By on July 25, 2007

frontthreequarter.jpgNot that Camcordima or Miata drivers have noticed, but GM’s long-neglected Saturn brand has been busy rolling out a raft of new models. I came, I saw, I drove, I despaired. The Aura, Sky and Outlook are fine machines, but even better examples of “80%” cars: GM vehicles that are an interior, gearbox, suspension and/or trunk space away from greatness. So when I saw the all-new, Opel-sourced 2008 Saturn Vue, I thought I knew exactly what was coming my way. I don’t mind saying it: I was somewhat wrong. 

The new Vue’s sheetmetal is as far removed from its boxy predecessor as Adam West’s Batmobile from Christian Bale’s sled. That said, the new, rounded Vue adheres to the pre-apocalyptic cute ute playbook. We can talk about the differences between the Vue and, say, Honda’s CR-V. But details like the meshed vents ahead of the Vue’s front wheel wells, chrome roof rails and the black strips surrounding the headlights are as nothing compared to the striking similarities between the two vehicles. 

Of course, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the homage to Honda’s best-seller. And there a good reason the new Vue is such a decent looking car: it’s actually an Opel Antara. That’s the soft-roader The General peddles in Europe, where GM is more like the Target of auto producers than the Mace’s Closeout City.   

interior2.jpgAfter clocking the new Vue’s unsurprising if handsome and class-competitive sheetmetal, stepping into its interior is something of a revelation. The new Vue is one of the best built and classiest cabins in a U.S. General Motors product to date. Again, credit the fact that the “rethink American” brand’s SUV-lite is a European parachute-job.

Saturn finally bailed on its plastic supply contract with Hasbro, disappointing GI Joes everywhere. Instead, the Vue features plenty of good synthetic stuff on the dash and doors, or what the press junket junkies have taken to calling “soft-touch” materials. The optional wood trim on the doors and dash, the upmarket fabric on the door panels and headliner, and the chrome butterfly insert at the bottom of the steering wheel are all credibly chic. Saturn, Opel, someone somewhere sweated the details, and it shows. 

room.jpgIf only they’d sat down when they were doing it. The Vue’s seats seem specifically designed to maximize thoracic discomfort. Quite why Saturn decided to put a shoe inside every seat back is a question best left to those who study the sexual deviancy of our European cousins. Also, American sun worshippers will lament the fact that the Vue can’t be ordered with a sunroof. In the atypically understated words of a White House spokesperson, “that’s not helpful.”

At least Saturn didn’t skimp on safety equipment. Every Vue down to the lowly base models offer six airbags, Stabilitrak stability control, four-channel ABS, and active head restraints.

side1.jpgLike most cute utes sold in America, the base Vue is a front wheel-drive machine holstering a frugal four cylinder engine. In this case, the entry level Vue gets GM’s 2.4-liter Ecotec four-pot. It’s a willing little motor with decent mpg, but paired with The General’s ubiquitous four-speed automatic transmission, it’s no match for 3800 lbs. of mass.

Next up: a 3.5-liter V6 with 222 horsepower. On the upside, buyers are treated to a six speed transmission and all wheel-drive. On the downside, it's a nasty agrarian mill better suited to being thrown off a cliff than propelling a car. Fortunately (for your reviewer), I spent most of my time in a Vue equipped with the sweet 3.6-liter DOHC V6 and a six speed auto.

Sampling the V6-powered Vue XR is slightly misleading; it may be the best of the three available powertrains, but it's also the version you're least likely to see on the road.  The Vue’s top-of-the-line powerplant churns 257hp, placing it just behind Toyota’s 269hp V6 RAV4 for best in class power. For one of the first times in recorded history, GM's strong and refined 3.6-liter isn’t being wasted in a rolling lunchbox.

back.jpgThanks to its shameful though safety-related curb weight (4000 – 4300lbs for the 3.6 liter models), the Vue’s extremely stable on the road and silent at speed. And in spite of its obesity, stomping and romping with the Vue is a hoot. With Teutonic steering and a European-firm suspension, it’s a highly hustle-friendly family hauler. Just remember that we’re talking SUV sporty, not actual sporty.   

