Overview & Reviews
Before Saturn was forced to call it a career after the 2009 GM bankruptcy affair, the Saturn Vue was one of the company's more endearing products. The Vue debuted in 2002 as GM's first home-grown entry in the car-based small-SUV segment, it recorded solid sales but not much critical acclaim. To compensate for the latter, Saturn made steady improvements and expanded the Vue's model lineup with the high-performance Red Line and hybrid Green Line variants. Though still not as polished as other top compact SUVs, the first-generation Vue remained attractive because of its low price and Saturn's famed no-hassle buying experience.
Introduced for 2008, the second-generation Saturn Vue improved upon the original's formula in many areas. This Vue shared much of its basic structure with the Antara, a small SUV produced by Opel, GM's Germany-based European division. While we usually roll our eyes at so-called badge engineering, this was one instance where we were flag-waving fans. The second-generation Vue was a remarkable improvement over its forebear, looking and feeling like a European-designed car that just happened to have Saturn badges.
However, Saturn's departure from the scene changes our view of the Vue. Given the first-generation Vue's spotty reliability record and the second-generation's European parts sourcing, we'd advise steering clear of used Vues unless you find an outstanding deal that leaves room for expected maintenance costs.
Most Recent Saturn Vue
The second-generation Saturn Vue was produced from 2008-'09. Compared to the earlier Vue, it was very similar in size, with a nearly identical wheelbase and marginally greater width and height. However, its exterior was constructed of steel body panels. Although the old Vue's plastic ones prevented unsightly dings, they also looked cheap and created huge panel gaps. The second-generation Vue's interior was also higher in quality with improved ergonomics.
The five-passenger compact Vue crossover was available in three trim levels: base XE, midgrade XR and sporty Red Line. A 2.4-liter inline-4 that produced 164 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque was standard on the XE and for '09, on the XR. It was connected to a four-speed automatic. An optional 3.5-liter V6 was available on the XE, and it sent 215 hp and 220 lb-ft through a six-speed automatic. A 3.6-liter V6 (also matched to a six-speed auto) that generated 257 hp and 248 lb-ft was standard on the XR for '08 and optional for '09. The Red Line was available only with the 3.6-liter V6. A manual-shift feature for the automatic transmission was standard on the Red Line and optional on the XR. Front- or all-wheel drive was available on each trim.
When compared to other compact SUVs, the Vue was on the small side, with only 56 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, almost 20 cubes less than some of its key competitors. Passenger space was good, however, with a reclining rear seat that offered decent legroom. Front seat comfort was good as well, although some found the bottom cushions a little short and the seats in general lacking lateral and lumbar support.
In reviews of the front-drive Saturn Vue XR, we found it to be a real competitor in the rapidly expanding compact-SUV market. Although others offered more space or a more entertaining driving experience, the Vue made up for it with European-inspired styling, a well-built and attractive cabin, composed handling and respectably strong engine choices.
Past Saturn Vue Models
The first-generation Saturn Vue was produced from 2002-'07 with plastic body panels (the second-generation has steel) and no specific trim levels. Though this Vue's interior was always second-rate, it was notably improved for the 2006 model year; models built previously were even more deficient in terms of interior materials quality and ergonomics. One should also note that Saturn offered a continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the 2002-'05 model years. Fitted to the 143-hp 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, the CVT provided improved fuel mileage compared to the five-speed automatic. But long-term reliability was apparently an issue and Saturn discontinued it. It was replaced by a five-speed automatic as the optional transmission, while a five-speed manual remained standard equipment.
Finally, Vues built through the 2004 model year had a 181-hp, 3.0-liter V6 instead of the later Honda-engineered 3.5-liter V6 that was more refined and powerful with 250 hp. With this bigger engine came a few more features, including the option of all-wheel drive and the "Red Line" performance package.
