2008 Saturn Vue XE AWD
2008 Saturn Vue XE AWD. Click image to enlarge

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Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Saturn Vue

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Review and photos by Chris Chase

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The Vue was General Motors’ Saturn division’s first attempt at a compact SUV, and its introduction as a 2002 model was ambitious: it came along just after Honda and Toyota had designed their CR-V and RAV4 into their respective second generations, and it followed the introduction of the Ford Escape the year before, a car that quickly became and remained the best-seller in the small SUV category for years.

The second generation Vue, launched in 2007 as a 2008 model, was the brand’s opportunity to break away from the small SUV pack with a vehicle that was an almost-exact copy of GM of Europe’s Opel Antara. It was a promising move that resulted in a decent little truck, but one that wasn’t quite good enough to set the segement on fire the way GM had hoped. The new Vue lasted just two model years before disappearing with the rest of Saturn’s lineup when the brand was dissolved in GM’s 2009 restructuring.

2008 Saturn Vue Green Line
2008 Saturn Vue Green Line. Click image to enlarge

Engine choices included a 2.4-litre four-cylinder (169 hp), a 3.5-litre V6 (222 hp) and a 3.6-litre V6 (257 hp). There was a hybrid version too, called the Vue Green Line, that paired a 2.4-litre four-cylinder with an electric motor for a total of 172 horsepower. Transmissions were four- and six-speed automatics. Four-cylinder models were front-wheel drive, the 3.5-litre V6 was used in all-wheel drive Vues, while the 3.6-litre could be had with either drivetrain. The Green Line hybrid model came as a front-driver only.

The Green Line was a “mild” hybrid that couldn’t drive on electric power alone, so fuel savings were realized through the electric motor helping the gas engine in acceleration and the gas engine’s shutting off at stops. A more sophisticated two-mode hybrid version was planned for 2010, but was ultimately scrapped when Saturn shut its doors.

For 2008, the Vue’s Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption ratings were 8.2/6.1 L/100 km (city/highway) for the Green Line hybrid; 11.0/7.5 for the four-cylinder XE FWD model; the 3.5-litre XE AWD Vue was rated 13.3/8.8; and XR-trim cars with the 3.6-litre engine got ratings of 12.7/8.6 and 13.2/8.9 L/100 km with front- and all-wheel drive, respectively. A sporty Red Line model that also used the 3.6-litre engine got similar ratings to the XR.

2008 Saturn Vue XR AWD
2008 Saturn Vue XR AWD; photo by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge

I’ve tested two second-gen Vues: a Green Line hybrid that averaged 8.6 L/100 km, according to its trip computer (a number I disputed in my review) and an XE AWD model with the 3.5-litre engine that averaged 13.8 L/100 km. Working against the Vue at the pumps is its porky curb weight, which ranges from a little more than 1,700 kg to closer to 2,000 kilos.

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