Saturn's second-generation 2008 Vue is one of the first in the sheetmetal manifestations of the brand's newly synchronous orbit with GM's European Opel arm. In an ever more crowded field where being noticed is half the battle, the Vue's exterior looks stick out as crossover cool. The five-passenger vehicle is without a doubt one of the slickest-looking contenders in this year's Sport/Utility of the Year field.
The Vue's interior packaging also looks to be worlds better than the outgoing model's at first glance and is arguably the best Saturn effort to date -- especially considering its relatively inexpensive starting point. Beginning just south of $22 grand (for four-speed automatic, front-drive models), the Vue has one of the lowest base prices of any vehicle in the field, although the model we summoned -- an AWD XR variant -- checked in at $28, 665.
Our test Vue came with the most powerful block on the option list, GM's 3.6-liter, DOHC 24-valve V-6 rated at 257 horsepower, mated to the available six-speed automatic. Gone is the optional, Honda-sourced 3.5-liter -- the Vue now features an impressive number of engine options including two sixes, a four-cylinder, and a mild hybrid. Coming next year will be a model equipped with GM's much-anticipated two-mode hybrid that the automaker promises will greatly boost the Vue's mileage figures. The top-tier 3.6-liter model we flogged is EPA-rated at 16 city/22 highway. Despite our test model's heft (4109 pounds), the Vue performed fairly well during our 0-60 run, posting time of 7.8 seconds, with the quarter mile coming in at 16.0 seconds at 87.0 mph.
Safety is always a big concern with people-movers, and Saturn is relentlessly pushing the new Vue's numerous features designed to keep the human cargo secure in any worst-case scenario.
So what's our, um, view of the new Vue? Has it improved enough to snag the 2007 Sport/Utility of the Year crown? Be sure to check back at motortrend.com on Monday, October 15 and in the December issue of Motor Trend to find out how it fared against the 10 other contenders in this year's field.
By Mike Floyd
VIDEO: THE 2008 SATURN VUE AT THE SUOTY