New Vue Challenges Rav4, Cr-v

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The Saturn brand lineup has been revitalized to make it more appealing to auto buyers. As part of General Motors' aim to win back consumers, they have turned to German automaker Opel to help Saturn design its new vehicles. Aside from redesigning existing templates, Opel also introduced an all-new vehicle model in the form of the Saturn Outlook.

Aside from the Outlook, the revitalization of the Saturn lineup is also anchored on the Saturn Aura. The midsize sedan was recently named the 2007 North American Car of the Year, taking the distinction over the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. Complementing the Aura in Saturn's lineup is the Saturn Vue.

The nameplate is the best selling Saturn automobile. For the 2008 model year though, Saturn decided to redesign the crossover SUV. The compact Vue is now being seen as a serious competitor to established nameplates such as the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. The redesigned Vue is also in direct competition with the Hyundai Santa Fe.

While the previous Vue is a good vehicle in terms of design, handling, and performance, its competitors offer more than the norms. Thus the redesigned Vue's design was made to look even better than its predecessor. The performance is also improved. Indeed, although the new Vue shares its name wit its predecessor, it is a whole new vehicle on its own.

With Opel's help, the Vue was designed with clean but muscular lines. European car styling cues have been integrated into the designing of the vehicle. The revision in the exterior design of the Vue made it look bulkier. With rounded of edges, the new Vue exudes an aura of friendliness yet the wheels are positioned that it gave the Vue an aggressive stance.

The redesigning of the Vue does not hide the fact that it comes from Saturn. The snub-nosed Vue with its grille accented by the Saturn badge is unmistakably a Saturn. Another Saturn-trademark is the headlight configuration which seems to have a jagged edge. This is something that was dome to the headlight of the 2007 Vue. The redesigned Vue though has that jagged edge in the headlight more pronounced.

Car buyers can choose from a wide choice of Vue variants. Two trim levels, two drive configurations - the Red Line and the Green Line - are the choices for auto buyers. The Red Line is the more sports-oriented Vue while the Green Line is a hybrid Vue. If one is looking for performance from a Vue, the Red Line is the obvious choice. With its responsive steering, good stability, and maximum stopping power provided by , the Red Line is aimed for performance enthusiasts.

The Green Line, on the other hand, uses General Motors' "mild hybrid" technology. This means that while it is equipped with an internal combustion engine ad an electric motor, it cannot be driven by battery power alone. Nevertheless, the Saturn Vue Green Lien provides better fuel economy than its base model. With tax incentives offered with hybrid vehicles, the Saturn Vue Green Line is being considered by many as the cheapest variant of the Vue.

The changes made to the Saturn Vue in terms of performance and design would go a long way to making the compact SUV a strong contender in its segment. Going up against established nameplates such as the RAV4 and the CR-V, the Vue is equipped with what it needs to come out on top.

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