UPDATE: Gallery of live shots added after jump
Behold, the new 2008 Saturn Vue, which charts a new path away from the plastic-paneled model it replaces, much like Saturn itself is on an entirely new path fueled by European transplant models from Opel. The new Vue is based on the Opel Antara from across the pond and will be available in four models here in the States, including a Green Line Hybrid and sporty Redline model. The baser models include the XE and all-wheel drive XR. The base XE and Green Line models are available with a 2.4-liter VVT Ecotec producing 164 hp and 160 ft-lbs. of torque or a 3.5-liter. An all-wheel drive XE, meanwhile, gets you a V6 that generates 215 hp and 220 ft-lbs. We're a little more excited about the powerplant being dropped in the Red Line and all-wheel drive XR models, which is GM's 3.6-liter VVT V6 that makes a more healthy 250 hp and 243 ft-lbs. of torque. We're curious to know what else Saturn plans to pack the Redline with to differentiate it from the top-level XR. The four-cylinders are married to GM's tried-and-true Hydra-Matic four-speed auto, while the V6 models get the new six-speed automatic.
Follow the jump for more analysis, pics of the 2008 Saturn Vue and GM's full press release.
Clearly, the styling is much less offensive to the eyes than any Vue that's come before it. In fact, it could easily be characterized as attractive and in line with general styling trends that have defined what makes a crossover a crossover. The lower fascia on the front end looks a bit tacked on, but in general, the face is sharp and the blacked-out pillars make the greenhouse look larger. The safety question is answered with six standard airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, Stabilitrak to mitigate rolling on your roof and traction control.
We're less enthused about the interior, which In these pictures appears downright drab in gray and lighter gray plastics. Those air vents look lifted from the last-gen Envoy and in general, it's just plain boring. The fold-flat seating, however, is a nice touch that makes it clear the Vue is indeed a utility vehicle. The Vue's price tag is not in view yet, though we should see the vehicle on dealer lots by mid-2007.
ALL-NEW 2008 SATURN VUE SPORT UTILITY DELIVERS PREMIUM, EUROPEAN-INSPIRED LOOKS AND RIDE QUALITY
- Four model levels, including affordable Green Line hybrid and Red Line performance variants
- Six drivetrain choices, including three engines, three transmissions and available AWD
- Sporty ride and handling
- Refined interior with premium materials
- Wide array of standard safety features
The new Vue is the latest Saturn model to showcase the brand's new design character and intensified focus on driving characteristics. When it becomes available in the second quarter of 2007, it will be the fourth all-new Saturn model since the beginning of 2006 calendar year. The other all-new models are the Sky roadster, Aura sedan and the larger Outlook crossover utility.
"The 2008 Saturn continues the product revitalization at Saturn," said Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak. "The all-new Vue is versatile, technologically advanced and loaded with safety equipment. Saturn customers will be as pleased with the vehicle as they are with the customer treatment they've always received at their Saturn retailer."
Saturn also confirmed that it will continue to offer the Green Line hybrid version of the Vue, beginning later in the 2008 model year. When it debuted in the 2007 lineup, the Vue hybrid was the first vehicle to use GM's new affordable hybrid powertrain.
In addition to the hybrid, the new Vue will be available in XE, XR and Red Line trim levels. These models will offer a wide range of powertrains, including a more powerful four-cylinder engine, and two V-6 choices mated to six-speed automatic transmissions. Later in the model year, a five-speed manual transmission will be available. All-wheel drive is available with both V-6 engines.
Ride and handling
At the core of the Vue's European driving character is a stiff, steel body-frame integral structure. Ride and handling is augmented by model-specific tuning of spring rates and wheel travel. Front and rear stabilizer bars, MacPherson strut independent front suspension and independent multi-link rear suspension, along with a double-isolated engine cradle, add to the smooth ride. Hydraulic power-assisted steering on V-6 models, standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, standard traction control and standard GM StabiliTrak electronic stability control provide outstanding vehicle control.
A towing package with hitch and wiring is available on all Vues. A towing stabilization system uses active braking to help control the vehicle in trailering situations. The Vue (except Red Line) can also be towed as an RV "dinghy vehicle" with all four wheels on the ground.
In addition to the handling features that help drivers avoid crashes, the all-new Vue helps protect occupants with a long list of standard crash protection safety features. Dual-stage front seat air bags, front seat side thorax air bags and head curtain air bags covering front and rear rows are standard on all models.
