Minivan; Built in USA
  • 4-door van
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $5,300 – $10,000*


2006 Saturn Relay


2006 Saturn Relay


2006 Saturn Relay

Pros:
  • Available All-wheel drive
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Quietness

The lack of curtain side airbags is a big minus for safety-conscious buyers, and the rear seating rows and cargo area aren’t as convenient or as roomy as those in minivans from Chrysler, Honda, or Toyota. However, Relay’s comfortable ride, standard DVD entertainment, and available AWD make it worth a look.

Overview

The Saturn division of General Motors got its first minivan for 2005. Relay shared its basic design with the 2005 Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander, and Pontiac Montana SV6. All basically added an SUV-style nose to the 1997-2004 GM minivan design to create what GM dubbed the “crossover sport van.” Relay came in trim levels labeled 2 and 3. There was one body length and seats for seven via folding/removable 2nd-row bucket seats and a 50/50 fold-flat 3rd-row bench. Power sliding side doors were available. Relay used a 200-hp V6 and 4-speed automatic transmission, and came with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Available on front-drive models was traction control and GM’s Stabilitrak antiskid system. Antilock 4 wheel disc brakes, 17-inch wheels, and OnStar assistance were standard. Front side airbags were available, but curtain side airbags weren’t offered. Also standard were a CD/MP3 player, DVD entertainment, and a roof-rail system with optional snap-on storage modules. Rear heating/air conditioning was optional on 2, standard on 3. Optional on both were satellite radio and a remote starting system that operated from the keyfob.

Yearly Updates

2006 Relay
Traction/antiskid control became standard on front-drive models, and front side airbags became standard on Relay 3s. Newly available on all models were 2nd-row head and torso side airbags and a PhatNoise mobile digital-media player. Newly optional only on Relay 3 were a navigation system, and, for front-drive versions, a 235-hp V6.
2007 Relay
Saturn’s minivans get a new base model and a more-powerful engine for 2007. Relay is not available with all-wheel drive or a load-leveling suspension for 2007. Relay “2” and “3” trims are joined for ’07 by the price-leader “1”. A 240-hp 3.9-liter V6 engine replaces a 201-hp 3.5 V6 as the only engine.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

A 3.5-liter 200-hp V6 engine with 220 lb-ft of torque was offered with a 4-speed automatic transmission. For 2006, the 3.5-liter V6 was rated at 201 hp and 216 lb-ft of torque. Newly optional on the front-drive Relay 3 was a 3.9-liter V6 with 235 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque. Both engines came only with a 4-speed automatic transmission. For 2007, a 240-hp 3.9-liter V6 engine replaces a 201-hp 3.5 V6 as the only engine.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 200-1
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 216-220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/25

19.8

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.9/237
Engine HP 235-240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 239
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/25

19.4

Road Test

GM quoted 10.5 sec 0-60 for front-drive models, 11.2 for AWD versions. However, Relay feels livelier than those numbers suggest and compares well with most rivals. The AWD’s extra weight is felt more from a stop than during passing or merging, where power is adequate in most instances. Our test front-drive 3 averaged 19.8 mpg in mixed driving. Tests of a similar Buick Terraza AWD version yielded 19.4 mpg in mostly highway driving. Whether front- or all-wheel drive, Relays easily absorb most bumps and provide a comfortable highway ride. Relays with the optional load-leveling rear suspension feel a bit more stable at highway speeds and are better able to handle heavy loads. Handling is midpack among minivans, and though there’s marked body lean in turns, Relay doesn’t feel tippy. Steering is somewhat vague at highway speeds, but braking is controlled and progressive. AWD is a boon in slippery conditions, where front-drive models benefit from the available traction control. Side mirrors generate noticeable wind noise at highway speed, but the engine is well muffled. Tire noise is impressively low up front, but more prominent in back where kids might have a hard time hearing front passengers.

Inside, there’s an unobstructed view of the gauges, and all controls are legible and easily accessible. Dashboard materials and switches have an upscale flair, but some trays and drawers are made of budget-grade plastic. Standard DVD entertainment is a plus for families. A low step-in makes climbing aboard a simple matter. Front head and leg room are generous, and the driver enjoys fine outward visibility aided by large mirrors. There’s also good 2nd- and 3rd-row head and leg room, though the narrow space between the 2nd-row buckets makes access to the 3rd row more difficult than in some competitors. Standard 2nd-row seats fold farther out of the way than the available leather buckets, but returning the driver-side seat to an upright position requires an awkward reach over the seatback. Third row seats are set too close to the floor for best adult comfort, but they’re fine for kids. Though the 2nd-row bucket seats don’t fold into floor, they’re light enough for easy removal. The 3rd-row seat doesn’t disappear into floor either, but folds level with a cargo-area convenience tray that stands about 4 inches above the floor. The available rear cargo organizer is handy for groceries and other items, but GM’s minivans don’t have as much storage space behind the 3rd-row seat as those rivals that have a well.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Saturn Relay AWD 3

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 9
90%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 56

Specifications

4-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
121.1 204.9 72.0 72.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
136.5 25.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 38.9 39.9 38.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Saturn Relay built prior to Feb. 9, 2005 4-door van

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Engine noise
Description: A whistling noise from the 3.5L engine during acceleration is corrected by replacing the PCV tube. (2005)
Engine stalling
Description: The engine may not start or may stall because the tank is empty yet the gauge shows fuel remaining; or the fuel gauge will not show full after refilling due to sulfur corrosion of the fuel level sender. If after treating with Fuel System Cleaner PLUS the problem remains, the sender may need to be replaced. (2005-06)
Engine stalling
Description: The engine may not start, may start then quit, and/or assorted warning lights may glow because the wiring connector under the driver seat may get wet and the contacts corrode. (2005-06)
Horn
Description: The horn may require extra pressure on some spots of the steering wheel pad, and softer springs are available to retrofit. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: On vehicles equipped with OnStar the global positioning system may lose precision (get off track) and may be caused by window tinting, or, if the antenna is in the rear parcel shelf, by things placed on the shelf. (2005)
Electrical problem
Description: The PCM was being replaced for a defective chip under a voluntary emissions recall because it affected the fuel pump and EGR system. (2005)
Electrical problem
Description: If the OnStar system quits or won’t come one (no power), but comes back to life if the fuse is removed for five minutes, the vehicle communications interface module must be replaced or else the problem will recur. (2005-06)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on due to failure of the EGR valve. The Delphi valve is to be replaced with a Seimens valve kit and have the PCM flashed. (2005-06)

Recall History

2005 Relay
Description: In a side impact, the outboard release handle on the impact-side 2nd-row bucket seat may be activated, allowing the front and rear seat latches to unlatch. This could increase the risk of injury to occupants. The dealer will remove the seat latch release handle and install a protective cap.
2005 Relay
Description: The parking brake may fail to fully release, causing a noise and the possibility that the parking brake will not keep the vehicle from rolling when next applied, which could result in a crash. The dealer will inspect the rear calipers for parking-brake lever slippage and if necessary, replace the affected calipers.
2006 Relay
Description: Some vehicles were shipped with tire and loading information labels listing an inaccurate vehicle weight capacity. A misprinted label could lead to improper vehicle loading specifications or tire inflation, which could result in tire failure, increasing the risk of a crash. Owners will be provided with corrected labels and installation instructions, or can have the dealer install them.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.