In reviews, the first-generation Saturn Vue earned favorable commentary for its strong 3.5-liter V6 engine, roomy cabin, comfortable ride and dent-resistant plastic body panels. Noted downsides included below-average build quality, low-grade interior materials, vague steering and weak performance from the base four-cylinder engine.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 1,729.00
MY SILVER SURFER - 2004 Saturn VUE
By GINA - December 24 - 10:00 am
MY OVERALL REVIEW OF MY SATURN VUE, IS AN HONEST ONE. THIS IS A VEHICLE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS THE COMFORT OF A SEDAN AND THE CARGO SPACE FOR MOVING MEDIUM SIZED FURNITURE, GROCERIES AND LUGGAGE. I LOVE MY VUE...IT IS COOL, FUN AND NOT SOME HUGE VEHICLE THAT I NEED A LADDER TO GET INTO. I AM GLAD THAT I DID SOME COMPARISON SHOPPING!!!
Grand Cherokee vs Saturn view - 2005 Saturn VUE
By Dennis Hyrkas - December 23 - 8:46 am
Was amazed with the acceleration for a 4 cylinder. High RPM during acceleration sounds like a souped up go cart. Steering takes a little bit of getting use to. Handles much better than the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Traded my Jeep for the VUE, glad I did.
Love this SUV!!! - 2003 Saturn VUE
By SandyOrangeVue - December 22 - 10:00 am
Had a 2001 Ford Escape -- took a 2002 Escape to replace it when Lemon Law kicked in due to constant stalling. When the 2002 stalled, Ford wouldnt take it back, so we traded in with the 0% deal. Getting 22-23 MPG -- 6 MPG more than Escape. Love the drive, comfort and affordability of this SUV! Engine is a little noisy.
Two Differing VUEs - 2003 Saturn VUE
By Hot Turtle - December 22 - 10:00 am
Drove an AWD and it sounded like it. The ride was rumbly, and truckish. Then drove the FWD with the V6. Completely different vehicle. Nice ride, quieter. Went with the V6, FWD, leather appointments, and got an excellent, high quality "station wagon". Excellent safety features, much better interior, and versitility. Best of all, 0% financing for 60 months, no payments until 2003! All this and Saturns outstanding dealerships. Delighted.
Saturn Vue Green Line - Reliable! - 2007 Saturn VUE
By Sally - December 20 - 10:48 am
I bought my 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line new, right off the showroom floor & its been an extremely reliable vehicle for me. Ive got 158,000 miles on it & it still runs great. Had some repairs once it got over 100k miles (air conditioning fan housing & front wheel bearings, & at 150k miles the shocks/struts) but its been mechanically sound & had no other issues. The exhaust system is original & in great condition. And I love the "no rust" plastic outside - still looks nice. If Saturn was still in business, Id buy another one when this one quits on me!
One Great Vehicle - 2007 Saturn VUE
By BLUESMAN - December 11 - 12:20 am
This is the first new vehicle I have bought in 15 years. I normally by 2-3 year old low mileage vehicles but I was so impressed with the Vue I bought a new one. Used Vues are hard to find. I believe this is the perfect vehicle. It is stylish, rides great and has all the room anyone could want. Mileage varries but we get 25- 30 mpg depending on driving conditions.
Happy so far - 2007 Saturn VUE
By Jim - December 9 - 5:33 pm
Purchased the 07 instead of a new 06 since they were only about $2k apart. It struggles with the 4 cyl but that was expected since we went that way for the gas mileage. Right now we get about 23 mpg. Pretty good for a small SUV. The ride is nice, space is good, looks fabulous.
You go Saturn! - 2003 Saturn VUE
By WilliamA1 - December 9 - 2:00 am
My last saturn ran for 100,000 miles with only oil changes. I did not even need brakes! I have been very very impressed with the reliability of this car, and the dealership offers better service than our local Jaguar dealer, and I should know as I own both.
Impressed - 2003 Saturn VUE
By BoiseVUE - December 2 - 5:30 am
I had my doubts about Saturn but so far it is great. I love driving again. Fuel economy isnt the best but it is very "get up and go". Have heard bad things but so far havent had any problems.
We love it! - 2007 Saturn VUE
By doanuknow - December 1 - 5:50 pm
We love our VUE. The handling is great with a very quiet ride. The roomy interior is a real plus, not to mention the fuel economy for a small SUV. This SUV gets just as good gas mileage as our car. We would suggest it to anyone. It is very affordable.