Complementing the air bags is GM's rollover sensing system, which uses sensors to proactively predict vehicle tip-up on a flat road surface and apply brake force to the outside front and rear wheels to reduce lateral force in the vehicle. It also activates the roof rail air bags if sensors determine an impending rollover. Other standard safety features include front-row dual safety belt pretensioners, disengaging collapsible pedals and active head restraints.
Like all Saturn vehicles, the Vue comes standard with GM's OnStar safety and security system, including a one-year subscription to the Safe & Sound plan. The OnStar service includes Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN), making crash data available to emergency services to potentially dispatch the appropriate life-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes faster. If the vehicle is in a crash that activates an air bag, the system automatically notifies an OnStar advisor, who will contact the occupants and summon emergency help if necessary. OnStar also provides remote door-unlocking service and can assist authorities in locating a vehicle if it is reported stolen.
The new Vue's exterior exhibits Saturn's new European design cues, with a look that is clean, sculpted and distinctively sporty. Tight wheel-to-body relationships, large jeweled headlamps and a sweeping upper profile line contribute to the Vue's striking design. The tapered roof line is one of the design cues drawn from the PreVue concept shown at the 2006 New York Auto Show.
Another cue inspired by the PreVue concept is the fender accent molding located vertically along the forward front door line. The styling feature is molded in charcoal color and incorporates a side repeater turn signal. Bright accents surrounding the side glass add to the appeal of the vehicle's profile. The grille proudly displays Saturn's recognizable chrome brand bar with a large Saturn badge.
Sixteen-inch alloy wheels are standard on XE models, while larger 17-inch alloy wheels come with the uplevel Vue XR. XE and XR models are further distinguished from each other with specific fascias, rockers and wheel opening trim. The Red Line model, to be unveiled later, will sport its own performance-inspired design cues.
Inside, the Vue continues the upscale theme with refined materials and precise fit and finish. Designers used lighter colors to bring a sense of spaciousness to the cabin, and incorporated an array of useful storage solutions.
The interior offers a host of comfort and convenience features, many of which are uncommon in the segment. These include optional eight-way power driver's seat; standard flip-down second-row armrest with storage; standard CD stereo with MP3 capability; standard driver information center in instrument cluster; available automatic climate control system with electronic controls; available navigation system; and an optional enhanced convenience package that includes an automatic rain-sensing wiper system, remote start, universal home remote and heated windshield washer system.
Other cabin highlights include:
- Rich materials including chrome accents on the air vents, center stack controls, instrument cluster and speakers
- Bolstered seating upholstered with two levels of flat-woven fabric with specific inserts; leather seating is available on most models
- Low-gloss, low-glare upper instrument panel with embossed grain
- Amber backlighting in the instrument panel and center stack control faceplates
- Ample covered, flocked and damped storage, including a locking glove box big enough for a medium-size purse
- A sliding storage bin under the front passenger seat
- Flat-folding 60/40 split rear seatback
- A rear cargo management system that uses upper and lower rails and storage nets to accommodate storage nets for everything from beverage bottles to home-improvement accessories
No other vehicle in the segment will offer as wide a range of engine choices as the 2008 Vue. The XE FWD and Vue Green Line models are equipped with the 2.4L Ecotec with variable valve timing. It produces 164 horsepower (122 kW) at 6,300 rpm* and 160 lb.-ft. (221 Nm) of torque at 4,500 rpm.* It is mated to the Hydra-Matic 4T45, four-speed, electronically controlled transaxle. A five-speed manual will be available on four-cylinder Vue XE models in early 2008.
All-wheel-drive Vue XE models come equipped with a 3.5L V-6 engine, delivering 215 horsepower (260 kW) at 5,900 rpm* and 220 lb.-ft. (304 Nm) of torque at 2,800 rpm,* with a broad torque curve and good low-end torque for quick acceleration.
Vue XR and Vue Red Line, are powered by GM's sophisticated, high-feature 60-degree dual overhead cam 3.6L V-6 VVT that delivers 250 horsepower (186 kW) at 6,500 rpm* and 243 lb.-ft. (329 Nm) of torque at 4,400 rpm.*
All Vue models equipped with V-6 engines receive the new Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmissions, which helps maximize powertrain performance and economy.