The Saturn Vue’s biggest problem, perhaps its only major problem, is that the base four-cylinder model doesn’t deal the competition a killer blow in a hugely competitive segment. As good as it is inside and out, as keenly-priced as it is (about a grand under the RAV4 base vs. base), the Vue’s Ecotec engine and four-speed gearbox can’t match Toyota’s powertrain for smoothness or fuel efficiency. Still, props to Saturn for getting 90 percent of the way this time. Who’d a thunk it? 

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52 Comments on “Saturn Vue Review...”


  • avatar
    brettc

    What, no diesel option? From Autoblog: “Opel expects the 110 kW/150 hp, 2.0-liter common-rail turbo-diesel to be the top seller” (in Europe). Silly GM beancounters. Oh well, I’ll just wait for a diesel Tiguan or CR-V. Yet another lost sale to the competition.

  • avatar

    Part of my personal decision making process when considering a new vehicle is what else the car manufacturer has in its lineup. In this particular case I’m considering the Outlook. So far the Sky, Aura and now the Vue have rocked me pretty good – style, quality and performance (depending on the model) are big hits. To me, this means the Outlook is less of a fluke-y, one-hit-wonder and more of an intentional win. Which instills in me a wee bit more confidence in a brand that isn’t … Honda… :-)

  • avatar
    Joe O

    Perhaps the diesel doesn’t meet emissions needs for the US, yet?

    Toyota still has a 4-speed auto doing duty in some of it’s cars and trucks, and it is an abomination of modern automotivity.

    An interesting note for this article: I haven’t yet been in a new vue, but looking at the pictures and comparing it to the Rav4 something needs to be pointed out:

    The Rav4 is quite bland looking outside; in fact, I would rate the Vue solidly above the Rav4 in the looks department. While the Rav4 has a very ergonomic and kinda funky interior, that Vue looks far better and more expensive for it’s similar price point.

    The crowning jewel of the Rav4 6-cylinder was not just it’s fantastic acceleration, but it’s great fuel economy for a small-ute with optional AWD. It can pull 28mpg highway while maintaining a solid pace. And it’ll average 23-24mpg in mixed driving.

    I wonder if the Vue can match that. If so, and if my above assumptions are accurate (that it’s more handsome outside and nicer materials inside), then you would expect the Vue 6-cyl to outsell the Rav4 6-cyl.

    I guess we’ll see. Hooray for Saturn for this one.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    Saturn: Rethink American

    I love GM’s new slogans (American Revolution, Our Country, Rethink American) – at least in an oxymoronic sense.

    Rethink American…with an Opel.

    American Revolution – leading off, the KoreAveo.

    Funny…

  • avatar
    inept123

    Justin,

    Good review. Thanks.

    FYI: According to Saturn, a power sunroof will be added to production late this summer.

    No power passenger seat planned, tho. A deal killer for us, as my wife is handicapped and can’t manipulate a manual release.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    TexasAg03–could not agree more–lets keep “American-ness” out of the equation. That includes Toyota and their silly ads that position them as an American company showing all the homey scenes from the Kentucky countryside. Ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Despite the random faults that the Saturns have (that ALL vehicles have in some form), buying, driving, and owning the latest Saturns has to be a more upbeat experience then many imports.

    I’d go Saturn in a minute, rather then following the nervous herd, the sheeply masses, to the Toyota dealer with their “we hold all the cards on you” attitude.

    And a seldom mentioned plus is that the Saturns won’t beat or jiggle you to death if you’re on less then smooth roads.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    umterp85,

    Yeah, I just think it’s silly to use the American themes to sell foreign cars. Hell, some (is it half?) of the Tahoe/Suburban SUVs are built in Mexico.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Great review, some LOL regaring the 3.5 V6…
    So, did Saturn assuage the UAW by allowing them to install the Saturn badges on this side of the pond? I mean, every job counts! (/sarcasm)
    I hope that this will be a lesson learned for the UAW, that they should no longer fear Toyonda, but their own “flesh and blood”. I would still like to see the retirees protected, mind you, but the youngsters will have to face the (regrettable) trend towards globalization. EDIT: Built in Mexico? Hoh, bouy.

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    GM’s 6-speed auto is pretty much well-liked in every review of a car equipped with one.

    Why is the old 4-speed still being used? Is it supply constraints with the 6 (hence it being limited to high-end trims), or penny-pinching?

