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Vue Test Drive

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Vue Clicky

Whether you think GM's idea of selling European Opels as Saturns on this side of the Atlantic is a clever business move or a cheap design shortcut, it’s tough to argue with the product that has resulted from the strategy. Saturns have never looked or felt so good.
Aside from the sexy Sky roadster (rebadged as the Opel GT), the 2008 Vue (Opel Antara) may be the best-looking of the current Saturn lineup.

The Nicest Saturn Interior We’ve Ever Encountered

Although few Vue drivers will likely ever flog their trucklets quite like a journalist in a hurry, it is worth noting the Vue’s admirable behavior under the heavy foot of a speed tyrant. The Vue responds instantly and directly to steering inputs and offers up road feel in gluttonous quantities for this type of vehicle. The ride, meanwhile, is smooth and isolates occupants from highway bumps, returning only the smallest of jostles.
For the most part, the automatic shifts smoothly and quickly, although full-throttle requests can be met with harsh downshifts when passing on two-lane roads. Nonetheless, those passing maneuvers go quickly. We also noticed that the six-speed is prone to some gear hunting on highway grades, which we expected, given that, at 70 mph in sixth, the engine is turning just shy of 1800 rpm.
The Vue’s off-the-line performance and fuel economy suffer because of this same trait: its weight. At about 4000 pounds, the Vue is pulling measurably margin more mass than most of its competitors. As products from GM’s friendly brand see tremendous progress, weight reduction appears to be the final frontier. Interiors are improving, Opel is making Saturn beautiful, and ride and handling are matching or surpassing the competition. All Saturn has to do to make the Vue a worldbeater is pare a measly 500 pounds. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much. But cut some fat, and the Vue—already a very good miniature ute—will take another key step toward excellence.
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2008 curb weights and mpg for most fuel efficient engine (usually smallest), automatic:

Compass ...................3071 lb, 23/27/24 mpg

Patriot .......................3108 lb, 23/27/24 mpg

Rav4 .........................3300 lb, 21/27/23 mpg

CR-V .........................3389 lb, 20/27/23 mpg

Forester .....................3140 lb, 20/26/22 mpg

Tucson .......................3240 lb, 19/25/22 mpg

Escape/Mariner/Tribute 3272 lb, 20/26/22 mpg

Vue 2.4 L ..................3825 lb, 19/26/22 mpg

Sportage ....................3230 lb, 19/25/21 mpg

Outlander ...................3427 lb, 17/25/20 mpg

Grand Vitara ...............3452 lb, 17/22/19 mpg

Vue 3.5 L .......................? lb, 16/24/19 mpg

Vue 3.6 L ..................4076 lb, 16/23/19 mpg

Vue 3.6 L, AWD ...........4325 lb, ? mpg

Torrent/Equinox ..........3660 lb, 16/24/19 mpg

XL7 ............................4094 lb, 16/22/18 mpg

Highlander ..................3516 lb, 19/25/22 mpg

Santa Fe 2.7L ..............3549 lb, 18/24/21 mpg

Murano .......................3851 lb, 18/23/20 mpg Premium optional

CX-7 ..........................3670 lb, 17/22/19 mpg Premium only

Edge ...........................4086 lb, 16/23/19 mpg

Pacifica .......................4337 lb, 16/23/18 mpg

Nitro ...........................3871 lb, 16/22/18 mpg

Tribeca ........................4139 lb, 16/21/18 mpg

Acadia .........................4720 lb, 16/24/19 mpg

Outlook .......................4722 lb, 16/24/19 mpg

Enclave .......................4780 lb, 16/24/19 mpg

Veracruz ......................4266 lb, 16/23/18 mpg

Pilot ............................4264 lb, 16/22/18 mpg

CX-9 ...........................4316 lb, 16/22/18 mpg

4Runner ......................4045 lb, 16/21/18 mpg

Pathfinder ...................4427 lb, 15/22/17 mpg

Trailblazer 5.3 L ...........4356 lb, 14/20/17 mpg

Explorer ......................4460 lb, 14/20/16 mpg

Suburban .....................5607 lb, 14/20/16 mpg

Aspen 5.7 L ..................4866 lb, 13/19/15 mpg

Sequoia .......................5100 lb, 14/17/15 mpg

Expedition ................... 5578 lb, 12/18/15 mpg

Armada ........................5302 lb, 12/18/14 mpg

Excursion (2005) ...........6650 lb, ?

The Vue's styling inside and out is #1 in the small crossover category.

The Vue is available with a 2.4L, 164 hp I4.

But how fast can 164 hp pull 3,825 lb?

Is saving 5 mpg between a Rav4 and a CX-9 worth buying a smaller vehicle?

