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2008 Saturn VUE

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2008 Saturn VUE Review

With major improvements, one of the best compact SUV models on the market.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2008 Saturn VUE is a completely redesigned version of the old Saturn VUE, part of the huge realignment of the Saturn line undertaken in 2008. The Saturn VUE could be positioned as one of the best compact SUVs on the market, able to take a powerful blow from a shopping cart due to its flexible siding and featuring a new state-of-the-art transmission and engine combination.

The interior of the old VUE suffered from a bunch of plastic junk and unfortunate ergonomics. The steering felt numb and loose, giving drivers little control and road feel. Major changes for 2008 improve the interior and mechanics, making the 2008 Saturn VUE stand out from its previous incarnation in many ways.

The Range

Body Styles: compact SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.5-liter V-6, 3.6-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, six-speed automatic
Models: Saturn VUE XE, Saturn VUE XR, Saturn VUE Red Line

What's New

The 2008 Saturn VUE gets completely redesigned, borrowing heavily from the GM Opal division for mechanics and design. The cabin, engine, and underpinning mechanics change, making the 2008 Saturn VUE a completely different vehicle from its predecessors.


The Saturn VUE classifies as a standard compact SUV with a few interesting features. The exterior of the VUE is made of a material that gives when hit at speed. This prevents dents from appearing due to collisions in the parking lot.

The base SE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, while the XR comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, and a luggage rack. The 2008 Saturn VUE Red Line upgrades the wheels to 18 inches.


The interior of the 2008 Saturn VUE improves drastically over the hard plastics and terrible design of the previous VUE generation. The controls are sturdy and well-marked, making them easy to use even while on the go. It includes brushed aluminum accents on the steering wheel, door panels, parking brake, and shift knob, adding a lot of class.

The storage space totals 56 cubic feet, a bit smaller than what the competition offers. Some rivals offer nearly 20 more cubic feet. The second-row seat folds back, creating more space. Unlike other SUVs, the 2008 Saturn VUE does not offer a third row.

Standard features include keyless entry, power accessories, OnStar telematics, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and a CD/MP3 player with an audio jack.

Performance & Handling

The Saturn VUE offers three different engine types. The base XE comes with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that produces 169 horsepower with 160 lb-ft of torque, controlled by a four-speed automatic. The XE V-6 engine produces 215 horsepower with 220 lb-ft of torque. The XR and Red Line come with a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that produces 257 horsepower with 248 lb-ft of torque. Both the 3.5-liter and 3.6-liter engine use a six-speed automatic, but only the 3.6-liter has a manual shift feature.

The 2008 Saturn VUE seems pretty much perfect when it comes to drive quality. The only little glitch holding it back from true greatness is the six-speed automatic that struggles while upshifting. The four-cylinder also feels a bit weak in comparison to the V-6 engine. The pedals feel a bit soft to the touch when pressing down on the gas, but don’t let this worry you too much. The Red Line offers a bit of a stiffer ride for those looking for a sportier feel to their vehicles. With the stiffer suspension and the 3.6-liter V-6, the Red Line marks the best in the bunch.


The 2008 Saturn VUE includes anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, front-side airbags, side-curtain airbags, and active head restraints to prevent whiplash. The 2008 Saturn VUE receives fairly good scores from the NHTSA, scoring five out of five stars for passenger-side and side-impact front collisions, and it earns four out of five stars for driver and rollover protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Saturn VUE XE: 19/26 mpg city/highway
Saturn VUE XR: 16/23 mpg city/highway
Saturn VUE Red Line: 16/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful V-6 engine
  • Great interior styling with European understatement
  • Top notch ride and handling
  • Lots of safety features

You Won't Like

  • Less cargo capacity than competitors
  • Limited front seating space

Sum Up

With major improvements, one of the best compact SUV models on the market.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Hyundai Accent
  • Nissan Versa
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