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    bfg9k:
    Why is the old 4-speed still being used? Is it supply constraints with the 6 (hence it being limited to high-end trims), or penny-pinching?
    Those are both reasons – supply, cost. GM can’t make the 6-speed transmissions fast enough. They are slowly switching everything over, though. I think it was a mistake not to put it in this car, which is supposed to be a premium product and an import fighter, and which needs the good transmission most on the model that should be the volume leader (the 4-cylinder).

    The Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice, fortunately, do both have the 6-speed auto.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Isn’t the 4-speed something like 20 years old, time to move on to something made this century.

    Nice review and that is actually a nice looking Saturn for once. Unfortunately it’s wasted on me since you couldn’t get me into a Saturn dealership if my life depended on it.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    On the topic—I’ve driven the new Vue–solid entry that will probably source from the Equinox / Torrent and potentially the Escape from those that prefer domestics.

    Off topic…TexAg03: I do agree with you. Just trying to show that the “American” silliness goes beyond the Big 3 to Toyota. You don’t see Honda pursuing such silliness even though they beat Toyota to mass production in the states. Also, for the record—Most Suburbans / Yukons (90%+) are produced in Arlington TX and Janesville Wisc.

  • avatar

    Why is the old 4-speed still being used? Is it supply constraints with the 6 (hence it being limited to high-end trims), or penny-pinching?

    Vestiges of the GM “just good enough” mentality. The 4-cylinder RAV-4 has a 4-speed automatic so why should they try to do any better?

    Yeah, I just think it’s silly to use the American themes to sell foreign cars. Hell, some (is it half?) of the Tahoe/Suburban SUVs are built in Mexico.

    So are the Vues that are sold here. It was designed by Opel and sold as the Opel Antara, but Vues sold in North America are built in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. We dodged a bullet, though. The Opel Antara sold in Gemany is built by Daewoo in Korea.

  • avatar
    Luther

    “Still, props to Saturn for getting 90 percent of the way this time.”

    Props to Claus and Hilda perhaps. The synthetic plastics are actually melted and catalyzed Gummy Bears from the company Haribo… No relation to Hasbro.

  • avatar
    Kman

    The new Saturn lineup is quite good indeed, well, quite good comparatively.

    For this Vue, they should have definitely changed the name, though. They did well in using all-new names for the other Opels they’re bringing over, and should have done so for the Vue as well. Way too much negative baggage (can you imagine the Opel Astra sold here as the Saturn Ion?).

    Without considering everying, I’d even go so far as dropping the whole “Saturn” name as well. I am often recommending vehicles to people searching for a new car, and find that — to the layperson — I cannot recommend a “Saturn” and not lose credibility. It’s amazing the brand-assassination that GM did on “Saturn”.

    IMO, GM is doing a great thing in bringing over all the excellent Opel product over here. They should have gone whole hog and changed to Saturn name as well (why not, even, “Opel”).

    But, I guess they stuck to the “going 80%” rule on this as well.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Fair review. I will have to disagree on a few points, however.

    First, I have driven a mid-level AWD 3.5L V6 model, and I found the engine to be quite good. Sure it is pushrod, but it was quiet, smooth, and peppy. No it isn’t as good as the 3.6L (a great engine in my opinion), but the 3.5L felt very refined and nothing like the old 3.8L in Impalas and Buicks. I have also taken many road trips in rental Impalas with the 3.5L engine, including a couple runs at 75-80mph on I5 from SF to LA. I found the engine to perform remarkably well. It was very quiet, very smooth, got the car over the Grapevine with no complaints, and I averaged 29mpg for the entire trip. For a full-size V6 car with a 4 speed auto, I was mightily impressed. I never cared for the old 3.8′s and assumed it was due to being OHV. I was wrong. The 3.8 was just an old engine. These modern OHV engines are very very very well done, and in the Vue was a great match for the car.

    My biggest complaint is the weight and MPG (though they are 2008 numbers, so compare fairly with other models using 2007 EPA numbers), and the short cushion on the front seats. Wished for a little more thigh support. Otherwise I found the seats to be very nice.

