2006 Saturn Relay Minivan Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Saturn Relay Minivan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Saturn Relay Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 196 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Saturn Relay

  • Though the 2006 Saturn Relay features a slick interior and distinctive styling, it doesn't have the on-road finesse of its minivan competitors.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth ride and handling, lots of nifty interior storage spaces, innovative multimedia storage system, available all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    The 3.5-liter V6's power and refinement not up to class leaders, second-row seats aren't side-to-side adjustable, side airbags don't cover all three rows.

  • What's New for 2006

    Second-row side-impact airbags are newly optional. A power passenger-side sliding door is now standard on the Relay 3, along with first-row side airbags and traction control. An optional 3.9-liter V6, rated at 240 horsepower, is new for 2006.

Full 2006 Saturn Relay Review

What's New for 2006

Second-row side-impact airbags are newly optional. A power passenger-side sliding door is now standard on the Relay 3, along with first-row side airbags and traction control. An optional 3.9-liter V6, rated at 240 horsepower, is new for 2006.


The Relay is Saturn's first minivan and it marks a kind of departure for the carmaker. Since the brand's introduction, GM has billed Saturn as "a different kind of car company" and for the most part it has stayed true to that formula. The Relay is Saturn's first all-steel paneled vehicle, and it's not going to be the brand's last. Saturn is calling the Relay a crossover sport van, but really it's a minivan that shares most of its mechanical components with other GM vans. Saturn hopes to capture buyers who want the versatility of a minivan but prefer the rugged looks of an SUV. With its simple styling, the Relay stays true to the Saturn formula. More upscale-looking than other Saturns, the company's van offers plenty of luxury along with the expected versatility. Seat-mounted side airbags for front- and second-row occupants are optional for 2006, certainly a worthwhile addition, although many competitors now offer three-row airbag coverage.

Inside, the Saturn Relay seats seven, and the fold-flat third-row seat offers a 50/50 split, allowing families to carry a mix of passengers and cargo. The interchangeable overhead console works on a rail system that allows owners to move, rearrange or add storage components as they see fit. In addition to the standard rear DVD entertainment system, the Relay is available with a 40-gigabyte PhatNoise mobile digital media system that allows owners to store and play thousands of MP3s and/or several dozen movies. We're not entirely sold on the whole "crossover sport van" concept. To our eyes, the Relay looks more like a minivan with a really big and flat front end. Subjective styling issues aside, the 2006 Saturn Relay offers budding families a myriad of interior features and solid overall competence, but still doesn't match the driving dynamics, conveniences or safety features of the best-in-class minivans.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Saturn Relay comes in one size and two trim levels, Relay 2 and Relay 3. Standard Relay 2 amenities include power windows, mirrors and locks; air conditioning; an eight-speaker sound system with a MP3-capable CD player; a rear-seat DVD entertainment system; the OnStar communications system; cruise control; and keyless entry. The Relay 3 adds rear air conditioning, a power driver seat, alloy wheels and upgraded storage. An all-wheel-drive system is available, and is bundled with a rear load-leveling suspension. Other noteworthy options include the PhatNoise portable 40-gig digital media system, a remote vehicle startup system, a 115-volt AC outlet, dual power-sliding side doors, rear park assist, XM Satellite Radio, leather seating and a sport-tuned suspension.

Powertrains and Performance

The standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 200 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque. A 3.9-liter V6 with 240 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque is optional on the Relay 3, but only on the front-wheel-drive version. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard.


All Relay models come standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Side-impact airbags for first- and second-row occupants are optional, but there's no protection for passengers seated in the third row. The StabiliTrak stability control system is available when the Relay is equipped with the optional Safety and Touring packages. The NHTSA gives the 2006 SaturnRelay a five-star rating (out of a possible five) for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal crashes. For side-impact crashes, the Relay earned four stars for protection of front occupants and five stars for the rear occupants. In frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, Saturn's minivan earned a "Good" rating (the highest).

