Fast, ergonomically correct, Honda VTEC!
Overall this is the best small SUV out there for the year (2004), and I have owned a RAV 4, CR-V, and Forester, so I have something to compare it to.
Just be sure to get one with the Honda VTEC V6 - you don't want a 4 cyl VUE with the continuously variable transmission; too many problems with those.
Anyway, the 2004 V-6 VUE has so many positives and so few negatives. The 3.5 Honda V-6 Vtec motor and 5 speed auto transmission are amazing, and the V-6 VUE is quick - seriously quick. 250 HP...
It handles extremely well, is great looking, everything is laid out really well in the interior (exception: window buttons should be on the doors, not on center console). It has WAY more front seat leg room than the same year CR-V, and about the same everywhere else.
Ride quality is far superior to the CR-V - it is very noticeable how much less you feel bumps, and how much better the VUE handles.
MPG is about 20 in town, 25 on highway. 1-2 MPG less than the CR-V.
The VUE comes stock with 17" alloys, not 15" like CR-V.
Now, the AWD: About the same mechanical design as the CR-V, and exactly the same as other GM SUV's (Versatrak). Not nearly as good in terms of traction or longevity of the comparable Toyota and Subaru AWD. This part of the VUE is lacking. I bought it anyway because everything else is so well done on this car. I'd take the 2004 VUE over any of the others hands down. If the V-6 Rav-4 were bigger, I would seriously consider it a contender with the VUE. But - the RAV-4 is just too small, not really in the same class.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th March, 2011