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Old 08-20-2009, 08:27 PM   #1
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Looking For Feedback on '06 Saturn Vue

I think my search for a toad is coming to an end. I have a line on a 2006 Saturn Vue V6 FWD which is already in use as a toad. The seller is getting into another way of RV'ing and is letting the Vue go with all accessories needed for towing. He is using it until early September and then we will be getting together to have a look at it.
I know very little about these cars, never have driven one and am not sure I've seen one with that front end. Saturns of any kind are sort of scarce around here as the nearest dealer is about an hour away.
I've dredged up some reports on the Web from various sources such as auto magazines, Consumers Reports etc. and seem to be getting a few negative comments such as "unrefined", "noisy", "crappy seats", "tinny doors" and so on. These reports go on to say that sales figures are excellent so Saturn must be soing something right. Go figure.
Anyway I would appreciate hearing from the "real world",i.e. owners.
Impressions, comments - good or bad, and anything I should be looking for when I go to look at this car. My son is a heavy truck mechanic and will be with me when I go to look at it.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:51 AM   #2
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Bill,
We've had a 2006 Saturn Vue 4cy since we got the Itasca in April of 2007. It is sort of noisy and I guess unrefined might could be used to describe the interior, but then I'm sure that some people describe me that way too. I find the seats comfortable, and I think it is more comfortable to drive than my wife's minivan from a sitting in the drivers seat point of view. We've been happy with it for what we wanted, a fairly light 4-down towable vehicle that would hold our family of three, and provide me with something to commute to work in. It has severed us admirably in that role, we've been happy with the car and it's towability and driveability.
As always there are things that I'd like to change, and there are really only two when it comes to towing the Saturn Vue behind the motorhome.
1) I wish I didn't have to pull the IGN fuse. (I could fix this if I'd get off my butt and build the fuse switch that other have mentioned in other threads on IRV2)
2) I wish I didn't have to go through the 4 - 5 minute transmission lubrication procedure when starting to tow and then every seven hours. It would be nice to just hookup and go.

Initially I thought the fact that you're not supposed to tow at a speed faster than 65MPH was going to bother me, but I've found that for fuel economy and my peace of mind that setting the motorhome cruise between 60 - 62 is the thing to do, so that is not a problem.
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Old 08-22-2009, 08:18 AM   #3
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We have an '06 Vue and are generally happy with it as a toad. The critics are right about the seats - I think they are too hard. I don't know what they mean about "tinny doors" because the doors (and fenders) are plastic. This prevents rust and helps prevent dents.

The other thing some people find they don't like about the Vue is the electric power steering. That probably contributes to the "unrefined" criticism. I think they improved the steering a bit by '06, but it is still a little vague without much feedback. I have gotten used to it.

The engine is a plus. The engine and transaxle come from Honda. The 250 hp comes at a relatively high rpm; but once the engine starts to wind up, it will GO! Ironically, we looked at a Honda CRV, which only comes with a 4-cylinder engine, then ran right down the street and bought the 6-cylinder Vue.

All in all, the Vue is pretty decent, and if you can get it already set up as a toad and with all the tow equipment at a good price, I'd go with it.
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Old 08-22-2009, 08:58 AM   #4
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Bill,
I bought a 2007 Vue in 2007 and had it set it up for a toad. It is a V6 FWD model and overall I am pleased with the performance and ride. I do not know if it makes a difference but I got mine equiped with everything including heated leather seats and the 17" wheels. The seats are comfortable and the ride is nice and not rough. I bought the Vue mainly as a second car and to use as a toad, our primary vehicle is a GMC Envoy XL which is also loaded and there are some things nice in the Envoy that the Vue does not have and would have been nice to include like a built in garage door openers and an electronic information center instead of idiot lights. I have probably got 15,000 towed miles on it without any problems, it does tow well behind the motorhome. It is a big PITA to remove the 30amp IGN fuse under the hood each time you tow. The fuse removal is only to prevent battery drain while towing. I have a supplemental brake and I have found if I do not pull the fuse and going through stop and go traffic will run down my battery after 7 hours of towing. Highway towing with less braking does not pull down the battery even after 7 hours. Rather than make up a switch for the fuse, I installed a Toad-Charge and now I do not pull the 30amp fuse. I just do the transmission fluid circulation requirement and plug in and go. After going through the shift sequence, you need to run the transmission in neutral for 3 minutes. I let my Vue run while I am hooking up the tow bar, electrical connections and installing my supplemental brake. Then I turn it off and cycle my brake to deplete the power brakes and drive off. Overall, I have been very please with the Vue and have not had any quality issues so I have not been back to the Saturn dealer except for oil changes. As it should be....
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
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Looking For Feedback on '06 Saturn Vue