At $3.00 / gallon, 15,000 miles, you will save 181 gallons (833 gal - 652 gal), or $543.48 each year in gas.

As a compassionate environmentalist, you save the environment by 21.7% (181 gal / 833 gal).

Yes I looked up the data just for the hell of it. Curiousity will kill me...

www.autochannel.com

and

www.fueleconomy.gov

I hope the government doesn't kill me for promoting larger vehicles.

Just for kicks:

Highlander Hybrid ..........4015 lb, 28/25/26 mpg

Escape Hybrid ...............3638 lb, 34/30/32 mpg

Vue Hybrid ...................3207 lb, 23/29/26 mpg

Camry Hybrid ...............3680 lb, 33/34/34 mpg

Aura Green Line ............3528 lb, 24/32/27 mpg

Accord Hybrid ...............3605 lb, 24/32/27 mpg

Prius ............................2932 lb, 48/45/46 mpg

Civic Hybrid ..................2875 lb, 40/45/42 mpg

Yaris .............................2290 lb, 29/35/31 mpg

Fit .................................2432 lb, 27/35/30 mpg

Between the CX-9 and Prius, you save 507 gallons (833 gal - 326 gal), or $1,521.74!

Edited by JT64
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How can such a heavy vehicle have such a small cargo area?!

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balanced review of a great car/truck. the great thing about vue is the design now matches other Saturns, which will increase the visibility of the design style. Auras and Outlooks will soon have two good looking brothers [Astra, Vue] to complement/complete the family. it's all about good design sense along with quality, inside and out. attention to detail that can finally rival the competition, and likely good material quality as well. it's one we should be watching.

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Why the hell is this thing so heavy? Two tons is way too portly for a cute-ute.

Think of it as a front-drive BMW X3 without the Nurburgring pedigree.

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Think of it as a front-drive BMW X3 without the Nurburgring pedigree.

+300lbs 4300lb XR AWD version to AWD only X3
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+300lbs 4300lb XR AWD version to AWD only X3

The point is, the VUE really isn't a "cute ute", but rather an over-engineered German SUV that happens to be on the small side. It may have poor fuel economy, but it's also a lot higher quality.

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considering some VW's have it in the pork factor I can forgive the Vue's high curb weight. the small cargo area is more upsetting. Who knows on the mpg.

in the end, the DELICIOUS interior and nice exterior and supposed great manners make it a desirable ride.

Yes, you can buy a larger CUV and get the same mpg, but some folks like the smaller size for condo garages and parking and stuff.

GM by next time will be engineering everything in India or china or korea, so they will tell them to lay off the billet steel next time.

At some point, some mfr has to make a large 3 row all aluminum crossover that stays under 4000 pounds.

Contrary to belief, the old Vue with honda v6 was not that quick. I drove one. The shifter was slow to respond and there was throttle lag and some driveline sloppiness. It really was nothing to remember. Being a Honda, it lacked some torque, too. My guess is the new Vue will feel quicker and more urgent.

The new Vue is a great overall package and deserves to sell huge. Some folks are singles or couples and don't need the huge trunk or passenger space. The only time they have passengers is the trip to Olive garden.

I would lean towards an Edge or Acadia for a little more money, lots more room, and the same mpg. I need the room.

A good light crossover is the Taurus X. Great mpg, 3 rows, good handling, lots of cargo and seating room and like 42-300 pounds. Should have better acceleration than the vue. one issue, it's damned bad to look at. That doesn't seem to be an issue for people who buy ugly foresters and tribecas and stuff.

Edited by regfootball
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The Freestyle was always the best one in the segment, IMO. Low, carlike entry, excellent utility, good driving manners. Too bad it looked like it succeeded the '95 Taurus, which it really, really did appear to. The CVT was also meh and the engine needed a boost just 'cause. All that made it that nice, average girl you got stuck going to prom with.

With the Taurus X, though, - bigger engine, good mpg, a real transmission, and all the good stuff you liked before - that girl got alot more desirable. Like she got a nice boob job but they didn't do anything to the face. Most people can live with that, thus most can be satisfied with the Taurus X.

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people buy foresters and stuff so there's still gotta be plenty of folks who will ignore the looks and go for the basic utility of the taurus x.

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Drove a Vue XR FWD today as they had a little marketing thing going on at the mall this weekend (they had it along with an Aura XE, Impala SS, Acadia, G6 GT Coupe and GM's invisible econobox sedans).

It was a bit of a let down, the power of the 3.6L sure is stunted somehow in this vehicle, and the tan cloth just turned me off what otherwise was a nice (though compact) interior.

Edited by frogger
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