Press Release :
New from the ground up and packed with customer-friendly innovations, the 2002 Saturn VUE advances the compact sport utility to a new level with choices and features not available with any other vehicle in its segment.
‘We named it the Saturn VUE because it brings a new perspective to the sport utility market,’ said Jill Lajdziak, vice president for Saturn sales, service and marketing. ‘The VUE was designed to lead the next generation of compact SUVs by combining a contemporary look, leading technology, thoughtful features and a high level of safety. The result is a vehicle that blends the versatility and security of a traditional SUV along with the comfort and performance associated with a well-engineered sedan.’
The Saturn VUE enters a rapidly-growing segment in the United States, with sales of compact sport-utilities projected to grow from approximately 730,000 units in 2001 to about 970,000 vehicles in 2005, an increase of 33 percent. ‘The Saturn VUE offers many innovative features and more powertrain choices than any other vehicle in its segment, making it an excellent choice for customers who want the best features of traditional SUVs without giving up fun-to-drive performance,’ Lajdziak said.
The VUE brings to the segment distinguishing Saturn features such as polymer bodyside panels, space-frame construction and head-curtain side air bags, along with advanced technology such as electrically assisted power steering and an available continuously variable transmission (VTi). Compared to most compact SUVs, the Saturn VUE has a longer wheelbase for added stability, a wider rear cargo opening, and a lower step-in height. In addition, the VUE’s interior design establishes a new benchmark among compact SUVs for user-friendliness. And with a base MSRP under $20,000 (U.S.), the VUE provides the value that Saturn customers have come to expect.
The VUE is built on a unique Saturn vehicle architecture that enables it to offer a wide range of powertrain choices. The VUE is available with 4-cylinder front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, or V6 all-wheel drive. The 4-cylinder engine is offered with either a five-speed manual or VTi variable transmission, while the V6 is mated with a five-speed automatic.
Evolution of Saturn
With the addition of the VUE to its lineup, Saturn continues to evolve into a stronger company with diverse product offerings that will attract even more ‘plus’ business to General Motors.
Like Saturn’s S-Series small cars and L-Series midsize cars, the VUE was designed to appeal to customers who would have otherwise bought a non-GM product. More than 75 percent of Saturn buyers list a competitive make as their second-choice vehicle, with over half saying they would have bought an import brand. The Saturn VUE is the first of four new products that Saturn will introduce over the next four years. It will be followed by a new small sedan, a new small coupe and a fourth product that will be disclosed at a later date.
The VUE also extends Saturn’s important role in GM’s overall strategy to bolster its share in the entry-vehicle market. About 25 percent of Saturn customers are first-time vehicle buyers. Saturn expects the VUE will attract more young buyers and will target this group with an accessorization program allowing VUE owners to customize the performance and looks of their vehicles.
The VUE is built in Saturn’s Spring Hill, Tenn., facility, modified so that both cars and trucks can be manufactured in the same plant. A 445,000-square-foot addition to the Spring Hill Powertrain facility is nearing completion to produce GM’s global four-cylinder engine – one of the engines that will be used on the Saturn VUE.
A distinct competitive advantage, the VUE will be sold and serviced through Saturn’s award-winning network of retailers who are recognized leaders in satisfying customers. Saturn retailers have finished number one in the J. D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index for six of the last seven years.
In developing its first-ever sport-utility, Saturn set out to advance the compact SUV in four areas: offering more choices and features, versatility, safety and security and fun-to-drive performance.
Contemporary design
The VUE’s exterior design is recognizably Saturn – clean and contemporary, but with a sturdy and substantial sport-utility presence. Designed from the inside out by the Saturn Studio at GM Design, the VUE offers a sense of purpose and balance found in the best industrial designs.
Saturn’s unique polymer bodyside panels provide a rugged and dent-resistant body that can boost resale value by helping prevent parking-lot dings and rust. The polymer body panels also eliminate the need for add-on side cladding that would clutter the VUE’s clean appearance. Building on themes first explored in the Saturn CV1 concept vehicle, the VUE design features a horizontal bar between large rectangular headlights and a subtle side-view swoosh.
Car-friendly bumpers provide increased protection from parking lot damage. The 5-mph bumper in front is covered with a full fascia for an integrated appearance, while the rear bumper is neatly integrated with a smooth shape and virtually no offset at the corners. Strong wheel flares draw attention to the 16-inch wheels and tires, and lend a sturdy look to the VUE. The spare tire is mounted inside the vehicle, not on the back, keeping it clean while significantly reducing the potential for damage from low-speed rear impacts.
The VUE’s distinctive personality will help it stand out in the increasingly crowded SUV market. Its clean and contemporary design also lends itself to customization, an important consideration for young buyers with active lifestyles.
Inside versatility
Inside the Saturn VUE, designers worked to balance style, space and versatility, in a spacious yet efficient package with room for five people plus 30 cubic feet of cargo space. The thoughtful interior design also includes a number of innovative storage solutions.
