Saturn enters the sport utility market with the 2002 Saturn VUE (pronounced “view”) which the company intends as a carlike and compact option. Its name came about, in part at least, because of Saturn's desire to bring a fresh perspective to the sport utility arena. The VUE features a technological special touch with its continuously variable transmission (CVT), operating with no gears. It also features electronically assisted power steering.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 2.2-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, VTi continuously variable transmission, five-speed manual
Models: Saturn VUE
The 2002 Saturn VUE starts all new. Production began in the fourth quarter of 2001 and units began arriving at dealerships for sale in December 2001.
Saturn wanted to make the VUE recognizable as a Saturn while at the same time giving it a unique style of its own. The VUE uses a space-frame construction and has dent-resistant side panels made of polymer that look similar to the panels used on Saturn's sedans, coupes, and wagons. The single welded structure comes from full-length frame rails and a steel safety cage.
The 2002 Saturn VUE has large flares above each wheel and a horizontal bar sits between the rectangular headlights. It measures 181.3 inches overall and rides a 106.6-inch wheelbase with an eight-inch ground clearance. It rides on 16-inch tires and has a fully independent suspension. The all-wheel drive models have aluminum wheels. A power sunroof remains optional.
The 2002 Saturn VUE provides a user-friendly vehicle thanks to the Saturn stylists. It seats five and those passengers find entry and exit very easy because the VUE's step-in height sitting two to three inches lower than usual. The seatback for the front-passenger side folds flat. Rear occupants get a 70/30 split-folding bench. With the back seat folded down, cargo space totals 63 cubic feet and with it upright it decreases to 30 cubic feet. Rear cargo space provides tie-down points, hooks, and an organizer for cargo.
Sloped gauges make viewing simple. With the exception of the four-cylinder base model, all others get power windows and locks. An in-dash CD stereo and an OnStar system remain optional. Saturn exhibited a pair of VUEs at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2001 that had been specially outfitted to show that it expects many owners to customize their VUEs with add-ons.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Saturn VUE surprises with its ride quality on smooth pavement, especially when equipped with the V-6 and automatic transmission. Acceleration isn't phenomenal, but the necessary performance remains. It experiences some engine blare when pushing hard on the petal, but nothing overpowering.
Two available engines include the base, a 2.2-liter Ecotec four-cylinder that dishes out 143 horsepower. It pairs with a five-speed manual transmission made in Europe for the base models and it offers an optional VTi continuously variable transmission. It has no conventional gearing but instead operates with two variable-diameter pulleys and a steel belt comprised of 500 stacked elements. The second engine, a three-liter V-6 pairs with the five-speed automatic only. It delivers 181 horsepower. Optional all-wheel drive improves performance too.
Saturn has a reputation for safety and the 2002 Saturn VUE lives up to that reputation. It features curtain-type airbags that protect the heads of outboard occupants in side-impact collisions. Anti-lock brakes remain optional. It includes three sets of child safety seat anchors in the back.
EPA Fuel Economy
Saturn VUE: 20/26 mpg city/highway
- Handles like a car
- Lots of drivetrain choices
- Roomy interior
You Won't Like
- Dull interior
- Noisy four-cylinder
A very well put together mini SUV.
If You Like This Vehicle
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