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Honda CR-V vs Saturn VUE

varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
edited March 2014 in Honda
I'm a CR-V owner, but I've been following the rumors surrounding the upcoming Saturn VUE with interest. Since it's introduction, the press has been reporting that the VUE was designed with the CR-V in mind. A recent article mentions that Saturn even purchased about a dozen CR-Vs to use as test mules for the Saturn CVT. The Saturn brings to market a decent price, a V6, CVT, dent resistent doors, and a host of other engineering doo-dads to help compete with the former sales king.

The problem is, Saturn targeted the current model. A new CR-V will be in dealerships at about the same time if not sooner. Did Saturn improve on the design enough to compete with the new CR-V, or are they chasing yesterday's standards?


  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    For those seeking info:

    02 CR-V first drive from Edmunds.
    CR-V press kit.
    VUE news.
    VUE press kit.
  • hi varmit.....i'll definitely be checking out both vehicles, along with the santa fe (my wife's current fave, although i have reservations about long term durability and gas mileage). you already know i prefer the saturn's liftgate over the cr-v's awkward rear-door/spare tire combo. styling-wise, i also like the "less-cladding" look of the saturn (though the up-level part-painted bumpers on the top-of-the-line cr-v (&jdm)
    look ok too). i expect the new cr-v may be quieter and more refined, and the new 2.4l four should be almost the equal of the vue's v6. the new cr-v also seems to have the edge in interior room. although the vue's 4 cyl/CVT combo could possibly get the best fuel economy in the class, i'm a little reluctant to be a guinea pig for GM's product development, as they seem to do most of their r&d after a vehicle comes out (and when they finally get it right after 5-6 years, they kill the vehicle). the SW300 with V6 gets about 24/34 city/hwy mpg (canadian gals.), so the vue may get close to this as it will have a five-speed auto. The cr-v reportedly will get 26/33.
    Anyway, some interesting choices down the road
    (along with the matrix & vibe on a slightly smaller scale). Can't wait to see & drive all of them.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    VUE looks very good to me. I think the Escape/Tribute, CR-V and VUE will be the top choices in the small SUV arena. Santa Fe looks kind of fat and bulgey (not very attractive) and I would never buy a Hyundia. Too many memories of Pony's rusting out and not starting after 5 years.
  • btw, i meant to say saturn LW300 (large wagon) when i was referring to gas mileage.
    in regards to price, hopefully the vue will be's run from mid 26's to mid 29's(se with leather)(2001) & hopefully that won't change alot with the 2002's. The saturn LW wagons run from just over 25k (4cyl/5spd)to 29k (6cyl/5spd). if the vue is any more than that, i feel it won't be competitive (i hope it will be somewhat less, at least at the top end, say 28-29k with 6cyl/auto and awd). (these are canadian$ prices, btw)
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    Artdecho - I agree that the CR-V's 2.4 will probably run with the V-6 VUE in terms of acceleration. The CR-V has a weight advantage and it looks like it is still geared pretty high. The VUE's bigger engine does make a significant difference in towing, though. Not many people who are towing will look at small SUVs, but those that do will most likely pass on the CR-V.

    Dindak - I have to agree with you on the looks of the Santa Fe. Hyundai went for "curvacious", but they ended up with "lumpy". From the side, it doesn't look too bad, but from any angle where you can see the back or the hood, it's not pretty.

    Pricing for the CR-V and VUE look to be about the same. The CR-V is supposed to run from 19-23 (American $). So far I've seen the VUE estimated at "below 20K" to $23K.
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    I doubt verymuch that the VUE will get the same mpg as the Saturn wagon. It's heavier, and probably a good deal less aerodynamic. Estimates published in a recent article were somewhere between the high teens and mid twenties. I don't have the source in front of me, but I think they wrote 17 - 24 mpg (US measures again).