The VUE’s space-frame design helps give a low step-in height for easy entry and exit. The front seats provide both excellent comfort and a commanding view of the road, while the rear seat features a two-position recliner.
The VUE features the largest rear cargo opening in the segment – wide enough to accommodate a 4-foot wide object. The roomy rear cargo compartment is free of clutter, with the spare tire stowed beneath the load floor, as it is on most passenger cars. An ingenious pop-up organizer helps prevent groceries and other objects from sliding around or tipping over. The rear cargo area also includes tie-down points, hooks for plastic grocery bags and a pair of storage receptacles large enough to hold a gallon jug each.
Versatility is enhanced with a 70/30 split folding rear seat and a front passenger seatback that also folds flat, allowing long objects such as an 8-foot ladder or a surfboard to be carried inside the vehicle. For added convenience, major operations like folding the seatbacks are designed for easy one-hand operation.
Gauges and controls were designed to be clean, direct and easy to understand for intuitive operation. All entertainment and environmental controls are clustered in a single pod conveniently located in the center of the car, with instrumentation located on a separate pod directly in front of the driver. Cruise controls are mounted on the steering wheel.
Instrument panel surfaces gently slope away from the occupants to open up the interior and enhance the feeling of spaciousness. Large, high-mounted air ducts deliver heated or cooled air to rear seat passengers. A unique center console design includes a handy space for a purse or planner.
Advanced safety features
The VUE builds on Saturn’s reputation for safety and security with its world-class structural design and other notable safety advancements, including an optional side-curtain air bag system.
Saturn’s space-frame construction, unique among SUVs, allows engineers to combine optimum strength with minimum weight. The space frame’s front and rear crush zones help absorb the energy of a crash while protecting the integrity of the safety cage.
Saturn’s innovative head-curtain air bags help provide protection from head and neck injuries in case of a side-impact collision. Available as an option on all VUEs, the head-curtain air bags are designed to complement the standard driver and front passenger air bags and safety belts. Also, three-point safety belts are used for all five seating positions.
The standardized child safety seat system, LATCH (Lower Anchorages and Tethers for CHildren) system is standard and can be used to secure child safety seats in any of the three rear seat positions, including the center with the 30-percent seat portion folded down.
Among the many other safety and security features standard on VUE are daytime running lights, child safety door locks, and a theft deterrent system that prevents start-up without a proper ignition key. Customer peace of mind also is enhanced by the available OnStar system, with its array of safety, security and convenience features.
Fun to drive
The Saturn VUE was designed to provide a feeling of driving fun, whether on city streets, unpaved roads or mountain switchbacks. This commitment to creating an enjoyable driving experience sets the VUE apart from traditional compact SUVs.
Both the 4-cylinder and V6 engines are dual-overhead camshaft designs that are responsive, quiet and efficient. The 16-valve, 2.2-liter 143-horsepower 4-cylinder engine is available with a European-built five-speed manual, or with the advanced VTi variable transmission.
The VUE is the first sport-utility to offer VTi, part of GM’s new family of VTi variable transmissions. VTi uses a pair of variable-diameter pulleys and a special steel belt to precisely match engine output to vehicle speed. VTi’s primary benefit is its ability to allow the engine to operate more efficiently than a traditional step-ratio automatic transmission, achieving virtually the same fuel economy as a manual transmission, as well as excellent acceleration and hill-climbing performance.
The available 3.0-liter, 181-horsepower V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic. The Saturn VUE is the first vehicle in its segment to offer a five-speed automatic, which provides closer steps between ratios for smooth acceleration, particularly during passing, along with outstanding fuel economy.
Four-wheel independent suspension provides a controlled ride and responsive handling on a wide range of surfaces. The VUE also introduces an advanced electrically-assisted power steering system for precise steering at lower speeds and confident feel on the highway. Unlike a conventional steering system, no engine power is needed to drive a hydraulic pump. As a result, the electrically-assisted power steering system consumes less fuel.
The VUE is available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, which is standard with the V6 and optional on models equipped with the 4-cylinder engine and VTi variable transmission. The all-wheel-drive system features a transfer case located just ahead of the rear axle line that can smoothly transfer torque to the rear wheels if the front wheels start to slip. The system is fully automatic, maintenance free and so compact it requires no driveshaft tunnel in the interior, allowing a flat floor.
Amenities such as an optional sunroof and a variety of audio systems, including an in-dash six-CD changer, add to the enjoyment of driving the VUE.
‘The Saturn VUE was designed to hit the sweet spot in the compact SUV market, combining the best features of traditional sport-utes and passenger cars,’ Lajdziak said. ‘Customers will find that the VUE provides all the things they love about SUVs in a friendly, thoughtful and enjoyable package.’
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Source: Saturn Press Release

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