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Honda CR-V vs Saturn VUE



  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I am looking at these two. The Honda seems to be the better buy. For about the price of a 4WD CR-V EX, you get a FWD V6 VUE. The CR-V has a bigger back seat, standard sunroof, standard side air bags, standard alloy wheels, standard ABS, a "Best Pick" designation by the IIHS, and better mileage. I know the V6 VUE has more power and a standard automatic transmission, so that will lower mileage a little on the Saturn. I'm torn because our trade is a 1999 SL2 that has given us no problems at all. We also had a 1995 SL2 that performed perfectly. I like my local Saturn store. The buying experience was very easy and the service department personnel is nice and helpful. I'm also sure the Saturn dealer will give me more for my trade than the Honda store; and, I have a good current history with GMAC, so better financing may be possible with the Saturn. Maybe? Basically, I feel as though Saturn has done nothing to make them lose my business, I just like the CR-V a little more. Any thoughts on what readers bought and if they would buy again?
  • In November, 2002 I traded in my 1998 SL2 for a CR-V EX. I too felt like Saturn had done nothing to lose my business (except for $600 worth of repair 6 month out of warranty). I was always treated with respect and courtesy at my Saturn dealer. The VUE was my second choice (my son's first). What swayed me were the safety kudos you mentioned, a tad bit better fit & finish, and the overall value that you mentioned. Don't think you can go wrong. Do some back-to-back-to-back test drives, then wait a week to see which vehicle you find yourself wishing you were in while tooling down the road in your SL2. I'm sure $ will also play a part (if it didn't I'd be in an MDX). Good Luck; I'm sure you'll enjoy whichever you choose.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Better deals on the VUE right now with 0% financing.

    They are both excellent vehicles and both recommended by Consumers Reports. You won't go too wrong either way.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I appreciate the input. Both have their pros and cons. We'll just see which fits better.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Let us know what u get.
  • vuefor2vuefor2 Posts: 490
    We liked both, but in the end the polymer doors, V6 and sales experience sold us on the Vue. We also liked the Escape, but really you can't go too wrong with any of these choices. They are all good vehicles.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Did you ever buy an SUV?
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    Last Friday, I bought a new 2003 Vue Sport Plus II from the local dealer. I traded in my 1999 Ranger XLT 4 door and got a higher value for it than I could find elsewhere in the SUV market. Combine that with a $2000 rebate, plus a bargain priced special option package and it appears to be a real winner. This is a great time in the automotive market for buying. A friend bought a CRV near the end of last November. All things considered, I may have gotten the bigger bang for the buck. I am advised that the Honda is an excellent vehicle, but in my opinion the Vue is far more comfortable to drive, especially a long distance.
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Posts: 135
    I test drove a CVT 4cyl Vue yesterday just on a whim. The overall experience can be summed up as "blah". Biggest criticisms? Incredibly overboosted steering (I thought the wheel had become was like spinning a video game wheel) and very questionable build quality. The interior design is clean but the plastics really look cheap and the unit I drove (167 miles on the odo) already had an incessant rattle somewhere up front.

    The dealer really wanted me to buy the car (pushing the limits of "no hassle" Saturn dealership policy I'd say) but I think they are desperate. They had 25 Vues on the lot and only 1 other customer in the showroom...pretty dead for a Saturday afternoon I think.

    The CR-V is tops on my list. It's just another well-positioned product from a car company that rarely misfires.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    The V6 is a better choice IMO. CVT may have some issues from what I have heard. As for the VUE over all, it's selling very well and it's crash tests and reliability are just as good as CR-V according to Consumer Reports. Some of the interior plastic bits are a bit cheap though.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    CR doesn't list the VUE's reliability as being as good as the CR-V. The VUE is too new to make an actual statement but, they predict reliability (based upon current Saturn vehicles) as average. The CR-V's reliability per CR is listed (based upon current Honda vehicles AND the earlier version of the CR-V) as above average.
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Posts: 135
    The Vue I test drove already had developed an incessant rattle somewhere in the dash or windshield area. The vehicle only had 167 miles on the odometer. I think it's a red flag when a new unit starts making noises like that. I've heard the argument "oh, you have to let the plastic break in" but I wouldn't place $20K on that bet.
  • vuefor2vuefor2 Posts: 490
    Bgabel1260 ::: Likely a fluke. Hardly any Vue owners have rattles and ours is rattle free (and trouble free) for more than a year.

