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2008 Saturn Vue Euro Design Review

May 2007
Filed under: SATURN Car News | SATURN Headlines

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A compact five-door crossover vehicle with European-inspired design and sporty ride and handling, the 2008 Vue is the latest Saturn model to showcase the brand's new design character and intensified focus on driving characteristics.

"The 2008 Vue 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."

The 2008 Vue is available in XE and XR trim levels, as well as the performance-inspired Red Line and Green Line hybrid models – when it was introduced in the 2007 lineup, the Vue hybrid was the first vehicle to use GM's new affordable hybrid powertrain.

Vue's broad lineup 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.

The '08 Vue is the fourth all-new Saturn model since the beginning of the 2006 calendar year. The other all-new models are the Sky roadster, Aura sedan – which was voted the 2007 North American Car of the Year – and the larger Outlook crossover utility. The Saturn Astra small car will join the lineup this fall, completing a comprehensive revitalization of Saturn's portfolio in less than two years.

Ride and handling
At the core of the Vue's European-inspired driving character is a stiff, steel body-frame integral structure. Ride and handling is augmented by one of three levels of specific spring-rate and wheel-travel tuning: Red Line, XE/XR with a V-6, or four-cylinder-equipped. 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 specifically tuned 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. When properly equipped, the Vue can tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,587 kg). A towing stabilization system uses active braking to help control the vehicle in trailering situations. The Vue can also be towed as an RV "dinghy vehicle" with all four wheels on the ground.

Safety is standard
In addition to the handling features that help drivers avoid crashes, the all-new Vue helps protect occupants with its high-strength steel structure and 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.

Unique to the compact crossover segment is Vue's Electronic Trailer Sway Control, a feature that is integrated into the standard StabiliTrak system. It detects the occurrence of trailer sway that may be caused by improper trailer weight balance or excessive vehicle speed. Upon detection of trailer sway, StabiliTrak will begin to apply the brakes, independent of the driver applying the brake pedal, to assist the driver in stabilizing the vehicle. The StabiliTrak activation telltale will flash to signal the driver to reduce vehicle speed. If trailer sway continues, StabiliTrak will reduce engine torque to reduce the speed of the vehicle.

Other standard Vue safety features include front-row dual safety belt pretensioners, disengaging collapsible pedals, active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system, automatic power door locks and side turn signal lamps.

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 sooner. 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.

Exterior design
The new Vue's exterior exhibits Saturn's new European-inspired 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. All models with a V-6 engine include dual exhaust with chrome tips.

Interior design and features
Inside, the Vue continues the upscale theme with refined materials and precise fit and finish. Designers used lighter colors to bring a greater 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 an optional eight-way power driver's seat; standard flip-down second-row armrest with storage; standard CD stereo with MP3 capability; available automatic climate control system with electronic controls; available navigation system with voice recognition; available heated front seats 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 all models
Front center articulating armrest
Low-gloss, low-glare upper instrument panel with embossed grain
Amber backlighting in the instrument panel and center stack control faceplates
Ample covered and damped storage compartments, including an illuminated, locking and oversized glove box
A sliding storage bin under the front passenger seat
A folding rear seat center armrest with storage
Flat-folding 60/40 split rear seatback
A rear cargo management system that features removable, adjustable upper and lower rails and storage nets to contain a variety of items; storage beneath the cargo load floor
An assist handle above each door.

No other vehicle in the segment offers 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 that produces an estimated 169 horsepower (126 kW)* and 161 lb.-ft. of torque (218 Nm).* The 2.4L is mated to the Hydra-Matic 4T45, four-speed, electronically controlled transaxle.

All-wheel-drive Vue XE models come equipped with a 3.5L V-6 engine, delivering an estimated 222 horsepower (166 kW) at 5,900 rpm* and 219 lb.-ft. (297 Nm) of torque at 3,200 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 257 horsepower (192 kW) at 6,500 rpm** and 248 lb.-ft. (336 Nm) of torque at 2,100 rpm.**

All Vue models equipped with V-6 engines receive the new Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission, which helps maximize powertrain performance and economy. All models equipped with an automatic transmission feature a manual shift mode.

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