Naming your car brand after the planet Saturn means that its products better run rings around the competition. The Honda engine in today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Vue Red Line may make that possible, but does its price mean the seller can kiss Uranus?
(Now, a note to all, I'm traveling much of this week, so we're going to have a truncated version of NPOCP today and tomorrow- ones that were written earlier this week. It's sort of like watching SNL on the West Coast! As such, we won't be starting out with a recap of the previous day's contest, you'll just have to revisit that post to see if your opinion was in the majority. Next week we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming. — GR)
Okay, with that out of the way, who wants to get excited about a Saturn Vue? Anyone? Oh come on now, this 2005 Vue happens to be a Red Line edition, and you know what that means don't you? That's right, it means we're waiting for the VTEC to kick in, YO!
That's because the Red Line is powered by Honda's 250-bhp J35A V6, which GM anointed the L66. Here it has a cast iron crank rather than a forged steel one, but still, VTEC! You see, Honda cut a deal with GM back in the late nineties which resulted in the Japanese maker shipping a butt-load of the J-series to America in exchange for
the safe return of the jade koi Polish Isuzu diesel motors. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but we haven't time for that, after all look at the Vue!
This particular Vue is pretty easy on the eyes in its swanky coat of ebony and Red Line exclusive ground effects. In addition to the Honda mill and 5-speed auto box, the Red Line also received lowered and tightened suspension, 18" alloy wheels, shiny chrome on its exhaust tip, and unique badging. Inside, the Red Line received black on white gauge faces, special seating surfaces and other niceties.
This one rocks 120,000 miles and body panel gaps you could birth a baby through. That's a function of the brand-iconic plastic body panels, which were notable for being able to withstand runaway shopping carts, charging pitbulls, and that ol' demon rust. Overall, the styling has held up well, especially here, where the Vue is monochromatic.
The Vue's interior was also so heavy in plastics that you might have assumed it partied with Ben Braddock. The year following saw a significant upgrade in the quality of the Vue's interior materials, but for 2005 - and this one - it's kind of a K-mart place to be. Still, it all looks to be in fine shape for what it is.
Now I know that the Vue is probably not on your radar, but these Red Line editions of the first generation really should be. They're roomy, they have Honda quality and performance under the hood - zero to sixty in under 7 - and they don't look half bad. This one particularly looks to be in pretty good shape, and the ad doesn't disclose any large-scale dangling boogers that may be a major turn off in the automotive relationship department.
But is it worth six large? That's what we're about to find out as you step into the booth and pull the lever. Which will it be, a Nice Price for that six grand asking? Or, Crack Pipe because that's just to much for a Saturn Vue, no matter how much Honda it's got in it?
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