2002 Saturn VUE Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
April 22, 2002

You have to wonder why Saturn and GM were so far behind the curve in launching a compact, car-like SUV like the VUE. Before the VUE, the only compact SUV in GM’s stable was Chevrolet’s truck-based, not-so-highway-friendly Tracker. Too, for years, Saturn’s development resources were channeled into the mid-size L-Series sedans and wagons before they could focus on an SUV. The plain-jane L hasn’t exactly been a sales success, and, well, the SUV market is flooded by now. If only the VUE had hit the market a couple of years earlier. As Cher might bellow huskily, “If I could turn back time…” Indeed.

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Like the rest of the new crowd of SUVs, it’s no surprise that the VUE’s focus is on-road performance and car-like ride and handling, combined with a lot of versatility and space. Throw in the Saturn-typical dent-resistant side panels, an available CVT transmission, the high-ranking Saturn dealer network, and a 30-day/1500-mile money-back guarantee, and you have what should be enough to set the VUE out from the crowd.

The VUE is in an interesting size class. It’s not compact, yet not really mid-size; not big enough to have a third-row seat, yet spacious enough for adults to fit in the back seat. The VUE’s shape has an interesting effect from the outside, too. From the rear, it looks rather like a traditional SUV, but from the front it looks like a familiar Saturn wagon with an extreme lift kit.

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