Image credits: © Saturn. GM Corp

2008 Saturn Vue

ALL-NEW 2008 SATURN VUE SPORT UTILITY DELIVERS PREMIUM, EUROPEAN-INSPIRED LOOKS AND RIDE QUALITY

2008 Saturn Vue
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 Vue also reinforces Saturn's commitment to safety by offering a comprehensive list of safety-enhancing features.

'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 great 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 – voted the 2007 North American Car of the Year – and the larger Outlook crossover utility. The Saturn Astra small car joins the lineup this fall, completing a comprehensive revitalization of Saturn's portfolio in less than two years.

Ride and handling

2008 Saturn VueAt 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

2008 Saturn Vue
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 occupant-protection safety features. Dual-stage front-seat air bags, front-seat side thorax air bags and rollover capable head curtain air bags covering front and rear rows are standard on all models.
Únique 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. Úpon 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, Pedal Release System, 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

2008 Saturn Vue
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 V-6 models include dual chrome exhaust.

Interior

2008 Saturn Vue
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; 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

Powertrain

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; it produces169 horsepower (126 kW)* and 161 lb.-ft. of torque (218 Nm)* in the XE. 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 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 an estimated 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.

Red Line details

The Vue Red Line features an aggressive front-end design, including a large, lower air opening and projector beam fog lamps. The rear of the vehicle features a special fascia, spoiler and chrome trapezoid exhaust tips. A lowered suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and Red Line badges complete the aggressive appearance.

From a performance perspective, the Red Line comes with standard tap up/tap down transmission control and sport-tuned ride and handling. It is powered by a dual overhead cam 3.6L V-6 VVT engine that delivers an estimated 257 horsepower (192 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. (336 Nm) of torque at 2,100 rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com) The Vue Red Line will be available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Interior modifications include a Red Line-exclusive black interior, including leather sport seats with red stitching and perforated suede fabric inserts. The vehicle also features unique Red Line instrument cluster graphics and embroidered floor mats.

Green Line hybrid details

The 2008 Vue Green Line hybrid will continue to provide consumers with an affordable hybrid that also provides uncompromised utility.

The hybrid system on the Vue Green Line combines sophisticated controls with an electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4L four-cylinder engine and a modified four-speed automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com) The system saves fuel by providing an electric power assist during acceleration; shutting off the engine at idle; early fuel cut-off during deceleration and capturing energy through regenerative braking. To comply with more stringent emission and diagnostic regulations, the 2.4L-equipped Vue Green Line will receive a new catalytic converter system with slightly elevated exhaust system backpressure. To ensure accurate horsepower and torque ratings GM will certify the power ratings to SAE standards and update this information as soon as it becomes available.

*SAE certified.

Source - GM
A compact crossover SUV, at one time the Vue was Saturn's best-selling model was GM's first ‘home-grown' entry into the car-based small-SUV market. Sold by General Motor's Saturn marque, the Vue would be the first vehicle to ride GM's Theta platform. The Vue was also one of the least expensive SUVs on the market at the time. Manufactured at the Spring Hill GM plant, the Vue was launched in 2002 and shared a unibody platform with the Pontiac Torrent, Chevrolet Equinox and the European Opel Antara.

The Vue was one of Saturn's more appealing vehicles and proved popular before the 2009 GM bankruptcy debacle. Saturn made regular improvements during the Vue's lifespan to keep it current and even expanded the lineup with the high-performance Red Line and hybrid Green Line variations. When compared to other small SUVs of the time the Vue was an attractive choice thanks to its economical price and Saturn's famous no-hassle buying practice. On the smaller side when compared to other crossover SUVs, the Vue only had 56 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, which was nearly 20 cubic feet less than the competition. However passenger space was quite roomy and even included a reclining rear seat that offered room for stretching out.

Powering the first generation four-cylinder Vue was the Ecotec I4. At first the L81 V6 from the L-Series and five-speed Aisin AF33 automatic transmission, but by 2004 the six-cylinders models received Honda's 250 hp J35A3 engine and a Honda transmission. This engine and transmission upped performance and became an important selling point. Until GM removed it in 2005 for dependability issues, the four-cylinder Vue was offered with the VTi continuously variable transmission (CVT).

In 2005 the Vue received new air vents, a new steering wheel and a brand new radio faceplate. 2006 brought with it updates for the Vue that included a newly redesigned interior with more lux appointments. Other improvements included a new bumper and grille and a few cosmetic updates to the exterior. Newly standard for 2006 was OnStar, cruise control and automatic headlights.

