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2008 Saturn Vue XR AWD Review

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2008 Saturn Vue XR AWD
MRSP: $30,945 (as tested)

I sat and looked at it for a minute. I looked at the keys. Yes, itís a 2008 Saturn Vue alright and I was about to take it for a spin. It looks smaller than it did in previous years. Less boxy, less SUVish, I guess it's a crossover now. Now it the next generation Vue, and the designers at GM/Saturn want to make it walk a fine-line between a compact SUV and a mid-size Crossover.

Either way, I took the keys, used the remote entry to unlock it and slid inside to get a feel for it.

Whatís it like to sit in?
Getting inside, shutting the door and grabbing the wheel was surprisingly comfortable. As a big and tall driver, I sometimes cringe at the though at getting into any vehicle that can be put into any ďcompactĒ category. However, no worries about the 2008 Vue, I actually had ample leg room and good overall shoulder, hip and head room. Itís comfortable, it's not big though. In fact, because of the design of the VUE (the new crossover look) there was a substantial amount of headroom above my noggin, perhaps 3 inches or more, for me thatís a lot.

All of the gadgets are within arms reach as well. I really didnít have to stretch to reach anything, not even the sippy-cup that my youngster in the back dropped. The stereo knobs, climate controls, storage bins and more are all easy to reach. Although I did have a hard time with the right-side lumbar support knob, which actually came detached fairly quickly when a swift kick from the aforementioned child in the rear seat.

Speaking of which, we tried putting a car-seat in the dead-center of the rear seat. Not happening, little feet could kick both driver and passenger! It was quickly moved to directly behind the passengerís seat and it fit very well. In fact, the front seats look like theyíre designed for rear-seat knee-room as they slope upwards. No problems for small kids in the back. (Watch out for legroom for larger children and adults over six-feet in the back seat. This has the potention to the a signifigant comfort issue for long drives.

Whatís it like to drive?
One word! WOW. The test vehicle sported a 257 hp (Thatís right, almost 260 hp) 3.6L DOHC V6 with a 6-sp automatic transmission and it produced some great driving excitement getting around town. It actually at times felt more like driving a small sports car than a grocery-getting, taking-kids-to-practice, daily driver crossover-SUV thing.

Blind spots weren't a big problem for me, although the mirrors could be a touch larger for my tastes. Cruizing speed on the freeway produced a fairly quiet and comfortable ride. There was plenty of pep under the hood that got called into action a few times when passing or accellerating after a slowdown. The Vue was nimble enough to move around easily through traffic and when we get to the destination, it's easy enough to park.

Cargo room was pretty good considering the compact nature of the vue. I could reach most of it without having to climb-up or strain too much. Grocery getting filled up the back pretty well and our test review Vue had a pretty cool mesh cargo management system that kept everything in place.

Overall Impression?
I liked it, what can I say? I'm traditionally a big-truck, big-SUV guy, but this Saturn Vue surprised the heck out of me! It was fun and functional and it got better gas mileage than I was used to, 16/23 mpg city/highway, especially for something so peppy.

Notable Standard Equipment
3.6L V6 - 257 HP
6-sp automatic transmission
All-wheel drive
4-wheel disc antilock brakes
Front passanger fold-flat seat

Options on review vehicle
Premier Trim package
- Leather heated seats
Rainsensing wiper system
Remote Start
Navigation system
Advanced Audio system

Updated 03-30-2008 at 08:56 AM by ChevyFan

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  1. Crawdaddy's Avatar
    My dad's got a '05 Vue and he likes it. I've only driven it a couple times, but it seems to be a nice ride. You are pretty much right on about the rear passenger area, it's not very comfortable for longer trips, say more than 40 mins. Glad you got to review a Saturn... Saturns rock! (says the owner of an '05 ION)
  2. 2loud's Avatar
    and here in sweden (Europe) the call this model Chevrolet Captiva
  3. retired2001's Avatar
    They are supposed to be "towable" 4-down, behind an RV. Thanks for the review.
  4. ChevyFan's Avatar
    It's a shame that more people didn't get into one of the new Saturn Vues, it was a VERY nice ride and I think it will be an awesome buy on the used market.
  5. ChevyFan's Avatar
    This is the same platform as the new GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox. For a smaller vehicle, it's very well done with lots of room for a family of five, plus room for luggage.