An update.
We are now owners of an '06 Saturn Vue V6. It is more than what I was looking for, it's AWD rather than FWD, has all the bells and whistles, leather, sunroof, chrome package etc.
Towing euipment is complete with exception of supplemental brakes. The seller didn't feel the need to get them, "towed this thing all over for three years, never had a problem". So now I'm in the hunt for a system of some sort and I would appreciate any help from fellow Canadians on this forum to lead me to a source for a braking system that won't require me to mortgage my house to pay for it. Traditionally RV parts in the Great White North are outragiously expensive.
In addition the seller told me he never bothered to pull the IGN fuse for towing, preferring to start it up and idle it more often to keep the battery up. Can someone tell me that if not pulling the fuse allows mileage (or kilometers up here) to roll up on the odometer. He was kind of vague on this point.
Wish me luck.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:06 AM   #6
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Bill,
Congrats on the car. I put a US Gear Unified Tow Break on our Saturn, and have been very happy with it. I have no idea of Canadian cost or availability.
As to the fuse, I used to not pull the fuse for any trip under three hours. Then I had a wiring problem on the link from the MH to the Saturn on a 90 minute trip from the campground to the house to storage. I was stuck at the storage lot with a dead battery. And not just any dead battery, it was only useful as a boat anchor after my wiring gremlins got done with it. And the check engine light was on. After stopping by AutoZone, they found 132 codes when they hooked the reader up to the car. They were all transmission and emission system related. So since that time I always pull the fuse.
After posting above a few weeks ago, I have purchased all the parts for a fuse switch to mount in the car, I just haven't gotten around to it.

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Old 09-17-2009, 04:30 AM   #7
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I have an 07. Sometimes I pull the fuse and sometimes I don't. It doesn't affect the mileage either way.

I bought a Roadmaster Even Brake on Ebay for about $750 a few years ago. It works and is only mildly inconvenient.
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Old 09-20-2009, 05:12 AM   #8
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Bill and Eila, congratulations on the Vue. Sorry I did not see this thread earlier but it really did not matter. You will enjoy the Vue and the AWD is not only fun to drive, it is a much safer vehicle than two wheel drive on slippery roads. Take care and keep us posted.
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:38 PM   #9
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We bought our '06 6 cyl new for the express purpose of it being both our primary means of transportation (it is our only car other than my golf cart) and a close second being that we wanted another Saturn to tow. We have had two previous and can't imagine wanting any other type of car.

Maybe my needs aren't as much as many, but my Saturn has everything I need and has never given me a bit of trouble after about 36K miles registered on the odometer and probably another 15-20K being towed that has not registered.

I've taken the Saturn on "roads" that were only recommended for off road vehicles with nary a problem. The engine is extremely strong and the acceleration is very good. I get about 24 mpg in TX and about 28-30 in CO.

I highly recommend any Saturn that can be towed with all wheels down.
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:48 PM   #10
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I also have a 07 Vue with even Brake, have no problem with the Vue it is the Even brake that I have a complaint with, it is a pain in the Butt hooking up to the Brake pedal on the Vue. of course I am 75 years old and it is not easy getting down on my knees and the way it hooks up suck. I will say after I do get it hooked up it works good.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:16 AM   #11
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Ok, I finally built and installed all the parts for the fuse switch. Made the first long trip a couple of weeks ago. I loved it. No raising the hood, just run through the gears before leaving, turn the car off and flip the switch. At the rest area six and half hours down the road just got in the car, flipped the switch, started it up, did the gears, turned if off, flipped the switch off.

The only problem is that I'm going to have to find something else to complain about.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:06 AM   #12
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Posting on this thread rather late but I've own my 06 Saturn Vue FWD V6 since May and it has been a wonderful experience. I previously had a 97 Saturn SW2 and you had to watch the RV camera just to make sure it was still there. Same for the 06. I wouldn't own any other TOAD. Easy to tow, hook up and perform the necessary pre-trip functions. I have purchased the parts to make a fuse bypass cut-off switch but haven't installed it yet. CurbCrusher, what did you do to install yours? Could you give me some advise, please? Maybe your idea and method is better than mine. Regarding braking assist units, I have done a significant amount of research and before leaving for Alaska next year, I plan to have a SMI braking system installed. It is small, compact, easy to setup and works well with air brake systems. There may be others that are suitable also, but I don't want to carry a lot of extra equipment around which gets used only when towing, so I am going with a unit that is both easy and compact to use.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:58 PM   #13
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I went looking for a switch for my 07 Vue. I got a note from a retailer that told me that for the 7 hours of towing, there wasn't enough of a battery drain to disconnect it.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:21 PM   #14
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The sales of saturns must not be that high. Gm is closing the factory in oct 2010. I had thought of buying one, but i figured, if gm closes the factory, where am i gonna get partw ? And even if you can get parts, what about the factory warranty? I bought a jeep grand cherokee, which i equipped with a remco pump, blue ox tow bar and light kit and i don't have to do anything except hook up the tow bar and pump/lightplug, put trans in neutral, disconnect the battery and go. No stopping every so many hours and fiddling with the transmission or anything. It tows beautifully. Don't even feel it back there. I been thinking about trading it on a chevy hhr, you have to do even less than the jeep to tow it.
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