    As far as the 4 speed auto, I imagine there are a few things going on here. First, GM is still rolling out the 6 speeds. This is why the big trucks won’t have it until 2008. Agreed this would be better for the 4 cyl engine, hopefully it will arrive eventually. The 2nd is that I’m sure Saturn views (pun intended) the Vue 4 cyl as the entry model appealing primarily on price. The 4 speed auto is bulletproof and probably very cheap to build. Dont’ know what the cost of a 6 speed would be, but it is possible GM decided to go with the 4 to allow a lower entry point. With that said, Saturn is supposed to be more premium. Maybe that tactic is ok on Chevy, but maybe Saturn shouldn’t be doing that.

    Overall this is an excellent car. I encourage anyone in the market to stop by Saturn. And I will attest the 3 times I’ve been to a Saturn dealership the experience has been the best I’ve ever had, beating any luxury marque dealership I’ve visited. Absolutely no pressure and incredible friendliness. This car is worth a serious look.

    No mention of the pretty nifty cargo organizer in the back??

  • avatar

    My biggest complaint is the weight and MPG (though they are 2008 numbers, so compare fairly with other models using 2007 EPA numbers)

    The ratings for the 2008 Vue and the 2007 RAV-4 using the “new” numbers are:

    Vue – 4 cyl: 19/26
    Vue – 6 cyl: 16/23
    RAV-4 – 4 cyl: 21/27
    RAV-4 – 6 cyl: 19/27

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    no sunroof? whew… just as i was about to say i this car looks cool, i was saved! Thank god. Imagine, liking a saturn, OMG.

    Lukily also, the little roadster has no trunk space. It’s always something with these folks. Thank god!

  • avatar
    Luther

    “First, GM is still rolling out the 6 speeds. This is why the big trucks won’t have it until 2008. Agreed this would be better for the 4 cyl engine, hopefully it will arrive eventually.”

    GM will have its light-duty 6 speed out for the 4-cylinder 2008 Malibu in a couple of months. I reckon the VUE will get it in a year or two.

  • avatar
    pete

    Anyone have a view on how alike to drive the Vue is when compared with the Chevrolet Equinox? I’m really interested in the mechanicals…

    I found the Equinox to be one of the most unrefined vehicles I’d ever driven (beaten only by my first car, a European Ford Escort with an 1100cc engine).

    How does the Vue differ (interior excepted)?

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    pete:
    It is drastically different. The Equinox drives like a vaccum cleaner. The Vue is refined to drive, the ride is refined, the steering is [heavy, but] has a lot of feedback cornering is a breeze. I won’t make a bad joke about the difference between the Vue and Equinox being like night and day, but I think you get the idea.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Why not the 3.9 with cylinder de-activation? Given the weight of the vehicle, it wouldn’t be out of place.

  • avatar
    James2

    Thanks to its shameful though safety-related curb weight (4000 – 4300lbs for the 3.6 liter models)

    Jim Queen, GM’s VP for engineering, was on Autoline Detroit this past weekend and admitted that the Vue’s flabbiness was only partially safety-related. He also said there were several other factors related to the Vue’s porkiness, including the need to accommodate a variety of different engines for different regions, and that GM’s engineering wasn’t as good as it could be (I’m paraphrasing, but it sounded like that to me). He even praised Honda for some of its abilities, ironic in that Honda supplied the old Vue with a V-6.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Jerome10: First, I have driven a mid-level AWD 3.5L V6 model, and I found the engine to be quite good. Sure it is pushrod, but it was quiet, smooth, and peppy. No it isn’t as good as the 3.6L (a great engine in my opinion), but the 3.5L felt very refined and nothing like the old 3.8L in Impalas and Buicks.

    I think this has more to do with GM’s high level of development when it comes to rubber engine mounts and additional sound insulation.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Let me get this straight – with the New Vue you’re getting a vehicle the size of a RAV4, but heavier than the 2008 Highlander and with worse MPG to boot (2WD 18/24, 4WD 17/23).

    Bargain of the year!

  • avatar
    tetsujin79

    Er, for the record “soft-touch” is a real term, not some press BS. I work for a company that makes the paint that goes on those expensive euro “soft-touch” interiors (Audi/VW, for example).

  • avatar

    Kman “For this Vue, they should have definitely changed the name, though. They did well in using all-new names for the other Opels they’re bringing over, and should have done so for the Vue as well. Way too much negative baggage.”

    I can see the Ion have baggaage and negative connotations as it was universally panned when it came out, but the last generation Vue has actually been one of GMs better efforts. You can’t diss a company for constantly running from established nameplates and destroying brand equity by abandoning names like Tauras and at the same time complain when they actually bring out a new version.

