2008 Saturn VUE SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Saturn VUE SUV

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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 VUE Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 257 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Saturn VUE

  • A much-needed makeover for 2008 brings big improvements in key areas, including cabin quality and driving dynamics. As a result, the 2008 Saturn Vue moves from a benchwarmer to a starting position in the compact SUV game.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful V6 in XR and Red Line trims, handsome interior and exterior European styling, ideal handling and ride balance, plenty of standard safety features.

  • Cons

    Less cargo capacity than most rivals, front seats not ideal for some larger folks.

  • What's New for 2008

    Borrowing components from GM's European Opel division, the Saturn Vue is completely redesigned for 2008. Highlights include a much-improved cabin, an available 257-horsepower V6 and improved handling and ride dynamics.

Full 2008 Saturn VUE Review

What's New for 2008

Borrowing components from GM's European Opel division, the Saturn Vue is completely redesigned for 2008. Highlights include a much-improved cabin, an available 257-horsepower V6 and improved handling and ride dynamics.


The 2008 Saturn Vue is a completely different animal than its forebear. The previous Vue distinguished itself from the compact SUV pack in many ways. Its flexible body panels could take a hit from a shopping cart or an adjacent car's door without leaving that automotive scar of urban America -- a ding or dent. State-of-the-art transmissions were offered, including a five-speed automatic and a continuously variable transmission, while later on, a powerful (Honda-sourced) V6 gave the Vue serious straight-line performance. There was also a tuner-inspired version called the Red Line that sported a track-tuned suspension, big wheels and racy ground effects.

Sadly, the Vue distinguished itself in other, less desirable ways. If Playskool fashioned a car's interior, we imagine it would resemble that of the early Vue, such was the fit and finish. And sloppy, numb steering didn't win the Vue any fans either. A refresh for 2006 improved things inside the Vue, but it still wasn't up to the segment leaders, which benefited from complete redesigns during the last few years.

For the 2008 Saturn Vue, the demons have been exorcised as General Motors looked to its European Opel division for inspiration. Essentially a rebadged Opel Antara, the new Vue looks nothing like its former boxy self. In terms of size, it's pretty much the same; wheelbase measurements are identical, and the new model is just a tad wider and taller. The old plastic body panels are gone, replaced by traditional steel.

Thankfully, there's more to the new Vue than just its look. Major changes include an interior design that welcomes rather than alienates, improved driving dynamics (with steering that actually feels connected to the front wheels) and the availability of numerous high-end safety and convenience features including standard stability control, an optional navigation system and standard satellite radio. The Vue offers a choice of three engines, ranging from an inline-4 to a high-output V6, while transmission choices include a four-speed and six-speed automatics. A revised "Green Line" hybrid version is also due for release later in the model year.

If our driving impressions are any indicator, the Vue is no longer a back-of-the-pack entry and now merits consideration from small-SUV shoppers. Though there are some faults -- less cargo space than what's available from some of its bigger rivals, for instance -- they are more than compensated for by the Euro-inspired styling, attractive cabin, composed handling and variety of powertrain offerings. Overall, the new Saturn Vue should make for a very pleasant and practical daily driver.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Saturn Vue is a five-passenger compact SUV that comes in three trim levels: base XE, midgrade XR and sporting Red Line. All can be had in either front- or all-wheel drive. The XE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, keyless entry, full power accessories, OnStar telematics, steering-wheel audio controls, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat and a CD/MP3 stereo with satellite radio and an auxiliary jack.

Opting for the XR adds 17-inch alloy wheels, luggage rack rails, automatic climate control, a power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated mirrors and lighted vanity mirrors. The Red Line features a lowered, sport-tuned suspension, rear spoiler, chrome exhaust outlets, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front sport seats, leather and suede upholstery and unique instrumentation. Most of the XR's additional features are available as options on the XE, and one can also get optional leather seating and heated seats on those models. Other available features include a premium audio system and CD changer, a navigation system, rain-sensing wipers and a remote vehicle starter.

Powertrains and Performance

The Vue XE is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 (169 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque) mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The XE V6 has a 3.5-liter V6 (215 hp and 220 lb-ft) running through a six-speed automatic transmission. Both the XR and Red Line trims feature a powerful 3.6-liter V6 (257 hp and 248 lb-ft) matched to a six-speed automatic. A manual-shift feature, called "TAPshift" is standard on the Red Line and optional on the XR. Front- or all-wheel drive is available on each trim.

With the 3.6-liter V6, this Saturn scoots. We clocked a front-wheel-drive Vue XR at 7.3 seconds to 60 mph and 15.7 seconds for the quarter-mile, times that are less than a half tick off the class dragstrip jock, the Toyota RAV4 V6. Towing capacity is rated at 3,500 pounds, the segment average.


A wealth of safety features are standard on all 2008 Saturn Vue models, including antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active head restraints.

Interior Design and Special Features

The generic plastic of the former Vue's interior has given way to a posh new appearance, with far nicer materials indicative of European cars. Controls are simple and well marked. An array of chrome-accented round shapes, from the gauges to the air vents to the climate controls, lend a sense of classic style to the cabin. Brushed-aluminum accents on the steering wheel, door panels, parking brake and shift knob further the upscale treatment.

A pair of adjustable cargo nets keep items from sliding around in back. At 56 cubic feet, the Vue's maximum cargo capacity is small compared to some rivals that offer nearly 20 more cubes. The second-row seats recline and offer decent legroom; a third-row seat, an increasingly popular (but of debatable value) feature for small to midsize crossover SUVs, isn't offered. Front seat comfort is adequate, though some folks may find the seat cushions a bit short and the seats somewhat lacking in lateral and lumbar support.

