2002 Saturn Vue (394)


This week’s ride is the Saturn Vue AWD V6 Sport Utility Vehicle. You say, “Just what we needed, another SUV”. I agree, but Sport Ute’s are so popular logic is thrown out the window with the proverbial bath water. It is hard to imagine why America’s auto buying public has such a fixation and love affair with this class of vehicle. I’d be interested in your “Vue’s”. If you care to make a comment send it tojoe@atthewheel.com.

This Vue is positioned with the low end SUV’s but in the top half of those, in my “Vue”. Looking at the stats of size, weight, towing capacity, passenger cubic feet, cargo cubic feet, etc. confirms my overall feeling about these vehicles. See my ranking in parenthesis before each vehicle below.

Handling & Performance:

Typical SUV handling for the most part, but it is in fact as good or better than most in height and width and among the top for ground clearance.


“Plain Jane” – but this is an economy version of this otherwise very expensive class vehicle.

Fit and Finish:

Very good. Competitive.


Not as full featured as some. Jeep and Subaru both, for example, come standard with more for the money.


Not as competitive as it needs to be in this market.

Consumer Recommendation:

Do include this SUV in your search. It will impress you as a very viable option to all the rest. I rank it 4 out of 11 noted here.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

Beef up the insulation and put the window controls on the driver door, which is more conventional.

The Competition:

(4) Saturn Vue $16-23,000, (1) Jeep Liberty $17-23,000, (2) Nissan Xterra $18-26,000, (3) Subaru Forester $20-24,000, (5) Ford Escape $19-26,000, (6) Suzuki XL-7 $20-26,000, (7) Honda CR-V$19-22,000, (8) Toyota RAV4 $17-18,000, (9) Chevrolet Tracker $16-22,000, (10) Mazda Tribute $18-24,000, (11) Hyundai Sante Fe $17-23,000.

Good News:

Great gas mileage for an SUV, dent resistant siding, and soft sell dealers.

Bad News:

Rear hatch didn’t close easily which meant I thought I was slamming it to get it to close completely – it was annoying to begin to drive and see a door open warning light. Road noise was noticeable. Window controls are on the center console, which is a reach for the driver to control the passenger side.

Standard Equipment:

 3.0 liter 181 horsepower V6 engine, 5-speed electronic auto trans, all wheel drive, air conditioning, Stereo w/ ck and CD and 6 speakers, power windows, mirrors and locks, cruise control, front and rear A/C outlets, electric power steering, power front disc and rear drum brakes, 4-wheel independent suspension, 100,000 mile tune up interval, dual airbags, child seat latches and safety locks, theft deterrent system, window washers, roof rails, stainless steel exhaust.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 25 Highway MPG.


MSRP $22,575.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2002 – An Automotive Love Affair

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