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2006 Saturn Vue Sport Utility Crossover

4dr I4 Manual FWD

Starting at | Starting at 23 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $17,390 original MSRP
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2006 Saturn Vue Sport Utility Crossover

Printable Version

2006 Saturn Vue Sport Utility Crossover

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2006 Saturn Vue

Source: MSN Autos

The Saturn Vue is still peaking.

Introduced in calendar 2001, the only sport-utility vehicle at Saturn was setting another annual sales record in calendar 2005. In fact, the Vue was on track to outsell several notable competitors this year, including the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Xterra, Honda Element and Mazda Tribute.

How can the neither wimpy nor brutish Vue SUV—which emanates from a decidedly non-truckish car brand like Saturn—keep improving its sales and getting them near the 100,000-per-year mark?

It's the package. With a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price of less than $17,500 for a base, two-wheel-drive Vue with manual transmission and less than $19,000 for a base, two-wheel-drive Vue with an automatic, this is a conveniently-sized, five-passenger SUV that's affordable—especially when Saturn's parent company General Motors Corp. piles on discounts as it did during 2005.

Indeed, the Saturn Vue is GM's SUV with the lowest MSRP—a point that no doubt contributed to those higher 2005 sales. Even the much-maligned Pontiac Aztek, which wrapped up its final model year in 2005, had a higher MSRP.

The Vue also is nice-looking—in contrast to the Aztek—without being brash or bland. Its styling is updated for the 2006 model year with new headlamps, grille, hood and interior, is mildly intriguing.

And the Vue appeals to many buyers because it rides more like a car than a truck, while providing good views over traffic because of its high ride height. Note, though, that the Vue's ride height is not so high off the pavement that adults have to hoist themselves up to get inside.

Fuel economy status
Don't overlook the Vue's status as the fifth-best gasoline-powered SUV in fuel economy in the 2006 model year.

When fitted with the base four-cylinder engine and five-speed, manual transmission, the front-wheel-drive 2006 Vue is rated at 23 miles a gallon in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A four-cylinder, two-wheel-drive Vue with automatic is rated lower, at 22/27 mpg.

But when a fuel-conscious consumer gets to the point of considering a Vue with an automatic, I recommend going on up to the Vue with the V6, which comes only with an automatic transmission.

This V6 is a Honda engine and arguably the best perk of the Vue. (GM and Honda signed an unusual agreement in 1999 for this powerplant-sharing, which put the Honda-engineered and Honda-built 3.5-liter V6 into the Vue starting in the 2005 model year. Honda's new top executive in Japan has said, however, that he's not fond of such agreements and prefers that Honda engines be found only in Honda vehicles, so the current arrangement may not extend very far.)

So lucky consumers who get the current Honda V6 will note that it gives the Vue very nearly the same fuel economy, overall, as the much more anemic-feeling, GM-built four cylinder.

Specifically, the Vue with V6 has a wonderful 250 horsepower and 242 lb-ft of torque as well as a commendable fuel economy rating of 20/28 mpg, for a combined city/highway rating of 24 mpg. This compares with the combined city/highway rating of 24.5 mpg for the four-cylinder Vue with automatic that generates just 143 horses and 152 lb-ft of torque.

Note that the recommended gasoline for all Vues is unleaded regular.

Continual improvements
The Vue retains the dent-resistant plastic body panels that Saturn is known for. These panels can withstand a grocery cart banging into them and dings from adjacent car doors—all without any lasting evidence of damage.

But because these plastic panels need room to expand in the heat of a sunny summer day, the gaps between some Vue body panels, such as by the doors, are large and noticeable and not as easily overlooked as those found on other vehicles with metal body panels. The difference is apparent when comparing the Vue to a Honda or Toyota vehicle—two companies that have focused efforts on reducing the gaps between outer body panels.

The Vue's door handles outside can accommodate a full hand, but they don't pull straight out as a person might expect. These handles have to be lifted upward as well as out, which takes some getting used to.

While I'm at the door issue, I noticed the keyhole on the driver's door of the Vue tester. I couldn't miss it, because it was surrounded by a sizable dollop of black rubber or sealant in an unattractive fashion.