    Anyone know the emissions ranking of either VUE engine?
  • they don't look all that great....the 4cyl.awd with cvt is not even as good as the 2002 cr-v and the v6/5spd auto awd is about the same as a santa fe.
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    I was a bit surprized as well. Looking at the specs, it seems that the AWD system adds a bit of weight. That might explain the difference between the base model and the CVT 4 cylinder. The highway figures for the lowest model aren't bad, but the figures for city driving are not impressive. The V6 looks decent, but I have to wonder if it's going to suffer from the same problem as the Escape (which rarely meets the EPA estimates).

    I looked through the press material and I don't see anything about emissions for the VUE. I have to assume that if either engine were an LEV or better, they'd be touting it just like everybody else.

    Based on the limited data we have here, I'd have to give the CR-V a better rating for it's engine. Compared with the VUE's ecotec 4, the CR-V has more power, gets similar mpg, and it meets higher emissions standards (LEV II). When compared with the VUE's V6, it loses in the power category, but it gets significantly better mpg and once again meets higher emissions standards.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    At least for me, 1 or 2 MPG either way just doesn't matter much. I'm much more interested in comfort, space and utility. Honda 4 cyl engine is probably the better of the 2 but the Ecotec is no slouch. I've driven an LS and it's quite smooth.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Who knows how the price of oil will fluctuate within the coming months...
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    If you are that tight for gas money, you might want to consider an economy car instead of an SUV. Lots of small wagon choices out there also.
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    Dindak - What type of utility are you looking for? Cargo, towing, off-roading?
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Mostly cargo, with good economy as we have a growing family. If we do go with an SUV, it has to be somewhat economical. Our one lease is up in the spring so that's when we will be looking. Base Rendezvous (probably too expensive), Escape, Tribute, VUE and CR-V are all on the list.
  • The 2002 Forester will be an all new design.

    Something else to consider if you are looking next year.
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    Given that the 2nd gen CR-V has more cargo capacity than the largest Soob, I don't think that the smaller Forester will be at the top of the list for those with cargo space as a priority.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    The big problem I have with Subarus is price. They are very expensive IMO. They seem best suited to those who go off roading and/or will really use the 4WD. I will likely get a 2WD 4cyl VUE/ Escape or CR-V.
  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    Top of the line Soobs are pricey, but they come with quite a few options. When the Forester came out, it earned the unfortunate label of "expensive" because the test mules were fully loaded. But, when you take a mid-level Forester and compare it to the EX CR-V, they come out pretty much the same in price and equipment.

    Depending on what you want for creature comforts, the CR-V may force you into AWD that you don't want. The EX and SE models have RT4WD as standard equipment. Luckily, the airbags are at least an option on the LX model. I was afraid that they would only be standard equipment on the EX.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Kanti: prices vary by region, but in the DC area you can get a Forester L for as little as $18,981 freight included from, a local no-haggle dealership. They have autos still under $20k.

    Keep in mind that even the most basic model comes with AWD, ABS, power package, A/C, cassette, roof rack, fog lights, floor mats, mud guards, etc.

    True, if you load one up, the highest priced of the 67 they have in stock costs $24,146, but that includes a huge moonroof, leather, automatic trans, heated seats and mirrors, disc brakes, 16" alloys, side air bags, etc.

    So don't overlook them just because they offer a lot of standard equipment.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Base Forester list here for C$28,395 + freight. With auto which I would want add $1000. That's a lot of money for a small SUV vehicle. I also think it looks too much like a wagon which is why I prefer the Outback which is a wagon. The CR-V / Saturn will list for much less. Given I don't need 4WD and the prices, the Subaru is off the shopping list.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ah, Canada. Supply and demand for Subies is quite different there.

    Since you don't need 4WD, be sure to check out the new Saturn's CVT. It sounds interesting, at least.

    If wagons are on your list, check out the Protoge5 and the upcoming Matrix. They cost less to boot.

    My dad and my cousin have Outbacks, and both are quite happy with them.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Wow, do you own stock in Subaru?