Driving Impressions

Although it's hard to fault the robust 3.6-liter V6, sometimes the normally smart and quick-shifting six-speed automatic hunts on inclines, seemingly not sure whether to hold a gear or step down to maintain speed. Braking is about average for the class, as the four-wheel vented disc brakes help bring the Vue to a stop from 60 mph in 131 feet. The pedal feels a little on the soft side, but the vented rotors should forestall brake fade even with a heavy load.

Given that the 2008 Saturn Vue is tuned for a soft ride, the Red Line trim is the obvious choice for driving enthusiasts. Steering feel and action is spot on, allowing easy maneuverability in parking lots while providing a solid, confident feel at speed on winding roads and interstate freeways.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

Had it 1 day...feel like

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Vehicle: 2008 Saturn VUE XE 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I test drove a lot of cars, over about a one year period. I took them on freeways, up hills, even off-roading in one instance. This car was the winner. We bought an XE with 62k miles on it, that's got all the options of an XR with the smaller 2.4 motor. My sports car freak husband, who is 6'7" tall, loves it. We are not small people but this car fits our frames fine. Our needs for a good value combined with a solid feel were met, we hope, in the VE. The mileage estimates are 25/30. On the freeway, it does 85 without hesitation. No vibration, no lag in shifting. The engine is quiet, but not just because it's small. It's just a quiet vehicle, even the air system is quiet when blowing.

Saturn vue xr built in

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Vehicle: 2008 Saturn VUE XR 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I own a 2008 saturn vue xr...with 70000 km on it.. what i have replaced. Battery on the first week I had it..and it goes on. Brake Booster/ total braking system with pedals Igniton switch/wiper motors /sway bar links. Now leaking transmission/and moisture inside the windows in the winter This was an expensive purchase ..hoping to keep this vehicle for a few more years.. $ 35,000.00 purchase.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sad sad sad

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Vehicle: 2008 Saturn VUE XE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I bought this 08 Saturn Vue brand new, first car ever I was able to take off the showroom floor. As a 22 year GM dedicated consumer I felt I was in good hands, boy I was wrong. In 4 years I have replaced the tires three times, the power steering pump twice, the engine mounts, and the battery fried out after one year. GM won't back their repairs and their product and they expect us to be happy with a $30,000 vehicle that keeps breaking down. Sorry to say, I may become a Ford man now, goodbye GM.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Not a bad vue from

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Vehicle: 2008 Saturn VUE Red Line 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I purchased a 2008 Certified Pre Owned (CPO) Saturn Vue Redline a month ago with 47,000 miles on it. The five year, 50,000 mile warranty was done, but the 12 month, 12,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty tagged with free regular maintenance for 2 years or 24,000 miles made up for it. Iíve been averaging over 19 mpg driving on my 12 mile loop to work each day. I did get a rather curious mpg reading driving around Arizona. From Phoenix to Prescott, going up the mountain, the car was getting 19 mpg. Going done the mountain, the car registered 29 mpg, averaging just short of 25 mpg for the trip. Driving from Phoenix to Tucson, which is relatively flat, the car only got 19 mpg. I looked at the XR model, but I liked the upgraded Redline interior much better. The car rides rather firm, but smooth. The engine has adequate pick up, but the transmission does seem to hunt for the right gear from time to time. No problem with the A/C, but I did have to take the car in for repairs to the passenger side windshield wiper Ė twice. My car has the remote start and rain sensing options. Iím having no problems finding parts. Found a new cargo shade for less than the dealer price, delivered with no sales tax. When shopping, I looked at RX 330ís and 350ís, but the prices were just too high for a high mileage Lexus that uses premium gas and you see one of them every time you turn your head. The Saturn is out of production, but the current Chevy version of the car provides dealer service and warranty work options.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

Etc problems

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Vehicle: 2008 Saturn VUE XR 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I bought this car new in 2008 and the service I received from saturn was great, but now they are no longer here. I have a problem with the ETC light coming on and my brakes lock. I thought this would be under the warranty . But the GM dealer wants $$$$ to check the problem first and then I know I'll be seeing a bigger bill for the repairs and on top of that I have three items on recall which I never received any notice.

So far so good

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Vehicle: 2008 Saturn VUE XR 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Purchased a used 2008 Vue XR with 43K miles.Compared to all others out there, this was a really good buy! 1 owner Carfax with no history of any issues...hopefully that holds true.Love the look and the feel when driving. Rides better than the Hyundai Santa Fe we test drove. Rides a little harder when I'm the passenger. Seats could be a little softer and the cloth does stain easily, leather was my preference, but not in my budget. Gas mileage on V6 not so great 16-18, but it has more get up and go than the slug 4 cylinder we drove. So far, I really enjoy this SUV, almost as much as I did my 1993 Rodeo!

Talk About The 2008 VUE

2008 Saturn VUE Discussions See all Started By

My 2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid has been having some issues. The stabilitarak light comes one as does the Check Hybrid Engine and the Engine Light. In doing some research, I am finding some various recalls ...

I have a 2008 Saturn Vue that has been having numerous issues since it was bought new in 2008. Car not starting for no reason, at one point the battery was replaced (on a brand new car with hardly muc...

I hit a large chunk of a semi tire on the Interstate and it ripped off a small box from underneath my 2008 Saturn Vue. No other damage was pointed out by the mechanic that re-mounted the box to the ca...

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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