Another boo-boo on the low-mileage test Vue: The bulb that was supposed to show drivers I had my blinker on, indicating an upcoming right-hand turn, was burned out. I noticed because every time I put on the right-hand blinker, it made a very rapid blink-blink sound, not the more normal sound pattern of the fully operational left-hand blinker.

Inside, the new Vue has more modern-looking audio and ventilation controls, and plastic trim on the insides of the doors and on the dashboards is updated.

In an unusual offering in the lower-priced, compact SUV segment, all Vue models now come standard with the OnStar emergency notification system with a free, one-year subscription. OnStar can notify emergency personnel if a vehicle is involved in a crash that's severe enough to deploy the frontal airbags.

Also new: All Vues now come with standard remote keyless entry, cruise control and power windows, door locks and outside mirrors.

I just wish the rear seat cushion was updated, too. It's flat, feels thin and doesn't extend far enough to provide the support for my thighs that I like. And I'm 5 feet 4 with short legs.

In addition, in the test Vue, I could easily see joints and other components of the rear seats where the cushions join. This is not something I see regularly in other SUVs.

Still, rear-seat legroom and front- and rear-seat headroom is comfortable.

The Vue's rear seatbacks are split into one-third and two-thirds sections that fold down to accommodate long cargo items. Maximum cargo space is a usable 63.8 cubic feet.

Safety items optional
Alas, the Vue lags in some safety equipment.

The middle person in the back seat has no head restraint.

Anti-lock braking (ABS), which has been around for more than a decade and helps give drivers steering control during panic braking, is optional equipment on the four-cylinder Vues, and the pricing of more than $500 for this option is surprisingly high.

Curtain airbags are another example. They are available for all 2006 Vues, but only as optional equipment. Pricing for these protective bags are nearly $400.

In contrast, the 2006 Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, for example, have standard curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes, among other things, on all models. And the Tucson and Sportage starting MSRPs are competitive with the Vue.

Current power choices
The test 2006 Vue, with uplevel V6, responded readily, and driving was pretty effortless. I slipped into city traffic easily and merged aggressively into highway traffic without hesitating.

In fact, I found myself on several occasions traveling faster than I thought—once getting up to 65 miles an hour quite quickly on an uphill entrance ramp to a highway.

This V6 comes with a smooth-shifting, five-speed automatic transmission and produces 242 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm.

To put this in perspective, the 2006 Tucson's V6 produces 173 horsepower, while the Mazda Tribute's V6 develops 200 horsepower.

Indeed, for the 2006 model year, Toyota updated its RAV4 to include a V6 for the first time. Maximum horsepower in the new RAV4 is 269.

The Vue's base engine remains the 2.2-liter four cylinder that generates a maximum 152 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

Too bad, though, that no Vue has an automatic with shift-it-yourself manumatic mode. It is available in some other SUVs, such as the Tucson.

Interior ride
Some wind noise emanated from the driver door window area in the test Vue, and I heard some road noise from the tires.

But the Vue rode and handled like a car, with only vibrations—not jolts—coming through, even on dirt roads with washboard surfaces.

At times, though, the steering felt light and a bit disconnected.

Waiting for a hybrid?
In mid-calendar 2007, the Vue becomes GM's first consumer vehicle with gas-electric hybrid power system.

The 2007 Vue Green Line, as it's called, will come with a hybrid powerplant that combines a four-cylinder engine with electric power that's stored in a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. This is similar to the workings of the nation's best-selling hybrid, the Toyota Prius.

But where the Prius can be propelled solely on electric power in certain circumstances—another gas-saving mode that can come during slow speed travel, for example—the Vue Green Line will be limited to only about three seconds of electric-only power.

This is expected to keep the Vue's fuel economy savings on the milder side vis-a-vis the Prius-type system.

But at least one GM official has indicated this less-complex hybrid system could mean consumers won't have to pay the going $3,000 or more price premium that today's hybrid vehicles carry. He said the premium for a Vue hybrid may be closer to $1,500.

Stay tuned. Exact fuel economy ratings and prices won't be announced for the hybrid Vue until closer to the on-sale date in the middle of calendar 2006.

Printable Version

2006 Saturn Vue Sport Utility Crossover

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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Rollover Resistance
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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 Opt
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Opt

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Telematics Std
Printable Version

2006 Saturn Vue Sport Utility Crossover

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 Vue Sport Utility Crossover

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