Press Release :
With its array of thoughtful features and customer-friendly innovations, the Saturn VUE broke new ground in the compact sport utility segment when it made its debut as a 2002 model.
‘The Saturn VUE blends the versatility and performance of a traditional SUV along with the comfort and performance normally associated with a well-engineered sedan,’ said Scott McLaren, marketing manager for VUE. ‘We designed the VUE to lead the next generation of compact sport utilities by combining a contemporary design, leading technology, a high level of safety and a number of features not available with any other vehicle in the segment.’
2003 enhancements
For 2003, the Saturn VUE adds a number of up-level touches. New solar glass reduces UV ray penetration into the passenger compartment, helping to keep it cooler on sunny days.
New leather seats with heated front seats are offered as an option on 2003 models. The seats are part of a package that also includes driver lumbar support, a leather-wrapped steering wheel that matches the seat color, and leather-wrapped, ebony-colored shifter knob. For added enjoyment on the road, a new advanced audio sound system is offered as an option. The system is composed of an 8-inch subwoofer, a 180-watt amplifier and six door-mounted speakers.
Adding to the VUE’s wide range of powertrain choices, V6 models in 2003 are available for the first time with front-wheel drive as well as all-wheel drive. Four-cylinder models continue to be available in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configuration.
New exterior colors for 2003 include Bright Blue and Medium Green. In addition, Black exterior paint replaces Black Silver; Olympic White replaces White, and Victory Red replaces Red. The 2003 VUE also sports revised Saturn badges on the front fascia and fenders. The badge features a chrome frame raised above the rich red background of the Saturn logo.
Contemporary design
The VUE’s exterior design is recognizably Saturn – clean and contemporary, but with a sturdy and substantial sport-utility presence. 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.
Car-friendly bumpers provide increased protection from parking lot damage. 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.
Versatility inside
The Saturn VUE’s interior balances style, space and versatility, in a spacious yet efficient package with room for five people plus 30 cubic feet of cargo space. The well thought out interior design also includes a number of innovative storage solutions.
The VUE’s spaceframe 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 a rear cargo opening 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. 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 and operate. 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 head-curtain air-bag system.
Saturn’s spaceframe construction, unique among SUVs, allows engineers to combine optimum strength with minimum weight. The spaceframe’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 side air bags help provide protection from head and neck injuries in certain side-impact collisions. The available 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 child safety seat system, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) 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 lamps, 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 optional OnStar system, with its available array of safety, security and convenience features.
The Saturn VUE was designed to provide a feeling of driving fun, whether on city streets, unpaved roads or mountain switchbacks. Both the four-cylinder and V6 engines are dual-overhead camshaft designs that are responsive, quiet and efficient. The Ecotec 2.2-liter, inline four-cylinder, 16-valve 143-horsepower engine is available with a European-built five-speed manual, or with the advanced VTi.
The VUE is the only sport utility to offer a VTi variable transmission, part of GM’s family of transmissions. The VTi uses a pair of variable-diameter pulleys and a special steel belt to precisely match engine output to vehicle speed. The VTi allows 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 optional 3.0-liter, 181-horsepower V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic. Compared to a traditional four-speed, the five-speed automatic provides closer steps between ratios for smooth acceleration, particularly during passing, along with outstanding fuel economy.
Four-wheel independent suspension is a key to VUE’s controlled ride and responsive handling on a wide range of surfaces. The VUE also features an advanced electric 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 helps improve fuel economy.
The VUE is available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, which is available on models with the V6 and five-speed automatic as well as on models equipped with the four-cylinder engine and VTi. 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.
The clean, contemporary design of the Saturn VUE makes it a natural for the growing customization trend, especially among customers with active lifestyles. VUE customers can personalize their vehicles with a choice of more than 40 retailer-installed accessories available at Saturn retailers. An optional sunroof also adds to the enjoyment of driving the VUE.
During the 2003 model year, Saturn also will offer the Active Expression VUE, a limited edition all-wheel-drive model. The special edition comes with Light Yellow exterior paint, gray interior, black emblems on fascias and fenders, and a number of retailer-installed accessories. Exterior accessories include front grille guard, side step bars, and roof rack cross members with an accessory attachment. The retailer-installed interior accessories include black neoprene front seat covers with embroidered yellow VUE and Saturn logos, a cargo area liner and rubber floor mats. The package will be priced to provide savings compared to individually purchased and installed accessories.
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Source: Saturn Press Release

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