    Ivci ::: Last check with CR, average reliability and top marks for crash tests. We love our Vue and the dealer service is better than Honda by a long shot. That said, we liked the CR-V also, another great choice.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    According to the CR website (last updated in March 2003), the Vue is just above average at about 8%, while the CR-V is about 32% above average. They base these findings on three years worth of data for the particular model. They need 100 surveys per year to make a reasonable ranking. If they don't get that many, they say so. Data for the whole line of cars is not taken into account.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    Personally, the service at my local Honda shop is great. Much better than the Pontiac dealers I had to use with my 86 Fiero 2M6. (6 dealers none good.)

    I was 16 and they all knew me by name. They'd lie and tell me things weren't covered under my GMPP extended warranty.

    They spilled battery acid on the side of my car and told me it was acid rain. They ruined the parking brake and told me they'd just cut the line, I didn't need it. They charged me for parts they didn't replace. They lied. And lied. And then, they lied some more.

    Of course my local Honda shop's sales force are a bunch of cretins. But, the service department is an absolute dream. It's a Penske dealer (UAG) so hopefully they get the sales part down too. I've bought 3 Honda's in the last 3 years, none of them from the dealer 5 miles from my home.

    Service is like a box of chocolates...
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    Consumer Reports does not attempt to rank new models for reliability, other than an occasional guess or prediction. The FIRST model year of Vue was 2002, and the second year is now midstream. This is known as a new model. Get the drift? In my case, I just couldn't go with the proprietary products that Honda controls on their trucks and cars, as well as eccentric designs that further make aftermarket products unavailable and/or quite expensive compared to other brands. I am no real fan of GM, but they out class the foreign brand name car dealers and service departments, as does Ford. Chrysler has been included on the good guy list, but is now tied up with Daimler in a way that may have altered that.
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Posts: 135
    Heh, heh. I think that's why Hondas are problem-free vehicles. They work closely with their suppliers to make sure third party components fit into their cars like a glove. Same thing with Toyota (and probably several others). The Japansese are "notorious" for constantly refining the build process and fixing problems early on (rather adopt the Ford end-user-tested, recall-to-fix-the-bugs mentality).
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    bgabel1260 : "I think that's why Hondas are problem-free vehicles" LOL. Tell that to my old neighbor who had to have his transmission replace in his 1 yr old Accord. Dream on.

    icvci : You are right, you never know what you will get. I hear horror stories about the service at the Honda dealer next to my office. Saturn dealers are on average better than almost any though.

    varmit : Ya, the CR-V is a bit better but in the end it's not a big difference. Buy what you like, they are both good vehicles.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    Tell that to my old neighbor who had to have his transmission replace in his 1 yr old Accord. Dream on.

    If it was a million dollar bet, which would you put your money on, a fault free Saturn or a fault free Honda? And no, you don't get any odds. The reliability studies don't lie, you're better bet would be with Honda.

    I just couldn't go with the proprietary products that Honda controls on their trucks and cars, as well as eccentric designs that further make aftermarket products unavailable and/or quite expensive compared to other brands.

    You must be kidding? Honda has one of the largest and best aftermarket followings of any brand. If you want it you can find it. And if you want it at a good price, you just have to look.

    Ya, the CR-V is a bit better but in the end it's not a big difference. Buy what you like, they are both good vehicles.

    Buy what you like is good advice. I don't see how we can determine how close they are in terms of quality yet though.
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Posts: 135
    That's probably their biggest black mark in the past decade. They paired the wrong transmission with the V6...the tranny couldn't handle all the torque and they failed at a high rate. The 1998 V6 Accords were affected the most but the problems decreased in the 1999+ models. Yes, bad for Honda but at least the problem was identifiable, unlike the phantom electrical problems that still haunt Fords and Volkswagens. <shudder>

    Toyota also had a big problem with engine sludge in some of their V6s. It seems no manufacturer is free from major error.

    So if you can't trust Honda/Toyota, who are you going to go with? I'll take my chances with these quality leaders, thank you.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    bgabel1260 : My old neighbor had a 2000 Accord. Who can you trust? Pretty much anyone these days. The difference between 1st and 10th isn't very big. Considering the $1000s you save on brands other than Toyota and Honda, it's well worth looking at most of the major name brands. Obviously Honda/Toyota have quality (but aren't even close to perfect) and their lead gets smaller every year.

    icvci : Honda has had some fairly problematic launches lately, I really wouldn't bet on any new vehicle model. You are also obviously a Honda fan, but some U.S. brands have come light years since your Fiero.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    Like my mom's Crap-tera?

    My sister-in-laws Focus?

