depending on which engine and which transmission) in EPA estimated fuel economy. There are new wheel options, a new exterior color, and a new cloth fabric.
Two new midsize models, the L-Series sedan and wagon, will join the Saturn lineup in 1999. This family of larger cars will feature Saturn's dent-resistant polymer body-side panels and enhanced space-frame construction. Saturn says the LS and LW models will offer an all-new 2.2-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine with vibration-canceling balance shafts and a smooth, powerful 3.0-liter 24-valve V-6. They will have a four-wheel independent suspension, anti-lock brakes, dual airbags, and available full-range traction control.
For 1999 all sedans and wagons benefit from improvements in powertrain noise, vibration and harshness. They get the same improvements as the coupes in EPA estimated fuel economy, along with new exterior colors and an improved shoulder belt height-adjustment feature.
All Saturn models have longer front belt latches, making them more accessible and more comfortable.