  • avatar
    Kman

    To Sherman Lin:

    I take your point, and it is valid, though would you apply that to the Vue name? The strong american product brands are and have been Mustang, Corvette, Caravan, Explorer, Cherokee, Suburban, and other such strong franchises.

    Until the Vue got its Honda V6, I have poor recollections of its drive, its interior and its quality. The Vue brand is poor.

    So drop the poor brands, yes got it. But typing this post also made me realize the flip side of this:

    The Big Three’s (but mainly GM’s) capacity to assassinate a GOOD franchise. Think
    - ’60s Pontiac Lemans, early ’90′s Korean Lemans.
    - The Chevy SS sub-brand which, up until the current Cobalt SS, was just tacky (literally and figuratively)stickers and such.
    - The Omni-based 80′s Dodge “Charger”
    - The 80′s / 90′s Chevrolet Nova (a NUMMI for those who recall the Toyota/GM joint-venture)
    - And I know at some point over the past 20 years, Oldsmobile threw 442 stickers onto cars that do not merit them.

    So, yes, keep a good brand alive. But not at all costs.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    starlightmica, that is indeed exactly what you’re getting.

    Not mentioned in this review is the fact that apples to apples (EPA figures), the Vue compares quite poorly to the competition in terms of fuel economy. It should be noted that the Rav 4 and CR-V both have very good standard safety.

    Another thing not mentioned in the review is compared to the competition, the Vue’s interior volume is not that great.

    For the same price as a Vue V6, you can get a Rav 4 V6 with equal safety, more power and better fuel economy, as well as more interior volume.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    Well, at least now the General has supplied an engine from its European holdings, rather than going begging to Honda for a V6. Yes, the engine is from across the pond; but at least it’ a GM built engine.

    Now, if they could just make it work as well with an electric motor, they’d be really ready to compete with Toyota – or at least, give a better impression of doing so.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    well done korea! Well done Germany! Well done usa? why? what has it got to do with gm or usa? nothing. the car is completely constructed by daewoo. some engine and tranny options are german opel. just because gm bought opel a century ago, doesn`t make it a gm product. Sony owns half of hollywood,yet haven`t heard you sayin“ what a nice sony film that matrix was!` Your truck divisions like Mack is owned by Renault, haven`t heard you sayin` what a nice french mack we have. So why `privatize` other countries achievements? I understand that gm is desperate to launch new products and look product oriented. but people ain`t that stupid. sooner or later they will ask questions why all american divisions get rebadged imports? How can saturn fight imports if it consists of imports itself? look at vauxhall today. How many products do they have? right. ZERO. this is where detroit is heading. rebadge only helps to mask the ultra -sad situation in US manufacturing field.never ever dare to call Ecotec a gm product. look at how precise are moulds in opel astra today. Do you really believe that this car could have something common with US , detroit or GM? don`t live in illusions.This ain`t Siegfried and Roy. Look deeper at the root of the whole problem. Usa government increased amount of H1-b visas by 20k annually,because they lack engineers, so they have to get them somewhere else. ( I guesss it explains why intel has research centers in Japan). the math and exact sciences scores are lower in usa than in korea, China, sweden, canada, etc, barely surpassing italy.( PISAtest-2003) mammamia! the research also made interesting statistics of racial differences among results. and the rsults were substantially lower for black and hispanic people, while much higher for asiatic people.( I am not racist, so I guess it is legal to read statistics). Unless you start really educating your children and imparting them with a value of sense of achievement , nothing `s gonna change! FAIR GAME! hire me! In 20 years I will make your GM a fair game player and even Mr. Boldridge won`t have to wash his hands after shaking hands…. ;))))))))))(So much for pathos.)

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    Have not even seen the Vue up close, but just cannot let all of the glowing remarks on the RAV4 pass without noting the following.
    1. The 6 banger certainly is quick, but has almost dangerous torque pull off the line, especially to the unsuspecting.
    2. RAV4 continues to have the absolutely worst design flaw – the rear door which opens from left to right. Even Honda finally saw the light and went to a conventional opening on the CRV.

    ALL of these vehicles have their faults and quirks. You can’t get a power passenger seat on the CRV either, which I suppose is meant to push one up to the Acura.

