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Old 09-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #1
KingRex
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1994 SL2
Default Thinking about buying a Vue

So what's what? I have been driving S-Series for a good long time now, and I pretty much know the ups and downs of them inside and out.

I know nothing of the Vues. I have been doing a lot of reading, and I have come to the conclusion if I get one, I want to get one of two types, and I wanted to see what the good and bad of them is.

The two types I can considering are:

2.2L with the 5-Speed transmission

Or

06/07 3.5L Honda Engine

I like the sound of having a small SUV with stick shift and a 4 cylinder engine for better fuel economy, but on the other hand, part of me feels like, to heck with that. If you're going to get an SUV, get one with a big engine and more bells and whistles.

I've always read about the 2.2L having issues with the timing chain, and I can't say that is a job I want to do. But the 3.5L uses a timing belt which will need to be done every 90K miles, which sounds unappealing as well.

I like the newer styling of the '06 and 7 interior, and I like the redesigned front face. Makes the Vue look less like an S-Series on steroids. Not that it was a bad thing, but the early Vues, you can taste the S-Series styling on them, while good, they look like a big S-Car

Advice? Whatever Vue I end up buying is going to be my full time vehicle. I plan to take it on cross country road trips. I'm not selling my S, but I will use the Vue more.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
vasy
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2007 VUE Green Line
Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

Stick with the part and get 3.5.
Just change tranny fluid often.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

I know that you want to avoid the 03's> re: T/C issue. Supposedly '04 and beyond is fixed. I've an '05 , 4cyl ,5-speed,,,,, auction gamble @ 140,000 miles for 3450$, complete with brown sludgy pudding crap in the coolant expansion tank and grime all over the engine and undercarriage.

Everything works, but only after a grand or so in suspension wear items, lowering springs and tires, lube/coolant flushes/changes and topping off refrigerant. THe thermostat was also at issue but I let a trusted shop handle it for $300. It's behind the engine and I didn't want to become an expert to remove it( it is involved)...

I tried to beat the snot out of it when I first got it but gave up when it kept up with the abuse. From what I've heard , the v6 can be as economical if you keep it under 70.

However,it's been my experience, when you creep past 80/90mph with the Ecotec motor, the best you can hope for is 15 mpg( my experience on a SAn Diego to Tucson run). The motor in the 5-speed is really winding out at those speeds.

Usual is 25mpg on crap Cali gas.



I would say the 06/7 V-6 bears further consideration as the 4 banger is noisy when really moving and has no real economy advantage.
...
'05 ,2.2L, FWD,5-speed stick with transaxle death rattle is history,,,
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:39 PM   #4
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

Here is my take. IMO the Vue is not as durable feeling as the S. My fuel economy experience has been high 20's to low 30's with my 2.2 5 spd. I will also tell you the 5 spd in the Vue drives nothing like the one in an "S" car thanks to the drive by wire throttle system. It is extremely difficult to drive smoothly (without having the vehicle lurching). While a human controlled throttle like the S is so much more predictable.
Bottom line if I had to do it over I would probably not buy another (or at least not a 5 spd). As for the 2.2 being noisy frankly I don't get it. It is very quiet and smooth. Almost too much so. YMMV
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:05 PM   #5
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

I love my 06 3.5L V6 AWD Vue. The biggest issue I have heard is the drive shaft center support bearing is, well, cheap. The rubber around it tends to fail and the bearing itself wears out and has been known to sound like a squealing teapot as you drive. Mine started making that noise, and I took the drive shaft out. The bearing looks and moves fine, and the rubber is in amazingly good condition. However the universal joins were shot, so I'm hoping that replacing the u-joints will get rid of the squeal (I'll write that up no matter what the outcome).

On the upside (and what I think may happen every summer as some have done), dropping the drive shaft (15-20 min task) gives the Vue about a 10% fuel mileage improvement. The Vue has consistently got 20-23 MPG, mostly city driving but some highway. With the drive shaft out, we are seeing 24-27 MPG . While this isn't amazing, it isn't that bad for a V6 powered box!

In the end, if you can find one of each, take it out for an extended test drive (go out on the highway), and see how the car performs in every driving condition you can find. You'll have an easy choice once you experience the two, as only one will likely fit the idea of what you want the Vue to be.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:40 PM   #6
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

2004+ 2.2L motors should have the timing chain issues fixed.

If you are going to put a LOT of highway/interstate miles on the VUE, the 2.2L isn't really the best choice. At 70+ mph, the size of the VUE is pretty big for the 2.2L to efficiently push through the air. I've drained many, many tanks of gas on a bunch of midwestern interstates (I-80, I-35, I-70....) and while you can almost always count on a headwind or significant crosswind, I saw MPG numbers around 22-24 consistently at those speeds. The 3.5L does much better under those same conditions- but won't be as good at slower city speeds.

The pre-2006 interiors are pretty much S-series quality. Which, as you know, isn't a good thing.

I recently sold my 2004 2.2L 5 speed for a 2006 V6 Mariner AWD. There are some pluses and minuses on both sides of the deal, but overall I'm happy to be out of my VUE. The V6 does provide a nice level of thrust and I grew tired of doing my own shifting in the VUE. In a car that's fun to drive, a manual transmission is the way to go, but the VUE isn't really all that much fun to drive.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:26 PM   #7
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

Quick buying guide:

Avoid any model, any year with AWD. It is more prone to breakage, robs mpg and provides little awd benefit considering it only applies rear power for the brief moment that the fronts slip.
Too much downside for too little upside.

