Lately, I've been considering purchasing a late model, low mileage "beater" I could swipe for less than $4,000. And wouldn't you know it? I found a 2008 Saturn Vue with less than 70,000 miles for less than my theoretical budget at a local used car lot.
It has the 2.4L Ecotec and it's wrong-wheel drive instead of four-wheel drive, which means it's terrible to drive and virtually useless off-road. But despite knowing this, I still want it. Hear me out and then talk me out of it. Please. Seriously.
Now, the first-generation Saturn Vue was about as appealing as a muddy old work boot filled to the brim with rice pudding and maggots, but the second-generation model actually had a few things going for it. For starters, it wasn't terrible to look at. That's because it was actually an Opel Antara from Euroland instead of an actual Saturn.
That means the Saturn Vue is a technically a European car without the proper badging. Sure, GM did dumb it down a bit for Jerry BigMac — for some reason, they neutered the center stack so that it couldn't have sat-nav, and I think they made the suspension a tad more spongy — but it wouldn't take much to turn it back into an Opel. Mainly a few hundred bucks, an eBay account and a couple of weeks time.
There are also quite a few cheap mods for the 2.4 liter Ecotec that could boost the Vue's anemic 169 horsepower rating. Just as an example, if I could find a trashed Chevy Cobalt SS Supercharged in a local wrecking yard, I could bolt the supercharger from the Cobalt SS/SC's 2.0 LSJ onto the 2.4. and make it good for many horsepower.
I also think it wouldn't be out of the question to add maybe an inch or two of lift to the suspension to clear a meatier set of off-road wheels and tires. After all, if Jeep Patriot owners can do it, why couldn't you do it with a Saturn Vue?
Yep. I bet you can sense where I'm going with this. So here's a visualization I whipped up in Photoshop.
In the name of confounding my countrymen, I would buy that Vue, convert it back into an Opel, supercharge the 2.4 four-pot, lift the suspension and add some big ass wheels and tires. I know I'd also totally trash the transmission at some point soon after all of that, but screw it. I think it's pretty neat, in a Subaru hiking shoe sort of way.
Anyway, I'm going to go to bed now and try and sleep on this some more. If you could make me see reason, I'd gladly appreciate it.