    My Neon?

    My cousins L-Series?

    Nah, I'll still take my chances. I agree, the Fiero was uncommonly bad (Thank goodness for a 62 month unlimited mileage warranty with a one time $25 deductible!) But, my Honda's have been VERY good.

    I'd take a Honda flawed launch over a domestic debacle anyday. The worst Honda launch is 100X better than the worst domestic launch.

    I really don't want to go there though. I'm tired of defending imports. Buy what you want (Like you wouldn't anyway.) CR, J.D. Power, and Intellichoice can carry their banner. Not me, not here.
  • vuefor2vuefor2 Posts: 490
    The Vue was our first domestic and we have not been disappointed. Perfect for over a year. While I understand your mentality, the car business is not always about brands and more about individual vehicles.

    I know if I had a bad experience I would feel the same way. That said, one needs to keep an open mind in life which is why we initially popped into the Saturn dealer and tried a Vue. The $$ savings and better customer service were the deal breakers for us when it came down to CR-V vs Vue. The reliability data I've seen does not back up your comments.

    Nothing wrong with Hondas though, we have had 2.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "varmit : Ya, the CR-V is a bit better but in the end it's not a big difference. Buy what you like, they are both good vehicles." - Dindak

    Sorry, I wasn't intentionally plugging one vehicle. I was more interested in debunking an earlier comment about the VUE's reliability rating being based on the ratings of other Saturns.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    I should get one sometime. I used to be a die hard big3 guy. Little by little things changed. I never believed my friend when he said his Honda Accord and Civic were great. I asked him why he didn't support the local economy.

    Then I came across an 86 Civic CRX DX with 32,000 miles. It was garaged and in great condition. My Fiero was (had been) near death with 168,000 miles (again, thank goodness for that warranty). I put 66,000 miles on the CRX before a Porsche 911 rear ended me and totaled it. It was the most pleasant 66,000 miles I had driven since I bought the Fiero. Never saw a dealer. I was sold.

    I bought a Neon used from a family member. It looked like a good car. I'll leave it at that.

    So back to Honda it was for me.

    Anyway, I think the VUE looks neat, I'm just a little gun-shy when it comes to domestics. I did look at the Vibe when purchasing my Protege5 and would have bought one. But, there isn't a 5 speed to be found in Michigan.

    Drove to work behind a VUE today, plate read 4VUE2NV. (Insert sarcastic remark here.)
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    varmit : I know.

    icvci : Funny thing is my parents bought us an 84 Fiero when we were in high school. It was a fun car but the 4 speed manual had issues. Not too bad considering the time period. I went with a Civic in university as American cars a bit shaky but we have now had 3 GMs in a row now and none of them have been any trouble. I'm not saying GM doesn't make any bad cars / trucks any more, but I am saying they have all of ours been pretty much pain free. Our latest an 02 Alero has been perfect for it's first year. While I would look at Honda again, with the incentives offered by other makers like Nissan, GM and a couple of others, I have trouble understanding the premium one has to pay to get a Honda sometimes.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    True, used Honda vehicles carry a premium.

    I'm not sure that holds true for new ones though. I wouldn't have wanted anything more on our CR-V than what came standard and, it's a competitivly priced. Even at MSRP, I think they are a pretty good value.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    If "premium" means additional cost over the MSRP, then, yes, I would agree. That is the result of supply and demand. In some cases Honda has not been able to keep up with demand. However, many Honda models have MSRPs that are in line with the real world/discounted prices of the competition.

    Which would you rather pay? An MSRP that is a fair price for the vehicle, or a $2K discount off a vehicle that was MSRP priced $2K higher than it should have been. I see quite a few posts from people who refuse to pay MSRP based on principle and completely ignore the fact that competition is the same price even after the discounts.
  • icvciicvci Posts: 1,031
    I agree varmint, I think Honda MSRPs are set at a realistic level. Comparing trim levels on competeing vehicles usually proves this point.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Well since Saturn is a 1 price shop, everyone pays MSRP. Of course I'm talking general terms not neccesarily CR-V. Actually I think CR-V is pretty reasonable but I find the Accord and the Civic pricey compared to other makes of sedans, at least up here they are. Not only that, but most makes offer 0% and cash back where Honda is at about 5-7% for their financing. Honda has stronger sales so they haven't needed to discount much yet. I generally look for value (bang for the buck) when I buy and I see a lot of value in American cars right now. Korean cars have also come a long long way and once I get past some of the Hyundai nightmares I've seen in the past I may just take a look.
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