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The penultimate Saturn Vue model year was all-new in 2008. With an improved cabin, more power, and better driving dynamics, the stylish compact SUV marked an improvement over its predecessor. General Motors collaborated with its German subsidiary, Opel, for the 2008 Saturn Vue, making it a contender in its class. But despite earning praise as an affordable used SUV, the 2008 Vue has some troubling reliability issues that could require costly repairs and maintenance.

The 2008 Saturn Vue is a solid SUV overall

2008 Saturn Vue reliability
2008 Saturn Vue | Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images

The Saturn Vue stood near the top of its class with the 2008 redesign thanks to its improved comfort, updated style, and enhanced performance.

The 2008 Saturn Vue offered three powertrain options: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder Ecotec, a 3.5-liter V6, and a 3.6-liter V6 with variable valve timing. Though the base engine doesn’t provide impressive power, it boasts good fuel efficiency. But either V6 delivers a more thrilling driving experience.

The interior redesign marked a vast improvement over the previous model. It not only looked better but also offered a surprising amount of cabin space. It’s comfortable on the inside and head-turning on the outside.

It also has good standard safety features for the time. They include antilock brakes, side-curtain airbags, and stability control. This model year earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick.

Although the 2008 Saturn Vue has ample passenger space, it doesn’t provide as much space for cargo as some rivals.

How reliable is the 2008 Saturn Vue?

The 2008 Saturn Vue has plenty of perks as an affordable used car, but owners have reported issues resulting in pricey repairs, according to RepairPal. And the SUV scored only two out of five in reliability from J.D. Power.

In addition, the 2008 Vue has seen several recalls. One of the more significant relates to potential power steering failure, which could leave the SUV challenging to steer. Other major recalls concern the airbags, electrical system, and transmission. Many of these problems were covered by either the manufacturer or warranty, but they still inconvenienced owners.

The cost of the repairs depended on the issue and where it was repaired. It could cost up to $4,000 to replace the transmission, while some owners reported a check engine light issue might cost only $111. 

The most common problems 2008 Saturn Vue owners have experienced concern the transmission, steering system, and fuel pump. The transmission issues run the gamut from difficulty shifting gears to complete failure. The problems with the fuel pump could cause the engine to stall. Drivers have also reported issues with the brakes and suspension.

The 2009 model is better

2009 was the Vue’s final model year. Saturn made several improvements to the 2009 model, making it a better choice for a used vehicle. It earned four out of five from J.D. Power for overall reliability, U.S. News reports. Owners are less likely to encounter problems requiring costly maintenance and repairs. 

In addition, its safety features received an upgrade with side-curtain airbags and an electronic stability control system as standard equipment. Saturn also added more engine options, including a more potent V6. Buyers had more choices to meet their needs, whether better gas mileage or enhanced performance. 

With the improved reliability among other updates, the 2009 Saturn Vue is a more attractive used compact SUV than the 2008 model. The 2009 Vue has better safety features, more engine options, and an updated style that makes it look more modern. Best of all, it’s less likely to need repairs and maintenance that cost time and money.


Among Used SUVs, a 2009 Saturn Vue Is as Good as a Honda CR-V