Interior Design: *** The Vue's interior comes across as much more upscale than its price would suggest. Soft-touch plastics and brushed aluminum trim abound. Everything has a solid, quality feel to it. Two significant problems remain: First, the trim piece on the lower half of the steering wheel has a raised ridge that cuts into the hand; while this is a small detail, it makes a huge difference while driving, as any attempt to hold the wheel from the bottom is met with discomfort and potential blood loss. Second, the sloped-in rear roofline cuts significantly into rear cargo room.
Acceleration: *** You aren't going to win any drag races in the Vue Hybrid, but when the electric assist kicks in, the Vue Hybrid does just fine for normal driving conditions. Even accelerating onto the freeway was without drama; keep your expectations in line with the type of vehicle you're driving, and you'll find the Vue's power perfectly acceptable. Braking: *** Braking action in the Vue Hybrid is superb...to the point of irritation. The regenerative charging action, which uses engine braking to recharge the batteries in this case, was powerful enough to pitch passengers forward slightly, even with a minor application of the pedal. Ride: ** Not surprisingly, the Vue Hybrid makes tradeoffs between ride and handling and fuel efficiency. With low-rolling-resistance tires inflated in the upper 30 PSI range, the ride is harsh and noisy. The Vue follows every undulation in the road, requiring constant steering wheel correction at highway speeds. It's by no means sports-car firm, but it's not smooth and comfortable either. At least all that road noise will constantly remind you of how much you're helping the environment. Handling: * Without question, the Saturn Vue Hybrid has the worst steering of any current production vehicle I've ever driven. Not just numb and overassisted, but the electric rack-and-pinion seems to make up ratios as it goes along, particularly in low speed parking maneuvers. More than once I overshot a parking space, and even my driveway, because the Vue just didn't do what was expected. Also, the high-pressure low-resistance tires provide very little grip, and I was able to make all four tires howl in protest during a gradual turn onto a freeway on-ramp...at 25 MPH. Gearbox: **** The Vue's autobox did its job without complaint and, more importantly, without intrusion. It's just a four-speed automatic, so there wasn't a whole lot of technology to cause problems here. The shifts were perfectly matched to the hybrid's characteristics. Audio: *** The Vue Hybrid comes with GM's standard-issue audio system, which with an easy-to-use interface, is actually quite good. Everything you need is present: