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2006 Saturn Relay Van

4dr Relay 2 FWD

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 25 MPG Highway

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  • $22,750 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Saturn Relay Van

Printable Version

2006 Saturn Relay Van


2006 Saturn Relay

Source: New Car Test Drive

The Saturn Relay is styled to look like an SUV, with a long, square nose, exposed C-pillars, and heavy-duty roof rails. It is a minivan, however, with the valuable virtues of sliding side doors and comfortable seating for seven.

The Relay's cabin is clean and contemporary, and some neat features are available. OnStar is standard. A new integrated navigation system is available. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system comes standard, and the available PhatNoise entertainment system can play video games, digital music and movies through the vehicle's existing sound system. It's pretty Phat.

The Relay gets down the highway well, and the driver enjoys a commanding view of the road. It's smooth and quiet and the steering is light and easy. Brakes are powerful and easy to modulate for smooth stops. The standard 201-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is relatively smooth and quiet, if not particularly muscular. A new 235-horsepower, 3.9-liter V6 engine is optional on 2006 models.

All-wheel drive is available, and GM's Versatrak provides excellent traction and stability for wintry driving.

The Saturn Relay was launched as a 2005 model. For 2006, it gets more safety features and more entertainment features. Side-impact airbags are now available on selected models for improved crash protection. Relay received a five-star safety rating in the federal government's frontal crash tests and, although it does not offer side curtain airbags, it earned a five-star rating for rear-seat passengers and a four-star rating for front seat passengers in the government's side-impact tests. In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 40-mph offset-impact test, Relay rated good.

Saturn dealers are renowned for their attention to customer service, and the Relay is priced aggressively against its competition.

Model Lineup
The 2006 Saturn Relay comes in two trim levels, which with Saturn's characteristic no-frills approach are named Relay 2 and Relay 3. (There is no Relay 1.)

All Relays are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is available on Relay 3. All Relays feature seven-passenger seating, with two rows of bucket seats and a three-across split folding bench in the third row.

Relay 2 ($22,850) comes with manually operated sliding doors on both sides. Standard features include ABS, OnStar with a one-year subscription, air conditioning, tilt wheel, remote keyless entry, cruise control, power locks, power windows, power heated mirrors, a roof rail system, a nice-sounding eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio unit, rear seat audio controls, rear-seat DVD entertainment, and 17-inch wheels and tires.

Relay 3 ($27,345) adds a long list of additional standard equipment, including a six-way power driver's seat, second row captain's chairs (they have armrests, which the standard bucket seats do not), a power passenger-side sliding door, rear air conditioning, power third-row vent windows, headphones and remote control for the DVD system, storage systems overhead and in the rear cargo area, a universal garage door opener, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, traction control, and other features. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger have joined the list for '06. Second-row side impact airbags are optional ($350).

A 3.9-liter V6 is optional ($500) for late-2006 Relay 3 FWD models.

Relay 3 AWD ($29,755) adds all-wheel drive, sport-tuned steering, independent rear suspension (rather than a twist-beam axle), automatic load leveling, and an inflator kit.

Options for Relay 2 include rear-seat air conditioning ($475); a six-way power driver's seat ($275); a power sliding door for the passenger side ($450); and headphones for the DVD player ($75). An Entertainment Package ($450) includes the wireless headphones, plus a 115-volt power point and a second-row toy box. A Safety Package ($545) combines traction control with front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags. The Captain's Chair Package ($1,095) replaces the second-row buckets with captain's chairs that incorporate side-impact airbags, too.

Options for Relay 3 include leather upholstery with heated front seats ($1,350) and GPS navigation ($1,995). A Convenience Package ($545) combines a power driver-side sliding door with ultrasonic rear park assist.

Options for all Relays include StabiliTrak electronic stability control ($450); XM Satellite Radio ($325, including a one-year subscription); a PhatNoise entertainment system ($795) that features a 40 gigabyte hard drive that can store 10,000 songs in MP3, WMA or WAV formats; remote starter ($175); and a trailering package for up to 3500 pounds ($175). A Touring Package ($260) for FWD Relays combines firmer suspension components with uprated tires, automatic load leveling, and the inflator kit.

Safety equipment has been upgraded for '06. The multi-stage frontal airbags that come standard now feature GM's Passenger Sensing System, which shuts off the right-front airbag if it detects a child or small adult in that seat. Front-seat seat-belt retractors incorporate pre-tensioners and load limiters. Front-seat side-impact airbags are now standard on Relay 3 and optional on Relay 2. Second-row side-impact airbags are optional.

Also available is a second-row seat that swivels outside of the vehicle and incorporates a power lift function, designed to make it easier for physically challenged people to get in and out ($4,795).


Styling cues may suggest a sport utility vehicle, but the Saturn Relay looks like a minivan with a long nose. The sliding-door slots are a dead giveaway, as are the rear door handles, which are in the wrong place for an SUV. The Relay is also too low to the ground to pull off the masquerade; its 5.5-inch ground clearance and 17.5-inch step-in height are about 3 inches lower than a typical SUV stance.