Interior Design and Special Features

The Saturn Relay seats seven, and the fold-flat third-row seat offers a 50/50 split. A pleasing two-tone color scheme with faux wood accents dramatically brightens the interior atmosphere of the van. Folding center trays (with cupholders) between the first- and second-row seats are available. An overhead rail system provides rear-seat access to climate and entertainment functions, and can be outfitted with various storage containers. Springing for the PhatNoise digital media system saves you the hassle of juggling DVDs on road trips, while an optional remote vehicle start system makes it easy to warm up the van on cold mornings.

Driving Impressions

The standard V6 power plant is down on power compared to its competitors, so we recommend you opt for the stouter 3.9-liter V6. The Saturn Relay's suspension is on the soft side, yielding a smooth ride and average handling for this class. Upgrading to the optional sport suspension does provide more responsive handling, though maneuverability in tight spaces is still compromised by the van's large turning radius. Braking capability is average among minivans.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Piece of crap

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Saturn Relay 3 4dr Minivan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

MOST RECENT problem: from being PARKED with engine running, car slid into REVERSE, rolled downhill, knocked me over twice and hit my neighbor's tree (better than the house)! Add to that problems we've had since we bought it new: both sliding doors sometimes won't close; the dash lights flicker; the a/c goes out and we have to move the knob to heat and back to get cool air again; a/c only blows cool when we're actually rolling; "ABS disengaged" light comes on all the time; full brake replacement at 50K miles; radio changes station when braking suddenly; dead spot in accelerating from a stop; gas reads empty on incline even when 1/4 full; back wiper doesn't move; hard to get into 3rd row.

Yugo's were better.

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Saturn Relay 3 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

Not really but not far off. I had this thing in the shop four times while it was under warranty for an annoying popping/clicking noise in the front end. Each time they said they had it fixed and alas, it is now out of warranty and still pops.Oh, and the service engine light came on about 2000 miles after warranty expired. The computer code shows the catalytic converter is not functioning properly. Now my transmission is slipping horribly. Fluid is clean and has always been full. This van has not been driven hard or fast. It is simply a lemon and from looking at the other reviews, it is not alone in it's misery.

I loved this van

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Saturn Relay 3 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

This was the best van I ever owened. I had one problem with one of the doors, it wouldnt close sometimes. The gas mileage wasnt to good but other than that the kids and I loved it.

Abs/trac control light....again!!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Saturn Relay 3 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

We have had our vehicle in the shop 5 times now for the ABS Trac light issue. Everytime, "I think we got it this time, must have been a short", or "Faulty wiring, we replaced it". It just seems funny that this issue happened right at the time the warranty went out.

Not 100% happy

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Saturn Relay 2 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

Like many others, our Relay has been in for repairs numerous times. From the beginning it doesn't want to start at times. Now that warranty is expired they found problem. Imagine that! We don't have the problem with the molding like others, but it has been in for the brakes, sway bar, rear upper light, back seat pull broke, air vent broke (all plastic on it is cheap) shortly after purchase. Gets better gas mileage than others reported, but we set cruise at 65mph. Hwy mpg is about 28-30. Seats are difficult to get out. Otherwise, it's a good vehicle.

Not so happy

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Saturn Relay 3 4dr Minivan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

We have owned our Saturn for 9 months now and are not satisfied. We have been in and out of the dealership with so many problems : electrical ( abs and traction tire system needed to be serviced every other 3 weeks) front tires squeal like a 50 year old car. The darn car beeps at you for no reason while driving down the road. The engine light goes on and off and dealership can't find a problem. Lost cruise control while driving on freeway, just cruising along and bang lost speed no warning just shut itself off. So not happy wish we could get rid of it.

Talk About The 2006 Relay

2006 Saturn Relay Discussions See all Started By

Thats too bad that you had this experience. Maybe my van was a fluke, but my 2006 Relay 3 has not had a problem. 24,000 miles and all I have had to do is change the oil. The week I bought it the wife ...

beholder, I guess) and the roof rails off the Relay mounted onto the roof, I don't see any difference in my 2005 model and the new one. On the inside, I see updated radio controls and a new center co...

Not bad, and this portends the beginning of trend toward better vehicles, greater sales and, eventually, better resale value. The improving sales are not due to the ION, nor the Relay, but primarily r...

Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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