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Discussion Starter #1
While driving around this weekend (actually on the way home from the Dodge dealership after trying out the Magnum) I happened to pass a Saturn dealership. A little bell went off in my head about the commercials I had seen about the VUE. For some reason I had never looked into the VUE as an option, but it seemed to fit what I was looking for (similar to the MO, right?). So in I went, without doing any research online before the test-drive.

First Impression (without any research, driving the V6 AWD version):
* Very similar to the MO with regards to power and handling. The engine, transmission, and suspension are all from Honda (on the V6, starting with 2004).
* Transmission was very smooth and quick to respond (hey, it's a Honda after all).
* Seats weren't that comfortable, but had quite a bit of room. Rear seats had plenty of leg room (similar to MO) and could recline one "notch" (not as much or as smooth as MO, but nice all the same).
* The console and layout for the front two seats feels more like a minivan style, with high bucket seats with armrests.
* Day-time running lights can NOT be turned off (this is a particular pet peeve of mine)
* Interior seems very plastic. Dash components have a little give when you push on them, which may lead to squeeking later on. It all just looks a little "cheap."
* A few thousand dollars (US) cheaper than the MO, enough to intrigue me. Pricing the vehicles as I would buy them at CarsDirect.com got me the following "Target Price":
MO: $30,821
VUE: $24,840

So, it interested me enough that I did some research. Most of the sites (Edmunds, ConsumerReports, etc) gave the same verdict: Cheap interior, past reliability has been poor.

Moving to the Honda drivetrain should improve reliability significantly, but it certainly doesn't help the poor quality interior. Essentially my impressions followed pretty closely with what the experts had to say: If you can afford the extra dough, it would be wise to look elsewhere.

Comparing all the vehicles that I have driven over the last 6 months while looking for a new car, I would have to say that the VUE is the closest comparison to the MO so far. Size, handling, power, suspension, interior space, features, etc. are all very similar.

I think of it this way:
The Infinity FX is the MO's rich, flashy, and agressive brother. The Saturn VUE is the penny-pinching whining brother. The MO is the ballance between the two.

Bottom Line: If you're looking at the MO, but are having to sacrifice all the options that you want just to keep it in your price range, then take a look at the VUE.


Oh, by the way, they DO put a CVT into the VUE, but it is an option ONLY on the 4-cylinders, not the V6. Apparently their CVT isn't nearly as powerful as Nissan's.
 

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The VUE was the only other thing that we considered enough to talk money with the dealer. I liked the idea of getting lots of options for under $30K.

The thing that really turned me off was the front seats. They seemed to be very small and I'm not THAT big of a guy :) I tried adjusting them and I still couldn't get them to fit right. My wife seemed to have the same complaint. Had we not looked at the Murano - we'd probably be driving that.

The '04 has changed a bit from the '03. The styling has changed ever so slightly - for the better. It looks more stylish then the '03. The Honda V6 will be a nice addition.
 

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Corin

Were you looking at the Red Line Vue or just the Regular Vue? I don't know that much about them but had read that Saturn was coming out with A 250HP Red Line Vue with different body panels and a different grill.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: Corin

pcs15394 said:
Were you looking at the Red Line Vue or just the Regular Vue? I don't know that much about them but had read that Saturn was coming out with A 250HP Red Line Vue with different body panels and a different grill.
It seems that the "red line" enhancement is purely cosmetic. Because of that, I didn't care or notice. I don't put a lot of weight on style, but rather on performance, comfort and reliability. That said, I'm not sure which I was driving, but I assume it was NOT the red-line.

The V6 is 250hp. Whether FWD, AWD, Redline or not, they're all 250hp! :) I believe you can also get the redline version on the 4-cylinder, but I'm not sure.

One additional thing to note about the seats: The "cloth" seats are actually both cloth and vinal. The center is cloth, but the edges (about a 3" strip both on the seat and the back) and the headrest are vinal. I'm not sure why, it seems like Saturn's other vehicles have all-cloth seats. Anyway, I didn't like that aspect either.
 

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the rally racing nut
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originally the red-line vue was to be a bodykit as well as honda V-6 drivetrain. Then this year when the actual car came out the V-6 was available with the basic exterior and the red-line was all show and no more go.
 
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