LA Auto Show – Opel Anta…errr… 2008 Saturn Vue Launched in Los Angeles

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Saturn’s Stars Finally Align for a Bright Future
Actually, the Opel Antara was introduced in Paris in September, and I’m not really confusing shows. It is a good thing for Saturn there are some solid designs coming out of the Opel/Vauxhall studios, because after having seen both in the tin, we can conclude there is practically nothing different between Opel’s Antara and the Saturn Vue, as was true of the Antara and PreVue concepts. Saturn’s Vue goes on sale in the second quarter of 2007, the fourth all-new Saturn since 2006.

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This is not a surprise for industry watchers, or to vehiclevoice.com readers who caught our May article on the Opel Antara and Vue (click here), but it is still interesting to listen to Saturn talk about their European design. This brand was launched with a specific mission to take on the Japanese imports and find a way to do business differently than GM’s other brands. Instead, Saturn was starved for product and folded back into the mothership. On the bright side, we get the Antara and the Aura (based on the Opel Vectra), and even the Sky has an Opel design relationship, all three good-looking products with the ability to really make Saturn a brand to be reckoned with. These are further supported by the U.S. developed Outlook, and it becomes clear Saturn is gaining steam, regardless of where the products were styled.
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Okay, enough on the current relationship between Saturn and Opel as well as Saturn’s history, stories pretty much beaten to death already. The Vue looks nice, and the XR is drenched with chrome. Though it doesn’t have a huge chrome grille like larger Escalade or Lincoln Navigator, it is a smaller vehicle and it seems as though every exterior accent surface that could hold a chrome or bright garnish does so. Aside from the top-level XR, the Vue will be offered in XE, Red Line, and Green Line models. Initially only the XE and XR will be available, followed by the color line versions. The Green Line uses the same Green Line powertrain as the outgoing Vue and the 2007 Aura Green Line, it will arrive in time for the 2008MY. The XE gets the base 164HP 2.4L I4, the XR gets a 215HP 3.5L V6, and the Red Line gets the 250HP 3.6L V6. The V6 engines get GM’s new six-speed automatic, the Green Line gets a four-speed automatic, and the XE launches with only the four-speed autobox and adds a five-speed manual early in 2008. (On a side note, Suzuki’s XL7, which shares the Vue platform though a bit larger, offers only the 250HP engine.)

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The Vue is looking to be nicely equipped and support an uplevel, stylish look with a premium feel inside and the available features to back it up. Vue gets dual-stage front, front-seat side thorax, and head curtain airbags for front and rear rows as standard, and like the Enclave also introduced in Los Angeles this week, the curtain airbags work with GM’s rollover sensing system to deploy in a rollover as well as a side-impact situation. Other premium available features include heated windshield washer system, automatic rain-sensing wipers, remote start, automatic climate control, eight-way power driver’s seat, and a rear cargo management system with upper and lower rails and storage nets to make hauling a variety of items securely an easy chore.
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Whatever the roots, Saturn is getting products that live up to the faith that their diehard fans have had for years. We haven’t driven the Vue yet, but the Sky, Aura, and Outlook already launched this year are all well done, and we expect much from the Vue. The new Vue should continue to satisfy repeat buyers and has the opportunity to bring in more buyers with its more expressive styling.

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