The European American Vue

by : Anthony Fontanelle

In the past, General Motors is known for its large vehicles - SUVs and pickup trucks are what they are peddling to American auto buyers. When Asian carmakers made their presence felt in the country, General Motors decided to create a brand to battle the import cars - thus the Saturn brand was born. The brand though was not given much attention in the past. It is only now that the brand has received much attention due to General Motors' move of partnering it with the German Opel.

In revitalizing Saturn's lineup, General Motors turned to its German subsidiary, Opel. With the two car manufacturers sharing platforms, Saturn began to look like a strong contender to Asian rivals. One of the vehicles in Saturn's brand developed in partnership with Opel is the crossover Saturn Vue. The first Vue was introduced in 2004 and it has become the best selling vehicle in Saturn's lineup.

For the 2008 model year, the Vue was given more than a facelift as it is redesigned fully. The fact that it is a crossover SUV shows that General Motors has predicted well what car buyers are looking for during these times when the price of gasoline is perpetually increasing. The redesigning of the Vue is also part of General Motors' plan to boost the popularity of the brand among auto buyers.

The crossover segment is currently where the hottest competition is taking place. Car manufacturers have been developing crossovers for the past years. The reason, of course, is the shift in the buying trend in the market. In the past, light trucks are favored by auto buyers. But as the price of gasoline increases, auto buyers started looking for smaller but more fuel efficient cars. But Americans want their vehicles to have a good interior space. That led to the development of crossover vehicles - SUV-like vehicles on a car's platform.

The Saturn Vue is no exception - it uses a car-like platform, the General Motors Theta platform which is also used by the Opel Antara. In fact, the Vue and the Antara not only share a platform. These two vehicles share the same European styling cues from the outside to the cabin of the vehicles. The use of European styling cues on the Vue makes it one of the most European American crossovers.

The Vue in the past has a somewhat boxy look but with Opel's input on the development of the Vue, it lost its edges. The result is a more rounded vehicle which makes it look bigger. The redesigned Vue looks very much different from its forerunner. On the outside, the present and past Vues look different. Inside, the same can be said. With European input on the Vue, its interior is now equipped with higher quality materials compared to the previous Vue. Even the on the new model is significantly different than its predecessor's.

According to General Motors, the Saturn Vue is offered in four trim lines. For the Saturn Vue front wheel drive and the Green Line, the engine is a 2.4-liter Ecotec engine. This engine is equipped with variable valve timing system. The said engine can produce as much as 164 horsepower. The XE all wheel drive trim level is equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 215 hp output. The top-of-the-line XR is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine with an output of 250 horsepower.