Saturn introduced the Relay, its first van, for the 2005 model year. Previously, the division offered only passenger cars and an SUV.
The Relay and its corporate siblings — the Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac Montana SV6 and Buick Terraza — are billed as "crossover sport vans." They blend SUV-like styling touches with the functionality of a "mid-van." Practical features include sliding side doors and a low step-in height, but all of General Motors' divisions are avoiding the stigma associated with the minivan's tame image. The Relay is the first Saturn model to seat seven passengers.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but the Relay can also be fitted with all-wheel drive. A 3.5-liter V-6 mates with a four-speed-automatic transmission. For 2006, a 3.9-liter V-6 with additional power becomes optional for front-drive Relay 3 models.
The basic look of the Relay is recognizably Saturn, but SUV-like styling cues include wide C-pillars and a horizontal grille. The Relay has ebony-colored lower cladding. The wheels measure 17 inches in diameter, and the optional roof rack has tubular-shaped side rails.
The base model has steel wheels, and uplevel versions have six-spoke silver-painted aluminum wheels. Built on a 121.1-inch wheelbase, the Relay is 204.9 inches long overall and 72 inches tall.
Seven passengers fit inside, and the Relay has three rows of seats. The second- and third-row seats can be folded and removed. The third-row bench is split 50/50. The seats in the base model have cloth inserts and "protein" vinyl bolsters that have a leatherlike appearance. Uplevel versions can be equipped with leather-appointed seats. Cargo volume totals 136.5 cubic feet with all the seats folded and 26.9 cubic feet when all the seats are up.
The Relay gets a three-spoke steering wheel that's leather wrapped in the uplevel model. Light maple-colored woodgrain decorates the radio and climate-control trim plate.
The Relay is available in two models, the Relay 2 and Relay 3. An overhead console and rail system are installed. Standard equipment includes a backseat DVD entertainment system, power heated mirrors, an eight-speaker CD/MP3-capable stereo, power windows and locks, and remote keyless entry. The Relay 3 adds a power driver's seat, a power-sliding door on the passenger side and rear climate controls. A power-sliding door on the driver's side is optional.
For 2006, an available PhatNoise media system offers a variety of multimedia capabilities including MP3 and MPEG playback and storage. This removable device mounts into the overhead console and can be connected to a home computer for downloading files.
Under the Hood
GM's 3.5-liter V-6 engine generates 201 horsepower and 216 pounds-feet of torque — slightly less in all-wheel drive versions. For 2006, a new 3.9-liter V-6 is optional in front-drive Relay 3 models. It features variable valve timing and generates an estimated 235 hp and 239 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines work with a four-speed-automatic transmission. When properly equipped, the Relay can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Versatrak all-wheel drive is optional on Relay 3 models.
All-disc antilock brakes, GM's OnStar communication system and daytime running lights are standard, while traction control is standard only on front-drive Relay 3 models. An integrated child-safety seat, rear parking assist and GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability system are optional. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags are available for the first two rows of seats.