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SATURN UNVEILS PERFORMANCE-TUNED VUE RED LINE

The 2004 VUE Red Line, the first in Saturn’s new series of performance-tuned vehicles, represents the next step in Saturn’s drive to generate new interest in the brand. On display at the 2003 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, the limited-production sport utility features a lowered body, sport-tuned suspension and steering, a monochromatic exterior including ground effects, and aggressive 18-inch wheels and tires.

The VUE Red Line also has upgrades that will be featured across the 2004 VUE lineup, including a newly available 3.5-liter, 250-horsepower V-6 engine and a number of exterior and interior refinements. Specifically engineered for Saturn VUE by Honda, the new powertrain is mated to an electronically controlled five-speed automatic with grade logic control, which helps eliminate hunting between gears – a benefit especially on hilly roads.

The VUE Red Line will be available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. It is scheduled for production in December at Saturn’s manufacturing facility in Spring Hill, Tenn., and will be sold at retailers as a regular production option at $1,995.

“The VUE Red Line is designed for drivers who enjoy sporty ride and handling, but don’t want to sacrifice the VUE’s exceptional versatility,” said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn’s vice president for sales, service and marketing. “This specialty vehicle breaks new ground in the small SUV market and is positioned at the intersection of three important industry trends: surging small SUV sales, strong truck personalization and sport tuning. At the same time, the VUE Red Line calls attention to the many enhancements that we are making on the entire 2004 VUE lineup.”

Red Line” is the name that will be used on all future Saturn performance-tuned vehicles, including a special edition of the ION quad coupe that will come to market in early 2004. Red Line vehicles will carry a specific exterior emblem denoting its status within the Saturn family.

Saturn developed the Red Line vehicles with assistance from the General Motors Performance Division, an in-house center designed to explore potential enthusiast-oriented versions of production models.

“Like the ION quad coupe, the VUE was designed for personalization, and Saturn was excited to work with the Performance Division on the Red Line series,” said Jim Trucksis, VUE Red Line program manager. “In the VUE, we took an already significantly enhanced 2004 model and kicked it up a notch.”

Performance-tuned features of the VUE Red Line include lower (by 26 mm) vehicle ride height and stiffer springs to reduce the center of gravity and body roll. A sport steering calibration improves responsiveness and has a firmer on-center feel. An aggressive 18-inch aluminum wheel and P245/50R18 Bridgestone Turanza performance touring tire package are also VUE Red Line exclusives. The combination significantly improves ride and handling, increases max lateral g’s and gives the vehicle a distinctive “slammed” appearance.

Its custom looks include new rockers, rear fascia, front fascia with black air intakes, and chrome exhaust tip. Door and liftgate handles, along with mirror housings, are painted body color to finish off the monochromatic theme. The VUE Red Line will be available in Black Onyx, Silver Nickel or Electric Lime.

2004 VUE
The VUE Red Line comes standard with the new, advanced V-6 engine that delivers 250 hp at 5800 rpm and 242 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm. Available as optional equipment on the 2004 VUE, the 3.5L V-6 will give the vehicle an estimated 0-60 mph time of approximately 7 seconds.

In the standard VUE, the new powertrain also increases towing ability to 3,500 pounds and permits the vehicle to be flat-towed, compared to the 2,500-pound capacity of the 3.0L V-6 engine it replaces. (Towing is not recommended with the VUE Red Line.) VUEs equipped with the new V-6 will meet the California ULEV-II emissions standard (ultra-low emissions vehicle).

The new V-6, which is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, is just one of the enhancements Saturn is making to its VUE lineup for 2004. VUE customers can also continue to choose an Ecotec 2.2L inline four-cylinder engine, available with either a five-speed manual or the advanced VTi variable transmission.

Like the powertrain, the VUE Red Line benefits from enhancements being made to the interior of all 2004 VUE models, including new acoustical treatments to reduce noise inside the cabin, new seat fabric (V-6 models) available six-way power driver seat, two new CD radios with MP3 readability and available XM Satellite Radio, a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel and shift knob (V-6 models), a back-lit instrument cluster with white gauge faces and chrome rings, and automatic headlamp control (standard on V-6, optional on I-4).

Safety enhancements on all 2004 VUE models include front seat-belt pretensioners and dual-stage air bags. Dual-stage air bags are designed to detect vehicle deceleration and, based on the deceleration data, provide an appropriate amount of air-bag inflation. The dual-level air-bag system senses the severity of a crash and determines whether to deploy the air bag with primary or "lower" amount of inflation or with primary and secondary "higher" amount of inflation. Dual-stage air bags are designed to help reduce the occurrence of inflation-induced injuries by deploying the air bag less forcefully in lower speed crashes.

Exterior changes for 2004 include dark-tinted rear door glass and new 17-inch machined aluminum wheels that are standard on all-wheel-drive V-6 models, optional on the front-wheel-drive V-6. Body-color door handles and chrome “SATURN” lettering in the liftgate eyebrow will be standard on non-Red Line V-6 models.

The versatility of the VUE has been a major factor in its sales success since its introduction as a 2002 model. The VUE can carry five passengers, or can be configured to carry more than 63.8 cubic feet of cargo with features such as a second-row seat and front passenger seat that fold flat. VUE exceeded its sales goals in 2002 by more than 50 percent, topping 75,000 units, and sales through the first nine months of 2003 are 50 percent ahead of 2002. September retail sales calendar-year-to-date totaled 6,550 units, up 13 percent over the previous year and setting a new monthly record.