    Problem with the Outback is the same, too expensive. They start at over C$30K which is too much for a compact wagon. Subaru seems to have gone up scale in recent years. They need to have a lower priced entry level model.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wish I had bought some back in 1998, when sales were at 150k. They're now at 180k or so, and yes I've influenced several buyers.

    Yeah, they dropped the Brighton models. Canada's line up has been different, though.

    They had a Forester Dynastar edition ($400 for a bunch of extra stuff and skis or snow board), which was a good deal, so keep your eyes out for limited editions like that.

    Subaru has made ABS standard on every car (at least in the US), as well as the torquey 2.5l engine. So yeah, they are priced accordingly.

    What about an Impreza TS? Those offer good value. Legacy L too.

  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    The Outback is a nice wagon, but from a strictly functional point of view, it's only significant advantage over the '02 CR-V is the option of an H6. Without the 6, the base Outback and CR-V are closer competitors than the new CR-V and the current Forester.

    Back on track... I read rumors that the CVT for the Vue will not be available right away. Has this been confirmed? Also, does anyone know the gearing for the 5 speed automatic? If it's geared aggressively, this could turn the Vue into quite a performer.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Perhaps in size, but we'll see about payload. The old CR-V did not come close to matching what the Forester could haul, at least in terms of weight. My payload is over 1000 lbs, a figure hard to match.

    You always bring up the CR-V's bigger size, but Consumer Reports fit a bigger box in the Forester. Also, Car & Driver fit more cases of beer in the Forester's cargo compartment.

    More beer? Forester wins! ;-)

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Another issue with the Forester is simply it's looks. It's a very odd looking vehicle. I'm not sure I could live with it. The VUE, Tribute and CR-V all look better IMO.

    Impreza/ Legacy not an options for growing family.

    Seriously, do you own Subaru stock??

  • varmitvarmit Posts: 1,125
    Juice - You're a year off. This is an '02 CR-V topic. The new CR-V has 72 cu.ft. of cargo capacity. That's nearly ten more than the current Forester and about 4 or 5 (can't recall) more than the Outback. Honda is claiming that the '02 CR-V can fit two 26" frame mountain bikes in back with the wheels attached. I'd guess that the cargo bay has a more regular shape than the old model.

    As for the current CR-V, more space is more space. While I've always considered the Forester's ability to engulf a single large object made it an even comparsion, there's still something to be said for having more cubic footage. Not everything has a regular shape. My backpacks for example.
  • My goal in going to this site is to gain further insight into Saturn VUE vs Honda CR-V. I can go elsewhere to learn about the Forester (I owned one once - it ain't much). If you folks would like to continue with the Forester discussion on this site (as in the last 14 postings), I'll be happy to share my personal experiences with that machine.

    The one big benefit I see to buying the Saturn is that it's an American car made primarily with American built parts and it's manufactured in an American factory. Now I know this, over the recent past, has not been considered much of a compliment, but things do seem to be changing (for instance, the new Jeep Liberty is apparently turning people's attitudes around about American SUV car quality).

    Let's hope the VUE helps Saturn maintain their reputation for customer satisfaction. If the VUE comes anywhere near the CR-V in quality and reliability, I'll seriously consider the option of buying one.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Really? I find the CR-V kind of plain, the Tribute handsome, and the Vue kind of odd. Beauty's in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

    I guess we'll have to have a "cases of beer" rematch. ;-)

    Ken: someone mentioned the Forester, so I commented. It's not like anyone here has even driven the two vehicles in the topic, right? Competitors are relevant in every way.

    I've seen the Vue in person, and crowd reaction was so-so. I guess they have a certain "look" to the Saturn line, it just doesn't do much for me. The L series was a bomb, though, and the engines come from that line. The platform is all new, so we'll see.

    I've driven and like the Liberty. Huge leaps and bounds ahead of the Cherokee. We'll see how they hold up in the long term, though.

    You have not had a single post in any Subaru related topic, you sure you own a Forester? Don't tell me you're a troll...

This discussion has been closed.