  • avatar
    zenith

    Aztek! Aztek! Aztek! The original, and still the greatest, GM crossover! Or, for the more conservative types, the Rendezvous.

    Same gas mileage, much more interior room, slightly lower weight, distinctive style.

    One would expect much better performance out of a higher-horsepower-rated “modern” engine and 6-speed transmission, but its preformance is only a rough equivalent of a vehicle with a 1979-design V-6 and a 1985-designed 4-speed auto.

    And no other “cute ute” is much better!

    I’d rather have 2 low-miles Azteks, or maybe an Aztek and a Rendezvous, and enough change left over from the $25 grand to pay sales tax , first year’s license and insurance, and a couple hundred gallons of fuel on both, than any one cute ute.

  • avatar

    Kman
    Agreed that no automaker should screw up or risk screwing up a well established brand with poorly thought executed or mismatched products like the examples you mentioned. In my opinion the Vue is still a relatively new name which has had some modest success for Saturn and as such it should be nurtured. Even if it was a failure, it is so typical of Detroit to simply not stick with anything and work on the constant improvements that seem to be the hallmark of Toyota and Honda.

  • avatar

    Saturn finally bailed on its plastic supply contract with Hasbro, disappointing GI Joes everywhere.
    On the downside, it’s a nasty agrarian mill better suited to being thrown off a cliff than propelling a car.
    I laughed out loud (LOL™) at these lines (got some attention here in the ‘cube from that). Good write-up!

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Am I missing something? In the proper 3.6L powertrain this cute ute weighs within 150 lbs. of my 2004 Honda Pilot? YIKES…That’s nuckin’ futz! I know the ride benefit of “heavy for their size” vehicles (I have an Audi A4 S-line) but 4300 lbs is insane for this size buggy…Plus there is NO JUSTIFICATION for any auto maker using a 4 spd slush box in the year 2007.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Why do (uninformed)people consider the 2002-2007 VUE to be a failure? It was often Saturn’s best selling vehicle with few going to fleet sales. Averaged over 75K units per year. Considering Saturn’s limited dealership outlets the numbers were actually pretty good.
    I think from 2002-2005 the VUE was the 3rd best selling compact SUV in the US. Behind the Escape and CR-V but ahead of the Rav4 (old model), Liberty, Tucson, Sportage.

    As far as “setting foot in a Saturn dealership” you should try it someday. The Toyota or Honda dealer won’t give you cookies. :)

  • avatar

    I was impressed by the level of refinement, but not by the steering or handling. I must say that the magazines have tended to agree with your assessment. Me, I’m looking forward to checking out the Red Line.

  • avatar
    Glenn 126

    shhh don’t tell anyone else, but this “car” is actually one designed by Daewoo for GM. There’s your extra 10%…

    Says volumes that South Koreans (who started assembling cars in 1967, not even manufacturing their own car design – Hyundai 1984 – or car engines – Hyundai 1990) can design a better can than GME or GMNA.

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    The XR is approaching 29-30K when you get it optioned up a little. While Im glad to hear they are improving, I am not a fan of the CRV wannabe styling. Having just picked up a CX7 in grand touring trim for WAY less money, I didn’t even give the VUE a cursory glance.
    In general, five and six speeds are better but not always…Subaru currently offers a terrific four-speed auto. Refine, refine, and refine yet again.

  • avatar
    kazoomaloo

    Waitaminute waitaminute, I just checked out the specifications of the Redline (Powered by TrueDelta, of course) and it appears that the Redline is the exact same car as the XR except the piece of crap manumatic comes standard and it has a better set of tires… oh and some gofast badging, I’m sure.

    Maybe they figured out a way to trim off 2-300 pounds, too… I just don’t think you should slap a Redline performance-tag on something unless it has some oomph, otherwise you make the entire line meaningless.

  • avatar
    TheNatural

    The REDLINE VUE has never truly been a performance orientated vehicle. I would be silly to do that to a compact SUV. It does have the manumatic transmission, special black leather trim, sport tuned suspension, different fascia pieces, better tires and a lower ride. The REDLINE VUE has the looks of a performance SUV which is what people who purchase it really want.