However, sliding doors and a low step-in height are good things. These are some of the key features that make minivans more practical than SUVs for most on-road duty.

Relay shares its pseudo-SUV facade with the Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander, and Pontiac Montana SV6. All four are nearly the same under the skin, sharing a single powertrain with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Only minor styling and equipment differences distinguish them from each other.

Relay's outer skin is steel, not plastic like other Saturns, although its horizontal-bar grille and big red logo give it some Saturn identity. And the grey cladding that runs all around the lower perimeter of Relay suggests a kinship with the Saturn Vue, a compact sport utility. Another SUV styling cue: Instead of trying to blend the side windows into a single visual element, the designers designed them as three distinct windows on each side.

All models ride on 17-inch tires and wheels, but while Relay 2 comes with steel wheels, Relay 3 gets painted alloy wheels.


Interior Features
The Saturn Relay provides plenty of space for family use inside, a commanding view of the road, and plenty of outward vision in all directions. The standard interior layout is four bucket seats and a split/folding rear bench. The available second-row captain's chairs are roomy and comfortable. Relay 3 models have a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

The interior styling is clean and contemporary, with good quality, but not adventurous, materials, and good fit and finish. Much of it, however, looks like standard GM fare. The Relay uses an unconvincing maple wood grain around the center stack and door switch plates. Upholstery is available in only gray or tan, whether cloth or leather.

The Relay's cabin is functional. The gauges in the central cluster are large, with large numerals, easy to read and use. The instrument panel, center console and door panels are well integrated, and follow other GM interior schemes to the letter, as do the operation, adjustment, and stowage of the seats.

The roomy interior features an overhead console and an overhead rail system that integrates rear HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and audio controls, lights, and rear-seat DVD entertainment system into a single unit. Three storage modules can be ordered that snap into this overhead system; each storage module is 12 inches wide and 10 inches deep, with job-specific shapes.

The Relay works well for hauling small, medium, and long cargoes. There's 27 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Fold it away and there's 74 cubic feet behind the second row. The 50/50 split third-row bench seat can be folded to create a level load floor when combined with an available rear storage bin. The second-row bucket seats can be folded and tumbled against the front seats, providing 136 cubic feet of cargo space. The second- and third-row seats can be removed for additional cargo space and utility.

The PhatNoise entertainment system is a 40-gigabyte hard drive that installs in the overhead rail system. It can store up to 10,000 songs in MP3, WMA or WAV formats, store and play up to 40 movies, or a combination of songs and movies. It can play video games, and has a voice-browsing interface. It can transfer digital photos through a USB port in the cartridge and play them back on the DVD screen. The standard eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system sounded good to us, and the DVD system was easy to use, even for us.

XM Satellite Radio is great to have when traveling because the stations don't change as you drive across the country. It's nice to have around town for listening to the 24-hour news and sports broadcasts, comedy clubs, or for staying tuned into your preferred type of music (country & western, classical, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, etc.).

OnStar works well as a navigation system because there's nothing to program. Press the button and a human operator responds, to provide directions and other assistance. OnStar always knows the location of your vehicle and OnStar operators direct the rescue squad to you if your airbag goes off and you do not respond to their calls. Or you can press the emergency button. OnStar can unlock your doors if you lock your keys inside. They can direct you to the nearest gas station or help find a good restaurant or motel. If your vehicle is stolen, OnStar can pinpoint its location and direct the authorities to apprehend and recover.


Driving Impressions
The Saturn Relay's standard 3.5-liter V6 is relatively smooth and quiet, but not particularly powerful, so you have to leave extra time and space for passing maneuvers. By modern standards it's an old engine, with a cast-iron block and pushrod-operated overhead valves in an aluminum head. Currently rated at 201 horsepower at 5600 rpm, and 216 pound-feet of torque at 4000, it still gets the job done, but isn't exactly rippling with musculature.

The AWD model uses the same engine, but returned to deliver more torque at lower rpm, sacrificing peak horsepower and peak torque slightly, to 196 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 213 pound-feet of torque at 3200 rpm.

The optional 3.9-liter V6 is newer and more powerful. It will still be an iron-block, pushrod, overhead-valve design, but with more displacement and variable valve timing it is expected to develop 235 horsepower at 5600 rpm, and 239 pound-feet of torque at 4400.

The four-speed automatic transmission works flawlessly, though some of the competition now has five-speed automatics that are more responsive and efficient.

The steering has a nice, light, easy touch and effort, making it easy to maneuver in crowded parking lots. The Relay feels substantial, and it is, weighing in at nearly 4300 pounds. The ride in the Relay is pretty quiet, though it's not as quiet as the Buick Terraza. The suspension allows a fair amount of body roll (lean) in fast corners, which is nature's way of telling you to slow down. When you need to do that, the four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are powerful and progressive. Anti-lock brakes allow the driver to maintain control of the steering in an emergency braking situation.