In 2007 the second generation Vue was launched as a rebadged Open Antara model. GM badged were added to the side of the SUV finally. In North America Vue production ended in 2009 as GM disbanded the Saturn brand.

The special high-performance Vue Red Line was introduced in 2004. This line included the same 250 hp Honda J35A3 V6 as the base model, but with sportier suspension tuning, lowered 1 inch, performance power steering calibration and 18- inch wheels. Other modifications included ground-effect front and rear bumpers, rocker panel trim, chrome exhaust tip, sporty black leather and suede seats, footwell lighting and a special gauge cluster with visual updates. Other interior modifications included a higher quality audio system.

In 2007 the Green Line model joined the Red Line as the environmentally friendly option. A mild hybrid or ‘assist hybrid', the Green Line uses a 'belt alternator starter' BAS Hybrid system. The hybrid featured a large electric motor connected to a crankshaft through a special accessory drive belt, with an updated automatic transmission fitted. The motor automatically stops the engine when the SUV comes to a halt and restarts instantly when the vehicle must once again move. This system differs from a 'start-stop' system, the electric motor helps during the initial launch, during torque smoothing and during heavy acceleration.

Storing regenerative braking energy and power for the motor/generator unit held in a 36-volt nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack was housed under the load floor. An analog gauge on the dashboard lists the regenerative charging and electric motor assist functions for the driver and real-time fuel-economy feedback is accomplished through an 'eco' light that glows when the instantaneous fuel economy is beating the window sticker fuel economy values. The hybrid was 20% more fuel efficient than the base Vue and had a 27-mpg rating, and the highest highway fuel economy of any 2007 model SUV sold in the US market.

Replacing the base 144 hp 2.2-liter inline-four engine in the Green Line was a 170 hp 2.4-liter Ecotec DOHC-phaser engine with an improved 1.0 second higher acceleration time. The Hybrid cost around $2,000 more than a similarly equipped Vue. The Hybrid was launched in production form at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 8, 2006. The Green Line went one sale later on during the year.

In 2007 Saturn debuted the second generation of the Vue for the 2008 model year. Many improvements upon the original formant were made and it shared many of its basic structure with the Antara. The second generation looked and drove like a European-designed car. Compared to its predecessor, the new Vue was similar in size, riding on a nearly identical wheelbase, and just a little bit wider and higher. The exterior of the new generation was constructed of steel body panels instead of the previous plastic ones. The new interior was much more luxurious with higher quality materials and improved ergonomics.

The SUV was manufactured in Mexico as a rebranded version of the German-designed Opel Antara. Four different trim levels were available; the XE, midgrade XR, the sporty 'Red Line' and hybrid 'Green Line'. Engine options ranged from a 2.4-liter inline-four producing 164 hp and 160 lb/ft of torque, to 3.5- and 3.6-liter V6s along with a hybrid powertrain version of the 2.4-liter model. On the XE an optional 3.5-liter V6 was available and had 215 horsepower and 220 lb/ft through a six-speed automatic. Standard on the XR for 2008 and optional for 2009 was a 3.6-liter V6 that pumped out 257 hp and 248 lb/ft of torque. The 3.6 Liter V6 was the only available option for the Red Line. Standard was a manuel-shift feature for the automatic transmission that was optional on the XR. On each trim one could specify front or all-wheel drive. Front doors now received GM badges. In Mexico and South America the Mexican-manufactured Vue was dubbed the Chevrolet Captiva Sport with a new grille insert and different badges.

Though the Vue was discontinued in 2009 for the 2010 model year GM still continued to manufacture the Chevy Captiva Sport. Late in 2011 for the 2013 model year the Captiva Sport was introduced for the US commercial and fleet markets.
For 2001 Saturn Vue numbers peaked at 393, before soaring to 75,478 in 2002. The following year sales rose to 81,924, 86,957 units sold in 2004, before reaching an all time high of 91,972 in 2005. In 2006 sales dipped slightly to 88,581 and 81,676 the following year. For 2008 sales rose to 84,767 before falling dramatically to 28,429 for the final sales year 2009.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Vue
http://www.carseek.com/reviews/saturn/vue/
http://www.edmunds.com/saturn/vue/

By Jessica Donaldson

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