Chevrolet introduced the all-new Lumina in 1990 as a replacement for the outgoing Celebrity. The Lumina was the last of GM's new front-wheel-drive W-body designs to debut, as its corporate mates the Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and Pontiac Grand Prix, debuted two years earlier in 1988. The Lumina would undergo 2 generations, and last thru 2001 as a fleet model only.
1st Generation (1990-1994)
|Body Style||2-Door Coupe|
|Transmission||3-Speed Automatic, FWD|
4-Speed Automatic, FWD
5-Speed Manual, FWD
|Engine||2.2L (132 cid) I4 (1993)|
2.5L (151 cid) I4 (1990-1992)
3.1L (191 cid) V6 (1990-1994)
3.4L (207 cid) V6 (1991-1994)
Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Pontiac Grand Prix
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
At first, a 4-door sedan was the only bodystyle, but a 2-door coupe debuted shortly afterwards (the Lumina line also spun off a minivan variant, the Lumina APV). Since the rear-drive 2-door Monte Carlo departed in 1988, the Lumina coupe was seen as a quasi-replacement by some, and the Lumina was also seen as a more direct competitor to the Ford Taurus much more than the Celebrity was. Base engine was the 92 hp 2.5L (151 cid) I4, but most models had the more powerful 140 hp 3.1L (191 cid) V6. The I4 had a 3-speed automatic while the V6 had a 4-speed auto. Base and sportier Euro models were offered, and differed visually with the base model having a chrome eggcrate grille, while the Euro had a blacked-out grille. The Lumina was touted for being the only domestic intermediate car with a Corvette-inspired fully-independent front and rear suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes, even on the base versions.
1991 models had a revised body-colored horizontally-slatted grille for both the base and Euros, but the big news this year was the introduction of the NASCAR-inspired Z34 coupe. The Z34 had an all-new 210 hp DOHC 24-valve 3.4L (207 cid) V6, available with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic (in which hp dropped to 200). Visual differences included a unique grille, hood louvers, front air dam and rear spoiler, and special badging. Its main appeal was that it was a car that looked just at home on a NASCAR track as it did on the street.
In 1992, the Euro sedan could now have the Z34 V6 engine (called the Euro 3.4), but it was available only with the automatic. Lesser Euro and base models continued otherwise unchanged, other than ABS becoming standard on all models. All coupe models got the 3.1 V6 standard in 1993, while the base sedan got a new 2.2L (132 cid) I4 engine, replacing the 2.5. Euro, Euro 3.4 and Z34 models continued with no change other than new colors. For 1994, the base coupes were dropped, leaving only the Euro and Z34 coupes. The 4-cylinder engine was dropped altogether, as was the manual transmission in the Z34 coupe - it was now an automatic-only.
This generation Lumina was considered a bit of a trend-setter with its unique (for its class) independent suspension and the hot DOHC 3.4 V6 engine (the only Chevrolet model to receive this engine), but it also never offered an airbag, even as an option, when many other cars were by this time receiving passenger airbags in addition to the driver's. Its interior ergonomics were somewhat unconventional too, such as a dashboard that actually angled downward towards your lap, and power window switches that also worked against typical convention. These many quirks would be ironed out in the second generation Lumina, which debuted for 1995.
2nd Generation (1995-2001)
|Body Style||4-Door Sedan|
|Transmission||4-Speed Automatic, FWD|
|Engine||3.1L (191 cid) V6 (1995-2001)|
3.4L (207 cid) V6 (1995-1997)
3.8L (231 cid) V6 (1998-1999)
|Similar||Buick Century (1997-2001)|
Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (1995-1996)
Oldsmobile Intrigue (1998-2001)
Pontiac Grand Prix
The Lumina may have been the last of the W-bodies to arrive, but it was also the first to get a redesign. Lumina coupes resurrected the Monte Carlo nameplate, the first time that nameplate had been used since 1988 (see the separate Monte Carlo entry for information on that model). This generation Lumina sported dual airbags (the previous generation model didn't have any), revised interior ergonomics that fixed the quirks of the previous model... but as a tradeoff, it lost its independent suspension. There weren't any 4-cylinder engines in this model, its base engine was now a 160 hp 3.1L V6 (a 20 hp gain). The 210 hp DOHC 3.4 V6 remained optional, but a 4-speed automatic was the only transmission for both engines. The base models now had rear drum brakes, but models with the 3.4 V6 kept the 4-wheel discs. Dual-zone climate controls became an option in 1996. 1997 models gained daytime running lights, and a new sporty LTZ model, which could have either the 3.1 or the 3.4 engine. The Lumina APV, based on the previous Lumina, would be replaced by the Venture. And now that the Caprice was gone, the Lumina was now Chevrolet's largest model.
In 1998, the DOHC 3.4 V6 was dropped (although the OHV 3.4 V6 (LA1) would continue in other GM models), replaced by a more conventional 200 hp 3.8L (231 cid) V6. The 3.1 V6 would continue, and the rest of the car continued with minimal change. In 1999, the 4-wheel disc brakes were discontinued, all models would revert to front disc/rear drums. For 2000, the 3.8 V6 was dropped (as was the LTZ model), and the 3.1 gained 15 hp to 175. The Monte Carlo was switched over to the Impala platform this year, and an all-new Impala sedan debuted which would eventually replace the Lumina. Since the Luminas were on their way out, they were left largely unchanged, and for 2001, they were available only to police, taxi and rental car fleets and not sold to the general public. The Impala would effectively replace the Lumina.
- Dodge Dynasty/Intrepid
- Ford Taurus
- Honda Accord
- Mazda 626
- Mercury Sable
- Nissan Maxima
- Subaru Legacy
- Toyota Camry
- Volkswagen Passat