Saturn's New Look Comes into Vue

Bob English from Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper recently reviewed the all-new 2008 Saturn Vue XR all-wheel-drive sport-utility. "As with all the new wave of Saturn vehicles I have driven recently," he said. "The Vue reflects a welcome, European-inspired approach to style, detail and driving dynamics."

I drove this second-generation Vue — the first was launched in 2002 — compact crossover from Saturn for the first time early last year when it was launched and quite liked it, after an initially short acquaintance. Spending a full week with it recently confirmed my earlier view. Performance is certainly one area in which the XR shines. It gets the better of the two V-6s offered, the all-alloy, variable valve timing, 3.6-litre unit that puts out 252 horsepower and 241 lb-ft of torque that's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The other V-6 is a cast-iron 222-hp 3.5-litre, while entry-level models come with a hard-working, four-cylinder engine. Ride is firm and a bit trucky, a result of it having to be firmly sprung to deal with the hefty mass. Braking, according to AJAC testing, is as good as or better than most vehicles in its class. The interior definitely benefits from Euro-inspired design, with quality materials, including faux-carbon fibre and aluminum, formed into pleasing features.

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Flashback Friday: 1993 Saturn Shortage

Flashback Friday: 1993 Saturn Shortage

Back in the early days, Saturn was a bit of a phenomenon. As a new brand on the automotive landscape with a new way of doing business, folks came from miles around to check out their relatively unknown lineup of Tennessee-built plastic-bodied small cars. The trouble was that after kicking the tires and taking one for a spin around the block, customers usually wanted to buy one.