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Where Did These SUV's Come From?

My wife saw an SUV at a local car lot and fell in love with it at first sight. It was a 2008 Saturn Vue RX and was fully loaded. I met her there and we gave it a long test drive. I began to love it as well. They had a big price tag on it but since I knew the owner…we knew that price would never work. I talked to him in his office (my wife does not do well in car deals) and reached a suitable deal with him. I checked with my wife and the deal was done.

Shortly after we bought the car…we began to notice other brands that looked exactly the same. A friend of mine had a Cadillac SRX that was a clone of the Saturn. We saw several other “clones” as well. They included a Buick, a Chevy and GM. I was worried that a Saturn, since the brand was discontinued, might be an orphan with no parts available.

Her car has leather seats which are very comfortable and the AWD makes me feel better for her safety. She loves the car and let’s just say I’m a huge fan. The only things that I don’t like is the heated seats which will come on even if it’s 80 degrees outside and the dismal gas mileage around town. The heated seat switches are right near the area where you open the center console and where your hand goes while buckling the seat belts. If you bump the little rocker switch…the heaters come on instantly.That fuse or breaker is leaving as soon as I can find it’s location.

Now the question. I guess it’s my age but I have never seen these SUV’s before or even heard about them. Now that my wife owns one…I see them everywhere. Is it just me or have others experienced the same thing? Just wanting to know for my own peace of mind and my curiosity as well. Thanks in advance for any and all comments

Car styling tends to be very copycat. One manufacturer comes out with a new design, and the others tend to come out with similar.

But SUVs have been around for a long time. Some get better mileage than others. I have a Forester and get 30-35 MPG on the highway.

Warn your wife that AWD does not guarantee a safer car, just the opposite. AWD does not improve handling or braking, it just is useful to avoid getting stuck in the snow. Drivers tend to think the AWD means they can drive faster in bad conditions, which leads to more accidents.

Another example of GM’s “badge engineering”. One basic platform is used to execute different brands with varying degrees of luxury.

A Cadillac Escalade is basically a souped up GM Suburban at nearly twice the price.

Thanks Bill. We are aware of that fact. I have preached safety to my friends and family that own 4WD vehicles. Most of them listened but some did not. AWD and 4WD vehicles are great for getting started but don’t do much while traveling down the road.

I agree Docnick. My friend paid much more for his SRX and the Vue RX is the same car. It could be a Cadillac with a few badge changes. He covets the new Michelin tires that my wife got with the deal. They were nearly $1,000 with mounting and balancing.

The Chevy version was produced for a few extra years, sold only to car rental companies.

I see the Chevy version everywhere. The car rental companies must have sold a lot of them.

Actually, it’s quite common to start taking notice of a vehicle that you’ve never really thought of once ownership begins. It’s not applicable just to Saturn Vues either.

The same thing happened many years ago when I bought a Subaru wagon. The wife loved it but after a few weeks started wondering why there was one on every corner.
They were there before; you just never paid attention to them.

One Saturn car I would like to own is the Saturn Sky,. It is a two passenger sports roadster,. GM also marketed a version of the Sky under the Pontiac nameplate and called the car Solstice. For me, the Sky is better looking than the Solstice. There was also a Saturn minivan that was a rebadged Chevrolet Uplander. I owned an Uplander, but I liked the looks of the Saturn better. For me, the Saturn trim is much more appealing than the equivalent models under the different GM nameplates,. The Vue is no exception,

It’s called “Badge Engineering” and GM (and other companies) have been doing it for decades. Ford’s panther platform is good example. The Ford Crown Vic, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town car are all mechanically the same for the most part.

The Vue was the mechanically similar to the Chevy Equinox , GMC Terrain, and the somewhat rare Pontiac Torrent. They all used GM’s Theta platform. The 1st gen Caddy SRX was built on the same platform as STS and CTS. but the 2nd gen SRX was built on an upgraded Theta platform.

In a perverse sort of way, rebadging really helped the consumer in the used car market. A Mercury as a rebadged Ford often commanded a,lowed price than the sister Ford model in equivalent condition. The really good used car buys in the early 1960s were the 1959 and 1960 Edsels–they were Ford Fairlanes under the skin but could be purchased used for half the price.

missileman: It has long been my theory that the major advantage of 4WD is the ability to get stuck in the most inaccessible places.

I agree with Triedaq about the Sky. There was one in the mall parking lot one weekend and I must have spent 5 minutes eyeballing that thing. A good looking car and I agree that it is better looking than the Solstice.

I’ll ad another vote for the Saturn Sky. The suspension tuning isn’t as “flinty” as the Pontiac Solstice. More relaxed, a better car to live with plus it just looks better with the sharp character lines in the body.

As OK4450 says. . . it’s all in your mind . . really . . standard human nature that you now take notice of all the similars strictly BECAUSE it’s now front and center in your mind.
THIS is exactly how map reading is designed. They play on the mind’s tendency to notice one primary color.

Badge engineering helps the new car market by keeping new car prices low, and of course, that is why they do it. Even expensive cars do it. The VW Phaeton and Bentley Continental use the same platform. As odd as it sounds, I think VW did it to save money on the Phaeton.

No trouble finding parts for my daughters 2002 saturn, I doubt you will have any issues.

Beyond that “badge engineering” thing, there’s human nature. Every time I buy a new car, often a new model of a totally new design, I begin to see them everywhere. It seems like every third house within a five mile radius suddenly has one.

We tend to “fix” the image of our new pride & joy in our minds and recognize it far more readily than any other vehicle. It isn’t that the number of them has changed, we just notice them far more readily. I’m sure the psych pros must have a term for it, but nomatter. It may even be the reason that so many people, myself included, do something obvious to their car to “individualize” it. It might be a unique spoiler (guilty as charged), window stickers (military - guilty as charged), or even a vanity plate (um… guilty once again). Aftermarket wheels are another common way - done that, too… in my case slotted mags with wide low-profile (for the era) tires.

Don’t let it spoil the fun; individualize!!

The Saturn Vue that you have is actually the clone. When the Vue first came out, it was a unique vehicle but the second generation Vue was a re-badged generic GM mid sized SUV.

Thanks keith. I will pass this information along to my wife.