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2003 Saturn VUE

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San Francisco: Saturn entered the SUV fray in 2002 with its functional, modern-looking VUE that came packed with what today's buyer’s want in a family vehicle. The VUE, after seeing a few minor changes for 2003, retains its rugged, modern look that favors machine like creases over cute curves.

It has comfortable seating for five, a fairly smooth highway ride, and optional all-wheel drive to improve performance on wet or muddy roads. Luckily, the fold-flat rear seat is still easy to use and perfect for lugging big cargo. Actually, this Saturn remains largely the same as last year's model – no surprise from a company that has a history of leaving its vehicles essentially unchanged for up to a decade.

The VUE's biggest changes for 2003 are making a V6 engine available on front-wheel-drive models and allowing some fancy-pants options to dress up the cabin. Heated leather seats are available with lumbar support for the driver, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an upgraded stereo, and a couple of new colors: "bright blue" and "medium green."

Other than that, little has changed on this plastic wonder. It still has the same dent-resistant polymer body that looks nice and could help resale value by denying baseballs and shopping carts their typical roles as ding-makers. And while maybe a little noisy on the highway, the V6 engine still pulls like an ox and offers better-than-expected acceleration.

Body styling is typical Saturn, with clean lines and a distinct look - including new badges for 2003 - that make it look both tough and modern. It has no cute curves like many other mini-SUVs, instead opting for straight lines and dramatic creases.

Inside, cheap-feeling materials continue to detract from an otherwise nicely styled passenger compartment. Some ergonomics are quirky though, especially the power window switches on the center console.

Probably the VUE's best feature is its highly configurable cabin. Rear seats fold flat for great cargo capacity, and if that's not enough, the front passenger seat can be flipped forward to allow room for an eight-foot ladder.

With such truck-like functionality, you might expect the VUE to have an unrefined, truck-like ride. It doesn't. It feels smooth and silky, though not quite as precise as some of its competitors.

Speaking of competitors, the VUE definitely has an uphill fight against such gallant SUVs as the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda Tribute, Jeep Liberty, Hyundai Santa Fe and Pontiac Aztek, all of which offer good quality and features. With so many choices competing for your money today, it's best to spend some time behind the wheel of each of your favorites before making a final decision.

As for price, the VUE remains on the high side when you consider its features and apparent quality. It starts around $22,000, and options can quickly run the sticker up to nearly $30,000, far above some of its more refined competitors.

But Saturn buyers are among the most loyal in the car industry, and they're bound to have a reason. Nothing else is quite like a Saturn in terms of style, innovative features, and a no-hassle buying experience, and the VUE delivers on all those. So why buy it? Unique styling, a dent-resistant body, and a highly functional interior showcase Saturn's take on the SUV. By Derek Price AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  The VUE has a few changes for 2003
Topic:  2003 Saturn VUE AWD V6
Word Count:   618
Photo Caption:  2003 Saturn VUE AWD V6
Photo Credits:  Saturn Internet Media
Series #:   2003 - 26

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2003 Saturn VUE

Download the original image file here:  2003 Saturn VUE 187k

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Publisher - Editor:   Tony Leopardo
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2003 - AutoWire.Net - All Rights Reserved Web Editor - Tony Leopardo

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