Pros: Smooth ride and shifting, great price, gas mileage, safety features, front seat room, quiet interior
Cons: Front cup holders too low, stereo sound quality
This is our first experience owning a Saturn, so far we feel we made the right choice. We saw the VUE concept car several years ago, my main concern was the electric steering and wanted to make sure the vehicle proved itself in the field. After two Nissan Pathfinders we liked very much, this vehicle caught our eye as having plenty of room for hauling as well as benefits of an SUV in a smaller package.
This is a 2003 vehicle, the dropdown menu only allowed entry of 2002. We took advantage of the 0% financing for 60 months plus 3 months with no payments, that was all we could negotiate on the Saturn. The dealer would not even negotiate on wiring for a trailer towing, they do stick to the no haggle pricing at the dealership.
The electric power steering did take some getting used to. I found that that at first I tended to oversteer on corners. After several trips I started to grip the wheel with both hands on corners to dampen the effect, now I am very comfortable with the handling of the vehicle in all situations. The wide wheelbase also helps in the handling department.
I opted for the 2WD, 4-cyl and 5-speed manual transmission. Note the price of the vehicle does increase rapidly if you add 4WD and a V6. Mileage on the sticker is claimed to be 28 mpg, even at initial breakin we are hitting that on the open road. Towing capacity of 1,500 lbs is somewhat limiting, fine for two snowmobiles or ATV's but not much more. I have noticed this engine revs higher than most at highway speeds, about 3,000 RPM at 65 mph. This higher RPM does not seem out of line when driving, and does help to keep the speed rock solid when using the cruise control.
Also note the manual transmission has a very comfortable shifter located slightly higher than most vehicles. Everyone who has driven it has commented at how smoothly is shifts.
The seats in this vehicle are very comfortable even on long trips. Rear leg room is more limited, but does fit 3 people across without too much problem. (We mainly just have our teenage daughter and her friends in the back seat.)
For another $1,000 in sticker price, get the sport package, it includes alloy 16" wheels, sunroof, power window and locks, and cruise control, and CD player, well worth the money. It also has outside temperature indication and compass on the mirror. Our color choice is Bright Blue, lots of nice comments on that from neighbors!
We have not experienced any problems yet. Saturn does a nice job with locating fluids, fuses, etc, in places easy to access. They also have a full size spare, the jack compartment is easy to open on the side, not buried at the bottom of the trunk.