Now in its second generation, the Saturn Vue is a compact SUV that seats five. The Vue is available in base XE, uplevel XR, performance Red Line and two hybrid trims. Front- and all-wheel-drive versions are offered. The Vue has plenty of competition; the notables include Ford's Escape, Honda's CR-V and Toyota's RAV4.
The Vue hybrids are covered in a separate report in the Research section.
New for 2009
For 2009, the Saturn Vue gets a standard panic brake system.
The Vue features a now-ubiquitous styling detail: side fender vents. In the Vue's case, the fixtures house side turn-signal lights. The Vue measures 180 inches long and about 73 inches wide -- similar to the RAV4 and CR-V but larger than the Escape's 174.7-inch length and 71.1-inch width.
- On XE, 16-inch alloy wheels
- On XR, 17-inch alloy wheels
- On Red Line, 18-inch alloy wheels
- Optional chrome door handles
- Package available on V-6 Vue now includes front and rear chrome skid plates, chrome roof rails and chrome side fender vents
Saturn has crafted a classy cabin for the Vue. The chrome-ringed air vents are Audi-like, and Saturn says the glove box is large enough to hold a medium-sized purse. Cloth seating surfaces are standard; leather seats are optional.
The front passenger seat folds flat so long items, such as two-by-fours, can be carried inside the cabin. Folding the 60/40-split rear seats expands the cargo area's 26.5 cubic feet of space to 54.3 cubic feet.
Because of the Vue's coupe-like exterior, the new Vue is smaller than its predecessor. At 98 cubic feet of passenger space, it has the least available space for passengers and cargo of any of its competitors. Interior options include:
- Eight-way power driver's seat
- Automatic air conditioning and a navigation system
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
- Heated windshield-washer system
- Heated cloth and leather seats
- New graphic on HVAC control: signals optimal climate-control/fuel-economy setting
Under the Hood
The Vue is available with front- or all-wheel drive. It can be had with a four-cylinder or V-6 engine. There are two V-6 options, but the 3.5-liter version is only available with all-wheel drive. All Vues (except the Red Line) can be towed as an RV 'dinghy vehicle' with all four wheels on the ground. The four-cylinder Vue can tow up to 1,500 pounds when properly equipped, and V-6 models are rated to pull up to 3,500 pounds.
- 169-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (161 pounds-feet of torque)
- 222-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (219 pounds-feet of torque)
- 257-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 (248 pounds-feet of torque)
- Four- and six-speed automatic transmissions
- On Red Line, lowered sports-tuned suspension
- Hydraulic power steering on V-6 models (electric on I-4)
The Vue has many standard safety systems. Because it's also sold in Europe, it has some unusual safety features for this price range, including active headrests (headrests that tilt forward during a rear collision) and break-away pedals (pedals automatically release during a major frontal impact).
- Four-disc antilock brakes
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags
- Electronic stability and traction control
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- New panic brake system (supplemental emergency braking system)
- Rollover-mitigation system that preemptively fires the side curtain airbags and can brake outside wheels during an eminent rollover
- OnStar comes standard, including one free year of Safe and Sound service, which alerts authorities in the event of a collision
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