2003 VUE New Car Test Drive
Saturn created the Vue for young families who want a manageable, but highly functional, sport-utility, one that can haul plenty of gear without requiring huge parking spaces and a big garage.
Saturn is best known for friendly sales and service. It's also known for innovation and the Vue is no exception. Like Saturn cars, the Vue is fitted with polymer body panels to resist dents. It's also available with a continuously variable transmission. Its long wheelbase makes for a roomy interior. These features, combined with a competitive price, help the Vue to stand out in the increasingly popular compact sport-utility market.
All-wheel-drive models add all-weather capability. Vue comes standard with a four-cylinder engine. With the optional V6, the Vue can tow a small boat, jet ski or snow machine.
For 2003, the Vue boasts an expanded model lineup with optional leather seating, seat heaters, and 180-watt audio.
The 2003 Saturn Vue is available in four models, all designed to be highly configurable.
The base Vue ($16,325) comes with a 143-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a five-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel-drive. It can navigate dirt roads, but is not designed for off-road driving.
There's also a four-cylinder model with the VTi automatic transmission ($18,495). It's a continuously variable transmission that uses pulleys and belts rather than gears for seamless acceleration.
All-wheel drive is available with the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission ($19,170) for improved all-weather capability.
New for 2003 is a V6 model with front-wheel drive ($21,070). At the top is a V6 AWD model ($22,720). All V6 models come with a more conventional five-speed automatic transmission. V6 models also come with more standard equipment, including cruise control, power exterior mirrors, an auto-dimming interior mirror, and aluminum wheels.
Electronic traction control is only available on the four-cylinder model with five-speed manual and comes packaged with anti-lock brakes ($600). ABS for AWD models does not include traction control but costs the same $600.
All versions of the Vue can be ordered in one of two themes, which Saturn calls Outdoor Expression and Urban Expression. The hardy Outdoorsman sports a front brush bar, a prominent roof rack, and 16-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. Interior features include a rubberized cargo area and floor covering, Ostrich leather accents and a plug-in handheld GPS unit. The Urban warrior comes with 18-inch wheels, performance tires and a lowered suspension. Inside is an integrated navigation system and rear-seat gaming system.
A leather upholstery package has been added for 2003 that includes driver lumbar support and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Another new option is an advanced audio system with an eight-inch subwoofer, 180-watt amplifier, and six door-mounted speakers. Also available is a power sunroof ($725).