Pros: Affortable "Mini-Van Substitute"
Cons: Overstated Mileage So Far
Disclaimer: I am not an automobile expert. The only time I have gotten under the hood is when I dropped my keys.
Having said that, I recently traded in my 94 Isuzu Rodeo--- the one without cup holders. My wife and I considered a wagon or van, but opted to look at, in her words, a car-SUV. Or as they are called in the brochure- "Compact SUV's".
The VUE fit the bill perfect. They offer a FWD 4-cyl, AWD-4, and AWD-6. I test drove the AWD-4 and AWD-6 and the difference was NOT worth the $2,000 to me. The dealer told me to go with the 6 if I planned on towing things. Nope. The AWD was a given due to the winters here in Minnesota!
The AWD-4 was really---- peppy. Does that make sense? The dealer mentioned something about a new V-Tech engine. Go to the Saturn site if you want the specifics on the design of that engine as I do not want to bore you. What I did notice is that it is weird getting used to the feeling that the engine doesn't shift. It just smoothly runs. I like it a lot!
I paid about $20,000 for the VUE and got some of the basic features; airbags, ABS, CD player, etc. The car really feels cool. It looks good, and the interior is laid out well. The back seat has seats that split and fold down. It isn't a 50/50 split- more like 70/30. This is really nice because we can have our kid in the rear facing car seat in the middle, yet still fold down the smaller seat section to fit luggage or my golf clubs! Nice. You can also recline the back seat (only slightly) for longer trips. That seems like a nice feature for road trips, but I haven't used it.
I only have about 1,000 miles on the VUE, but I have only been getting 22 miles per gallon. I expected closer to 25, but maybe I have a different definition of "highway" vs. "city". Or maybe the mpg will improve as the car is broken in. What do I know...