VUE RED LINE VEHICLE HIGHLIGHTS:

POWERTRAIN
Engine:
-3.5-liter SOHC 60-degree V-6
-Electronic throttle control
-Sequential fuel injection
-Induction and exhaust tuning
-Isolated engine cradle
-250 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
-242 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
-ULEV-II emissions compliant
-Transmission & Driveline:

-5-speed automatic transmission with grade logic
-All-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive configurations
-4.06:1 final drive ratio

Exhaust:
-High-flow catalytic converter and muffler
-3-inch diameter chrome exhaust tip

CHASSIS

Brakes:
-Front/rear vented disc/drum with power assist and standard ABS
11.7-inch front, 9.8-inch rear

Suspension:
-Independent strut-type with coil springs, anti-roll bar in front, independent trailing arm with three lateral locating links, anti-roll bar and coil springs in rear
-Performance-tuned springs
-26-mm lower ride height

Steering:
-Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion, performance-tuned

Wheels & Tires:
-18-inch, 7-spoke aluminum wheels
-P245/50-series Bridgestone Turanza performance touring tires

STYLING

Exterior:
-Monochromatic exterior with ground effects
-Specific front fascia with black air intakes and stainless steel grille
-Specific rear fascia with 3-inch chrome exhaust tip
-Dark-tinted rear door glass
-VUE Red Line badging on liftgate
-Vehicle colors: Black Onyx, Silver Nickel, Electric Lime

Interior:
-New acoustical package – door, floor, engine area
-Available 6-way power driver’s seat
-Two new CD radios with MP3 playback
-Available XM Satellite Radio
-Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
-Backlit instrument panel with white gauge faces and chrome rings
-Automatic headlamp control
-Front seat belt pretensioners
-Dual-stage air bags
 

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Well, if GM is gunna step up to the sports compact market... bring it!!! A turbo or sc'ed eco should be out, as i hear that a sc'ed one is what is slated for production. I think that might have been the wrong move as we know imports LOVE turbo's... and most know more about turbo's then your average GM/muscle car guy does. The charged ion should at least be able to keep up with the neon which seems to be sweeping the sports compact market.
 

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Originally posted by Davvy@Oct 29 2003, 01:39 PM
Just say it, H-O-N-D-A
i'm sure this is old but....

Hold On, Not Done Accelerating

:D
 

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Originally posted by mackingu+Oct 31 2003, 01:35 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (mackingu @ Oct 31 2003, 01:35 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Davvy@Oct 29 2003, 01:39 PM
Just say it, H-O-N-D-A
i'm sure this is old but....

Hold On, Not Done Accelerating

:D [/b][/quote]
LOL

:bounce:
 

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I swear I've seen at least three souped up VUEs on the freeway this week, two red and one dark blue. They all look identical, so I assumed these were Red Line VUEs or that some aftermarket company is selling a lot of VUE performance kits.

Seeing as the article makes reference to a December date for production, I guess it's the latter. I'd say that's a good sign, though: to see three of these in one week says to me that a lot of folks already consider the VUE to be a good platform for performance customization.
 

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the RLs are already in canadian showrooms, so my guess is that you are right in regards to your assumption. anyway, my dad is thinking of getting the VUE. it would be the third saturn in my imediate family, maybe the zillionth out of all my relatives.

anyway, since this thread is about the VUE, i pose this question:

buy the sportier VUE RedLine, with the odyssey 3.5L or stick with the ECOTEC and stick to all GM parts?
 

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As pissed as I used to be about Honda engine, I am starting to warm up to a 3400(?)lb SUV with a 250HP V6 in it. And just as long as GM isn't straight up using the Honda without an exchange, it makes it easier. I think it makes more since from a family standpoint(ie family transportation) than a souped up Eco.
 

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Originally posted by sykboy@Oct 31 2003, 10:45 PM
As pissed as I used to be about Honda engine, I am starting to warm up to a 3400(?)lb SUV with a 250HP V6 in it. And just as long as GM isn't straight up using the Honda without an exchange, it makes it easier. I think it makes more since from a family standpoint(ie family transportation) than a souped up Eco.
Of course using the GM DOHC 3.6L V6 in the Buick Rendezvous Ultra and Cadillac CTS would have been the best.

I'm already tired of the snide comments by auto reviewers about GM needing to go to Honda for an engine "The Import Beater relying on an Import Brand" - when they had one like this already.
 

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I agree, Ming. Not to mention that they aren't using an engine that is even competitive in the Equinox, which just lends justice to the criticism. The 3.6 would be the bomb. Or even the 3.9. 3500 would at least be better. They must have a deal with china to produce so many 3400s that they are trying to get rid of them or something.

I like the 'Nox better but if I can get the 3.5 in a base V6 Vue, that is what I want. Then Red Line it myself, like P-mike said.
 

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:lol: oh, damn.

On another note, aren't there companies making drop springs and stuff for the Vue already? This could prove cheaper than getting the GM parts. I wonder what kind of stuff they have for the H motor? I am sure someone probably makes a supercharger already. May need some modifications but it could work.
 

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I saw a spring kit somewhere for 299. Add on a couple of hundred more to upgrade the tires and wheels... looks like Saturn figures I'll pay another $1500 to get the lime green and matching plastic. I think I'll go with red.
 
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