2002 Saturn VUE 2.2 4 cylinder Ecotec
Find a good used one with a manual tranny that's been well taken care of, and you WILL LOVE IT!!!
I am excluding normal maintenance to make this simple.
Judging by what I have replaced, keep in mind that everything was installed myself, so labour rates are not part of the price.
- Steering rack... bought a low mileage used one for $60.
- Steering universal joint x3 - new for $110 ish (common issue).
- Rear wiper motor.
- Body control module... $60 for that, but $390 to get it reprogrammed.
- Starter x2... $40 from wreckers.
- Subframe (engine cradle) $250 with shipping, common for rotting out, so got a used rust free from the southern states, drilled several holes and oil spray it twice a year.
- Both front wheel bearings about every 150000 km.
- Coil pack rail with ignition module x2 (very common issue), $50 used.
- Fuel leak when the tank is near full, as over time the rubber gaskets around both fuel pumps dry rot out, $30ish each gasket.
- Muffler with a used one from a low mileage 07 hybrid.
- Clutch and entire clutch hydraulic system from clutch master cylinder to internal slave cylinder at 427xxx km, $590.
- All 4 sway bar end lines every 2 years (common horrible design), $78 for all 4.
- Upstream 02 sensor yesterday for the first time at 452xxx km, $59.
- Alternator at 301xxx km, $210 with new Bosch (not a refurb or rebuild).
- Thermostat at 448xxx km.
- Hazard light switch fell through the console more times than I can count, so gave up on that one (extremely common!!!).
- Front struts, rear shocks and springs replaced at 35xxxx km, only because it started to get that floaty bouncy feeling and braking nose dive.
- Ignition would be hard to turn and key gets stuck a lot. FREE FIX AS THERE IS A RECALL STILL ON THESE.
- Gave up on the airbag light as it has rare intermittent issues that set the light off.
- Transmission in the cold (-20C) shifting from 1st to 2nd, be gentle as sometimes it grinds slightly (common issue, but harmless and only in the first 2 minute of driving!)
Paid just slightly under $19,000 and bought it outright off the showroom floor.
2.2, 4 cylinder Ecotec, 5 speed manual transmission.
Overall, over the years I have owned the Vue, it has been damn fantastic. They have their little issues as most cars/SUVs/trucks have. Recently I replaced all the seats from a 05 Redline Vue, and comfort is that much better (old fabric seats got very rough after 10 years).
Those cold Canadian mornings below -20C, she warms up driving in less than 5 minutes! GREAT HEAT OUT OF HER.
A/C has never been touched or serviced, and still blows ICE COLD!!!
If you are here looking into buying one, AVOID THE 2.2 with the CVT transmission; they are seriously junk!!! Get the 5 speed MANUAL, they are great, and damn near flawless.
To this day, after everything I have owned, the Vue is by far the best I have owned; it burns no oil still to this day. I got no hesitation on driving a 4400km round trip to Florida once a year without worry.
Space in the hatch is great; fold the seats down and seriously there's that much more.
Passenger seat folds forward flat and works great as a small work table or to eat your lunch on.
Seats are very comfy on long trips (the seats I replaced them with from an 05 Vue are electric also and worth every penny).
Me, the wife, 2 kids, and a dog travel all the time in the Vue, and never a complaint about comfort.
I am 6ft 2" and have plenty of head and leg room, and the seat is not slid as far back as it can go still.
Fuel mileage isn't the best as the 2.2 is kinda under powered for the size of the Vue.
City driving 20 MPG, highway 31 MPG with the cruise set at 105km/h (65mph).
Overtaking and jumping on the highway isn't an issue at all; just get the revs up there to get the best out of the engine.
I do tow a 18 ft utility trailer with brakes on it; the weight loaded for the trailer is usually around the 3000lbs to 3200lbs, which yes is overweight for the 2.2, but will cruise on the highway at 105 comfortably, but gets about 15 MPG to 18 MPG.
Overall I can say it's very well built, I love driving manual, and that this was offered with that was a huge plus when I test drove it, and obviously 2 hours later it was in my driveway...
Price for parts isn't terrible either if you go new or used (FUEL PUMPS ARE OUTRAGEOUS THOUGH, and I'm yet to have that issue, $900 for a pair).
The only things I would change are a larger fuel tank, the heater fan to be much quieter would be nice at full speed, and road noise can be slightly annoying at times depending on the surface.
Great in the snow, very stable, and gives you confidence (yes I use snow tires).
Stereo got upgraded after 1 week of ownership (lost part of my warranty over that... big oops, but never bit me in the rear). The factory stereo is alright, but I do love my music loud and with lots of quality.
Last year I found the 2005 Redline Vue factory body kit in great shape at a wreckers, and just that little facelift makes the Vue look really sporty, and also got the factory Redline 18" rims with it. Seats too, black leather with black suede inserts.
I've got no intention to this day to sell the Vue; even if the motor quits, I would be more than happy to replace the engine and keep it going for many more years. Change your oil every 5000km/3000 miles and don't settle for cheaper white box Chinese parts, get the good stuff (you get what you pay for!!!) and the Vue will treat you well for a long time.
The Vue drives very smooth, and if you didn't look at the odometer, you would feel like it drives like it did when it left the showroom. Still has good get up and go after all the KM and years, paint looks great still, plastic panels are great and saved me from many dents with the kids, and parking lots over the years.
If you're planning on buying a 4 cylinder VUE with a manual, 2002 to 2005 are the same, stay far... very, very far from the CVT transmission (the automatic).
Not fast by any means, acceleration is good, but with a 145ish horsepower 4 cylinder, don't expect it to be a rocket; the 162km/h (100mph) speed governor is as fast as she will go. (Come on, everyone tests that out once or twice here and there) and is decently stable that fast too.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO CHECK FOR WHEN LOOKING AT A VUE TO BUY:
- The rear of the subframe is very prone to rotting out.
- Rockers tend to rot also, but very easy to patch properly and weld new steel in.
- Timing chain noise (happens with a lack of oil change maintenance and chain failure can happen and the motor will be toast); the 2.2 Ecotec is prone to this, so try and get some service history for oil changes.
- If it's a 4 cylinder with the CVT transmission (automatic), run away from it!
Don't worry so much on the odometer reading, I'd buy another even if it has over 300000 km as long as it's been well taken care of! The Ecotec is a very proven strong, smooth running reliable engine.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd January, 2017
22nd Jan 2017, 16:55
Wow. That is over 280,000 miles. Good work keeping her going. Too bad GM got rid of the only division that made reliable cars.
23rd Jan 2017, 00:20
"...the only division that made reliable cars."?
One need only look at the Saturn L-series or Ion reviews on this site to see how utterly wrong that is!
23rd Jan 2017, 02:56
Buick always ranks as one of the most dependable cars.
23rd Jan 2017, 05:02
Fantastic review! I wish all others were so thorough.
29th Jan 2017, 03:57
280,000 miles after towing an 18-foot trailer with a 4-cylinder - you must be doing something right ;)