Overview & Reviews
The Saturn Relay was one of General Motors' minivans supposedly styled to have the look of a rough-and-tumble SUV rather than a plain-Jane family shuttle. Marketed as a "crossover sport van," the Relay had a longish nose, more aggressive styling and a roof rack to lend an SUV persona. However, the basic body structure and sliding doors remained true to the minivan segment's guiding principles.
The Saturn Relay was certainly family-friendly, with a folding third-row seat and optional 40GB digital media system that could store and play thousands of MP3 music files or a few dozen movies. Missing in action, though, were popular safety features like three-row side curtain airbags and a back-up camera.
Consumers never warmed to the Relay, however, and after just a few years on the market, Saturn pulled the van in favor of its new large crossover, the Outlook. As a choice for a used minivan, the Relay provides solid family transportation to be sure, and if price is a major issue, it will typically cost less than comparably equipped class leaders. However, more demanding shoppers who don't mind spending the extra cash will likely be happier with one of several other popular rivals.
Most Recent Saturn Relay
The midsize Saturn Relay minivan was produced from 2005-'07. Mechanically, it was related to GM's other vans, the Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander and Pontiac Montana SV6. Originally, there were two trim levels simply named 2 and 3. Standard Relay 2 amenities included power accessories, air-conditioning, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, antilock brakes, first- and second-row side airbags and keyless entry. The Relay 3 added rear air-conditioning, a power driver seat, alloy wheels and upgraded interior storage.
Noteworthy options included the "PhatNoise" portable 40-gig digital media system, dual power-sliding side doors, a navigation system, rear park assist, leather seating, a sport-tuned suspension and a stability control system. For the van's final year, Saturn added a Relay 1 trim level that dropped some features in exchange for a cheaper price. The stability control system also became standard that year.
At first, all Saturn Relays came equipped with an underwhelming 3.5-liter V6 that made 200 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard. No other powertrain combinations were available, though buyers could opt for all-wheel drive. For 2006, a 3.9-liter V6 with 240 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque became optional on front-wheel-drive Relay 3 models. For the final year, Saturn made the big engine standard and discontinued all-wheel-drive availability.
The Relay could seat seven, and the folding third-row seat was split 50/50 for added versatility. A pleasing two-tone color treatment with faux wood accents dramatically brightened the cabin and lent an upscale ambience. Folding center trays between the first- and second-row seats were available, and an overhead rail system provided rear-seat access to storage and climate/entertainment controls.
When shopping for a Saturn Relay, we recommend trying to get a model with the 3.9-liter V6. This engine offered commendable performance around town and made quick work of merging and passing on freeways. The Relay's suspension was on the soft side, delivering a smooth ride and average handling for this class. Upgrading to the optional sport suspension provided tighter handling, though maneuverability in tight spaces was still compromised by the van's large turning radius.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 111.00
Worst Ever - 2005 Saturn Relay
By Gerri - July 7 - 10:22 am
I bought this car used from a car dealer in Sterling Colorado. Its by far the worst unreliable vehicle I've ever owned. The previous two owners never went and got the recalls fixed, the car lot knew this and never told me. I went over a bump and all the sounds from everything went out. The doors don't open when I want them to but will when I don't want. It gets the worst has mileage even in the highest.
Bad Choice - 2005 Saturn Relay
By Latasha118 - December 7 - 11:46 am
This is a complete lemon. Within the 1st year I had no heat. Rear and front windshield wiper motor went out. Truck will not close. Saturn had to replace my radio because when you turn to a station it goes blank. It was only 2 that would go blank but the car was brand new. Power Sliding door not working, one day I went to close the trunk . It wouldnt close at all, Saturn could not explain why. Makes blowing noises when car is off. Drivers window fell completely down. I could go on. I have 3 kids and its nice and roomy but Im looking to trade this lemon in. Saturn gave me free oil changes but thats no good when Im there 1 a week. The guy at the dealership said they stop making these...
Relay a Winner - 2005 Saturn Relay
By kiwihouseusa - November 27 - 5:36 am
Just returned from a 2000 mile road trip up the California Coast, over mountains, in pouring rain most of the time. The stabilitrak gave us total control at all times, whether climbing up a mountainside in the rain, or driving through the Redwood Forests and its potholes and mud while in search of Bigfoot. It is an elegant looking car, we got lots of stares. My son loves the built- in DVD player; we enjoy being able to fold down the seats at night time for the kids to sleep, and make all normal for seven people during the day. We are so pleased with this short road trip in the Relay that we have scheduled a two-week trip in June.
The typical van - 2005 Saturn Relay
By jack - November 6 - 9:43 pm
Before the purchase of the Relay 2, we had two Dodge Grand Caravans. This realy is heads and shoulders above those previous vans. It is comfortable, powerful, handles ok and is reliable. We once had a problem when we overfilled our gas tank, but hav had no real problems since. Now, we need brakes at 30k, but that is the only problem it has had. I hope to get seveal more years of good service out of it before it gets sacrafiiced. So far, this has been a good vehicle.
Saturn makes a great minivan - 2005 Saturn Relay
By ken - November 5 - 12:56 am
The new Saturn Relay is a great new addition to the Saturn Family. It is well made, with a lot of standard features for the price. I looked at and priced several mimivans from different companys. The Saturn was the best value for the money.
the saturn - 2005 Saturn Relay
By edwin DeVand - October 17 - 9:50 pm
It is a smooth riding vehicle it is very roomy and we can put my wifes electric wheelchair in it. The door opening was wide enough to put a electric lift into the car so that she can ride it or put it in the car without any problems. The cost of the car was very reasonable for what we got. the price included a full set of brand new Michelin tires. We both are very pleased with the cost, the way the salesman treated us, and the service dept.
I love this van - 2005 Saturn Relay
By christina - September 7 - 12:33 am
I love this van. I did lots of research before getting this. But it just has so much to like. We had already owned two Saturns before this so I knew what to expect. It drives great handles the road so well. Has plenty off room even in the back and doesnt have the small seats in it like the Dodge Caravan. My hubby is 63 and can sit in the back and be comfortable.
Not so happy - 2006 Saturn Relay
By rob - August 10 - 12:23 pm
I have owned my Relay for two years now, and it has seen its fair share of shop time. The steering pump has been replaced once and they have put tow steering columns and a new set of tie rods. The gas mileage isnt near what I expected either, it is worse. The kids do love the dvd player though and it looks sharp for a mini van.
Must have got a good one - 2005 Saturn Relay
By Really Lucky - July 27 - 3:53 pm
Purchased 2005 Relay II new in November 2004. Car has been up and down the east coast. First long distance trip went from DE to CT and back on 3/4 of tank...impressive. As the years and miles went by notice problems. Power sliding door would automatically open when you tried to close it. Suspension problem with left bushing covered under warranty. Lastly, never resolved was the dimming dashboard that was told to be a problem with alternator. This was replaced under warranty but got progressively worse again.
Would recommend - 2005 Saturn Relay
By Jaymie - April 18 - 2:20 am
Bought the car because we had our third child and Im really happy with it. I enjoy driving it and it is very reliable the only time it never started was when i left the radio on (my mistake). Had to replace the hub and bearing at 75,000. It does have trouble with stalling my mechanic told me what the problem was something with the electric fuel something with aftermarket part still on the expensive side but if you give it a little gas when you start it. Yes i know its not ideal but for what i paid for it. I guess i got one of the good ones. Look, its not a Lincoln or Mercedes you do get what you pay for stop complaining and get a more expensive car if you want perfection.