The Versatrak all-wheel-drive system on the Relay 3 AWD model works full time. The driver need do nothing, with no buttons to push or levers to throw. It's quiet and efficient and, because it's lightweight, there's little downside. All-wheel drive can help the driver stay on the road in adverse conditions. If one or both front wheels lose grip, the system automatically transfers power to the rear tires. Versatrak also apportions power from side to side between the rear wheels, an ability not found on most all-wheel-drive systems.

Front-drive Relay 3 models come standard with electronic traction control, which limits wheelspin during acceleration on slippery surfaces.

StabiliTrak electronic stability control maximizes handling and braking on a variety of surfaces, and is particularly useful in slippery corners. An array of sensors monitor steering wheel angle, wheel speed, brake pressure, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, and yaw rate; a computer uses the data to compare the driver's intentions with the actual direction the Relay is headed. StabiliTrak then adjusts engine torque or the brake pressure to individual wheels to help steer the vehicle back to the path the driver intended. It's optional. We strongly recommend StabiliTrak as it can help the driver avoid an accident.


Though it sports SUV styling cues, the Saturn Relay offers the functionality and convenience of a minivan: sliding doors, seven-passenger seating, cargo-carrying flexibility, and low step-in height. Introduced as an all-new model for '05, the Relay gets significantly upgraded safety systems for '06. Saturn has a reputation for providing a friendly sales and service experience. Relay offers value and a broad price spectrum, with the availability of a strong set of interesting features.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Jim McCraw filed this report from Pellston, Michigan.


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Saturn Relay 2 ($22,850); Relay 3, ($27,345); Relay 3 AWD ($29,755)
Engines: 3.5-liter ohv 12-valve V6; 3.5-liter ohv 12-valve V6; 3.9-liter ohv 12-valve V6
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual frontal airbags, front-seat seat-belt pre-tensioners and load limiters, LATCH child-seat anchors, ABS
Safety equipment (optional): side-impact air bags for first and second rows, traction control, Stabilitrak electronic stability control, all-wheel drive
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Doraville, Georgia

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Saturn Relay 3 ($27,345)
Standard equipment: air conditioning with auxiliary rear unit, traction control, power passenger-side sliding door, six-way power driver's seat, second row captain's chairs, leather-wrapped tilt wheel with audio controls, remote keyless entry, cruise control, power locks, power windows, power third-row vent windows, power heated mirrors, roof rail system, eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio unit, rear seat audio controls, rear-seat DVD entertainment with headphones and remote control, universal garage-door opener, rear cargo area storage system, 17-inch aluminum wheels, OnStar with a one-year subscription, dual frontal airbags and seat-mounted side-impact airbags for front-row seats
Options as tested (MSRP): Convenience Package ($545) includes driver-side power sliding door and ultrasonic rear park assist; second-row side-impact airbags ($350), XM Satellite Radio ($325), remote starting ($175)
Destination charge: 740
Gas guzzler tax:  
Price as tested (MSRP): 29480
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5-liter ohv 12-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 201 @ 5600
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 216 @ 4000
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 18/25
Wheelbase: 121.1
Length/width/height: 204.9/72.0/72.0
Track, f/r: 62.4/62.9
Turning circle: 40.4
Seating capacity: 7
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.8/59.9/39.9
Head/hip/leg room, m: 38.9/61.2/38.9
Head/hip/leg room, r: 38.1/48.7/36.2
Trunk volume: 136.5
Towing capacity:  
Suspension, f: independent, MacPherson struts, L-shaped lower control arms, coil springs
Suspension, r: twist-beam axle with integral anti-roll bar, trailing arms, coil springs
Ground clearance: 5.5
Curb weight: 4221
Tires: P225/60R17
Brakes, f/r: vented disc/vented disc with ABS
Fuel capacity: 25

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2006 Saturn Relay Van

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

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Passenger Crash Grade

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Side Impact Crash Test - Front

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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear

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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt
Rear Body Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std


Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Std
Printable Version

2006 Saturn Relay Van

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 6 Years/36,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2-year/24,000-Mile1 CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

12-Month/12,000-Mile2 Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty.

5-year/100,000-Mile3 Powertrain Limited Warranty for model years up to 2014.

1Covers only scheduled oil changes with filter, tire rotations and 27 point inspections, according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Does not include air filters. Maximum of 4 service events. See participating dealer for other restrictions and complete details.

2Whichever comes first from date of purchase. See participating dealer for limited warranty details.

3Whichever comes first from original in-service date. See participating dealers for limited warranty details.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2010 model year / Under 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning
Download checklist
Return/Exchange Program 3-Day 150-Mile Satisfaction Guarantee
Roadside Assistance Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Saturn Relay Van

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