2003 Saturn VUE AWD V6 3.0L from North America

Summary:

Unreliable, costly plastic junk

Faults:

Oil cooler (replaced before I got it).

Thermostat ($425).

New calipers and hoses ($375).

Valve cover gasket and thermostat again ($780).

Needs a new catalytic converter.

Possibly a new valve body or TCM.

General Comments:

When doing research on buying this car, I was told to stay away from the 02-05 4 cylinder VTi, so I thought the V6 would be a suitable candidate. Boy was I wrong. This car has been nothing but problems.

The trans gives me whiplash from Park to Drive, and I average crappy gas mileage. The car really wouldn't be so bad if the repairs were actually easy to do. Changing a thermostat requires lifting the intake up from the engine, and that's where a lot of the problematic things go wrong such as the oil cooler, valve cover gasket, and even maintenance items such as spark plugs.

This car also has a timing belt, so if you don't change that at 100k, bye bye engine if it snaps.

The leather leaves a lot to be desired, and the AWD system is expensive too if the center carrier bearing decides to crap out on you, which is common.

The suspension is noisy.

When it runs fine it's a good car, but mine has seem to have caught every problem that has been reported as a common problem, or one that only a few people have seen. Regardless, I can't recommend that anyone buys this car, unless you want to be paying thousands every time something goes wrong.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 8th July, 2013

9th Jul 2013, 11:33

Sounds like routine maintenance and wear and tear on a high mileage vehicle like that. The thermostat isn't such a big deal though - if you want to save some money, consider not replacing it if it goes out again.

11th Jul 2013, 09:12

The Saturn cars started out as great basic transportation. Then over the years, General Motors started changing too many things on them... trying to make more and more money on the car, instead of improving on what they had.

Everything started going downhill. Saturn tried to stay independent of the big General Motors machine, but couldn't escape it, and in the end it was destroyed.

The executives that destroyed Saturn, along with many parts of General Motors, are now retired living off $10,000 a month pensions in the warm Florida sunshine.

10th Mar 2014, 01:26

How does a thermostat cost $425?

29th Oct 2014, 02:36

To get at the thermostat in a Opel powered V6 Vue, you will need to remove the upper and lower intake. It is in the V. Not an easy job. $450 is probably on the low side.

2003 Saturn VUE from North America

Summary:

Cheap disposable transportation

Faults:

Brakes always squeaked, mechanic said they were fine & fully functional, just never stopped squeaking.

Exhaust gasket impossible to fix, gave up after four trips to garage. Always sounded like a Harley.

Timing belt went at 130K, destroyed engine. The car is off to the wreckers.

General Comments:

Comfortable, if simple interior.

Air, CD, cruise. Lots of room. Loud cabin / road noise.

Cheap materials in institutional grey. Decent fuel economy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th June, 2012

25th Jun 2012, 10:57

Wow, a case of just letting a car go to pot without any maintenance? The timing belt should have been prevented, and I'm sure SOMEONE out there in the Land of Oz could've replaced that exhaust gasket if you'd been willing to pony up the dough.

It kills me that people regard cars, especially ones which are less than 10 years old, as "disposable" and they just bounce from one to another.

2003 Saturn VUE 4 cylinder from North America

Summary:

Been a good SUV. Happy with it

Faults:

Rear wheel bearing replaced at 71k.

General Comments:

Car has been problem free since owned. First and only issue was wheel bearing.

Pros: Cargo room. Ride. No major problems.

Cons: Way too much cheap plastic. 4 cyl. is under powered.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th April, 2011