  • avatar
    airglow

    “Frank Williams:
    July 25th, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    My biggest complaint is the weight and MPG (though they are 2008 numbers, so compare fairly with other models using 2007 EPA numbers)

    The ratings for the 2008 Vue and the 2007 RAV-4 using the “new” numbers are:

    Vue – 4 cyl: 19/26
    Vue – 6 cyl: 16/23
    RAV-4 – 4 cyl: 21/27
    RAV-4 – 6 cyl: 19/27 “

    Frank compared the FWD versions; I’ve included all versions below from fueleconomy.gov. Remember the VUE has actually been rated, while the 2007 RAV 4 numbers have been converted to 2008 numbers and may be slightly different when the 2008 RAV 4 is actually rated. We’ll see if the numbers are as high as for the simple arithmetic conversion the EPA has applied to pre-2008 numbers.

    2007 RAV 4 converted to 2008 numbers:

    RAV 4 4 Cyl FWD 21/27
    RAV 4 4 Cyl AWD 20/25
    RAV 4 6 Cyl FWD 19/27
    RAV 4 6 Cyl AWD 19/26

    2008 VUE:

    4 Cyl FWD 19/26
    3.5 6 AWD 15/22
    3.6 6 FWD 16/24 and 23???
    3.6 6 AWD 16/22

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    well done korea! Well done Germany! Well done usa? why? what has it got to do with gm or usa? nothing. the car is completely constructed by daewoo. some engine and tranny options are german opel.

    I beg to differ with this opinion. I’ll list some facts because this is a significantly incorrect assumption.

    1 The Drawing and Clay was done in the Opel Studio. This is not in question.
    2.GM Patac did the final interior/exterior/chassis design in conjunction
    with GMNA
    3. The V6 engines are 100% GMNA Powertrain designs as are the transmissions.
    4 The 4 cylinder is a Lotus/Opel design 5 generations removed and redesigned by Saturn GM Powertrain and then GMNA Powertrain.
    5 All the electronic hardware and wiring are 100% GMNA designed.
    6 Electronic software is a modification from 100% GMNA scripts rewritten by Canadian GM engineers.

    So to answer the question as to what did GMNA contribute. There you go.

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    As a GMNA engineer who contributed to the design and development of that vehicle I can assure you that is accurate.

    The diesels Opel uses are not Opel designs per se. Opel generally does zero engine design and zero transmission. The diesels they use are designed outside Opel by other manufacturers such as VM for example. They have used Getrag transmissions for years such as the F35 and F40

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    By the way Justin
    Nice review, fair and honest.

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    Another informational fact is that the previous Saturn Vue sales target was 50,000 from its inception. That platform handly beat that by 25,000 from the get go and never looked back so breakpoint being 50,000 then it made money.

  • avatar
    svensk

    My old man leased the high end Outlook XR and man what a nice vehicle. Good to see the Vue might live up to the standards of it’s big brother.
    And fyi: GM tends to underrate their fuel economy as of late. I would wait to see what some real world fuel economy test results.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    At least it doesn’t have a CVT. I hope that little experiment in marketing and penny pinching goes away completely soon.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Wow, just read the Highlander review and now this. Let me get this straight, The Toyota has a cheap, ill-fitting interior while Kudos are given to…A SATURN. I looked at both, and I do not disagree, I am just concerned I am not ready for the surely coming apocolypse. Incidentally, when It’s too cold for my KLR650 I drive a stone reliable 1995 SW1…You know, one of the bad old Saturn’s the dealer likes to hide when I show up for service with 220,000 miles. A nice interior would NOT be my first thought when driving it, now in my wifes 02 Vue.

  • avatar
    ronjr123

    I recently drove one of these as a rental in Florida for ten days and I tell you what….I Hated IT!!

    It was the base model with the 4 cyl and 4 speed auto. On the flat FL highways, it could not get out of its own way fast enough. It was a dog on the highway.

    The cruise control in this ute could not keep a constant speed no matter how hard it tried. Set the cruise at 75, and it would coast until it hit 70, then downshift and accelerate(?) until it reached 80, then upshift and do it all over again. It was terrible.

    As for the looks, I like the exterior (it could be mistaken for a CR-V in the nose), but the interior I did not appreciate. The seats were uncomfortable for a long ride and orange(?) dashlighting was irrating. The radio display would completely wash out in the day light.

    As my wife drives an 08 CR-V, there is no comparison. I would not recommend this, atleast in the 4 cyl model.


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