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The Saturn Vue Red Line Was a High-Performance Saturn SUV


Here’s an amazing fact: Saturn made a high-performance version of the original Vue crossover. The original Vue, Saturn’s first SUV, was sold from 2002 to 2007, while the high-performance Red Line model was offered from 2004 to 2007. And here’s the amazing thing: it was actually fast.

The basic gist is this. When the Saturn Vue first came out for the 2002 model year, it offered two engines: a lethargic 2.2-liter 4-cylinder with 143 horsepower or a 3.0-liter V6 with 181 hp — an engine that, despite being the “upgrade” powerplant, wasn’t particularly muscular either. But General Motors, Saturn’s parent company, had an idea.

The idea was an agreement with Honda: General Motors was doing some work for Honda in some capacity, though I no longer remember exactly what, and in turn, Honda would provide 3.5-liter V6 engines for the Saturn Vue — the same engine Honda used in the larger Pilot crossover and Odyssey minivan. The result was a more powerful optional engine and Honda reliability, now in a Saturn. Saturn ditched the 181-hp V6 in favor of the Honda engine.

As a result, every single Saturn Vue from 2004 onwards was either equipped with the boring, slow 4-cylinder or, optionally, Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 — which made 250 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque, a big figure for a compact crossover both then and now. The 2-wheel drive Vue equipped with this engine did 0-to-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, which made it one of the quickest crossovers on the market.

Capitalizing on this speed, Saturn released a performance model called the Vue Red Line (a hybrid version, intended to be called the “Vue Green Line” debuted later). The Vue Red Line shared the same Honda V6 as the normal version, but it was lowered, with larger wheels and a body kit. I believe this was the extent of the “performance” modifications.

Still, it existed: a surprisingly fast Saturn SUV, thanks to a Honda engine, and even a performance model, thanks to some cosmetic modifications. Of course, most people have forgotten this now. There’s just one Saturn Vue Red Line currently listed for sale on Autotrader in the whole country. But I swear, once upon a time, it happened. Find a Saturn Vue for sale

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Here in Canada, I am still driving a silver 2004 Saturn Vue Redline. It has 220,000 km and is still running well, and my friends comment that it goes fast. It’s had no issues aside from basic maintenance. A neighbour also drives an identical one, and wants to buy it off me whenever I get a new(er) car because he loves the engine and whatnot. The only thing I dislike are those low profile tires. They are soooo expensive for such an old beater.

  2. Bought one new in 2007, still have it. The Honda and tranny are top shelf, and it looks as good as any new SUV, and has the added plus of the all-plastic exterior. Over 100,000 miles, and the only unscheduled maintenance we’ve ever needed was to replace was the gas tank straps.

  3. I bought a 2005 V6 Vue for my son 2 years go for $5k. It had only 85000 miles on it, was in perfect shape. No issues with it since then. I personally love it and hope he gets tired of it soon so I can take it off his hands. I’ve been driving my current car to 200k miles just holding onto that hope.

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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