4 cylinder:
Avoid automatic trans from '02 thru '04. CVT design, a GM experiment that failed.
Avoid 4 cylinder engines from '02 or '03 since they had oil isuess that resulted in broken chains. If you can prove the car has a newer engine put in then okay.
Best bet in 4cyl is:
'04 thru '07 manual trans
'05 thru '07 automatic, fwd only

6 cylinder:
Avoid 3.0L engine of '02 & '03 due to odd Opel design and weak trans.
'04 thru '07 has Honda 3.5L V6 that is a reliable engine but fussy transmission which is best to change trans fluid every 25k miles.
Best bet in 6 cyl is:
'04 thru '07 but in fwd only.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

I was planning to avoid Hybrid, and AWD completely. Two systems I don't really want to mess with at all.

The 3.0 I already knew was a junk motor bolted to a weak transmission. I have seen too many L-Series kick the bucket because that motor is weird and the transmission is junk.

As for the 2.2L, I can very much seeing it struggling to push the Vue over 70 and still hold Mpg. In city, yeah, excellent motor for it, on the high way where most of my driving is, not so much. I do admit to having a heavy foot. I frequently drive my 2002 SL2 over 75, 80mph on the highway constant.

I also was not aware that Drive By Wire had come in to play that early. I figured it was over 2007 or so that GM started to use it. I always find DBW systems to feel like stepping on mush. Step on the gas and nothing happens for a split second.

As for the 3.5L, I had never heard the transmission was weak. I did read somewhere that it is supposedly a Honda Transmission too, and I had always heard their transmissions are decent.

The 25K mile fluid changes sounds excessive, but not when you remember you own an S-Series, and they demand it every 30K. The TAAT transmission and it's valve body issue.

I've been in a Vue or two before, and I do have to agree the older interiors do feel S-Series Cheap. Having driven all 3 Generations of S-Series, I know how cheap interiors feel. The Gen 1 S cars are the worst for it. The Gen 3 interior feels the best, but still cheap plastic. That is part of the reason I will probably end up in a 06 or 07. They have a really nice interior, I like the stereo they come optioned with (Have a thread in S-Series General on how to make that radio work in an S-Series.) and over all the rest of the interior has a very nice look to it.

I'll probably aim for a 2007 3.5L FWD when the time comes. I am just trying to learn about them before I go buy one. I'd like to stay in a Saturn for a few more years before I migrate in to something else.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:10 PM   #9
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2005 VUE 3.5L
2007 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrw1621 View Post
Quick buying guide:

Avoid any model, any year with AWD. It is more prone to breakage, robs mpg and provides little awd benefit considering it only applies rear power for the brief moment that the fronts slip.
Too much downside for too little upside.

4 cylinder:
Avoid automatic trans from '02 thru '04. CVT design, a GM experiment that failed.
Avoid 4 cylinder engines from '02 or '03 since they had oil isuess that resulted in broken chains. If you can prove the car has a newer engine put in then okay.
Best bet in 4cyl is:
'04 thru '07 manual trans
'05 thru '07 automatic, fwd only

6 cylinder:
Avoid 3.0L engine of '02 & '03 due to odd Opel design and weak trans.
'04 thru '07 has Honda 3.5L V6 that is a reliable engine but fussy transmission which is best to change trans fluid every 25k miles.
Best bet in 6 cyl is:
'04 thru '07 but in fwd only.
I try to avoid too much bad-speak about 2.2, 5-spd, 3.0 or the Aisin transmission because I've not owned or driven one of those Vue's.

I do have experience with AWD Vue's and I think rear wheels applying power to road only when front wheels lose traction is a great idea.

I have a 2005 Vue 3.5 with AWD that always gets me up icy slopes and/or moving smartly when its my turn at a 4-way stop.

To be sure, the Vue is the tenth AWD vehicle I've owned - preceded by 89, 90, 00 & 02 Subaru's, 93 Cherokee, 98 Grand Cherokee, 98 & 03 Ford PU and 04 Chevy PU ... all with AWD, 4WD or 4X4, and the Vue does exactly what I need done when needed.

I've had zero mechanical problems with my AWD and can truthfully say the difference in MPG for identical travel routes is not measurable by practical people ... I also have a 2007 Vue with 3.5 and FWD.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

I own a 2006 5 speed manual, so I'm partial... But if you do 75-80 in it, don't expect great mileage. I do just that on the highway and get about 25 mpg in the summer and 23 in winter. City is pretty good no matter what time of year at around 22-23.

I can't say what the 3.5 will do during the same highway runs, but if you drop it to around 70, my understanding from other posts is that it will get you better than the 2.2 manual. Give it the lead foot in city and you kill the mpgs in the 3.5 while the 2.2 doesn't really drop much in my experience.

If that's true, and you have the extra oomph the Honda motor provides, it seems like the way to go for you if timing belt and transmission fluid change maintenance is a minor issue for you.

Ugh, can't believe I admitted that...
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Old 09-10-2013, 01:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Thinking about buying a Vue

Mazda CX5 with 6spd manual, FWD. 35 mpg hwy, a stick shift that feels good, and way more fun to drive. ~$20-21k, though.

In 15 years the gas savings may pay for itself...
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