Should You Take the 2005 Saturn Vue Off Road?

The 2005 Saturn Vue can go off-road thanks to its impressive ground clearance and more. Learn more here.
Written by Rob Shapiro
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
2005 Saturn Vue
has 8.0 inches of ground clearance and enough horsepower and torque to go off-roading. There are a few limitations, though, that drivers should be aware of. 
If you enjoy leaving paved roads behind and kicking up dirt on rough terrain, you need a vehicle that can handle every bump and hill. Off-road vehicles are not all built the same. Some can handle only minor trails and others can handle everything you come across.  
, the
super app
that saves drivers money on
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, will help you confirm whether your 2005 Saturn Vue can go off-road or if it’s best relegated to your work commutes. Learn what traits a car needs to be a true off-road beast, like ground clearance and all-wheel drive, and explore some alternatives if you’re worried that your 2005 Vue isn’t enough for your weekend adventures. 

Can the 2005 Saturn Vue go off road?

Yes, the 2005 Vue checks enough boxes to safely traverse more unpaved roads. That said, you need to acknowledge its limitations so that you don’t damage it or get stranded in a forest. All in all, this compact SUV has many of the characteristics and features that appeal to both casual and passionate adventure drivers.   
Being reasonably priced at $17,055 also made the Vue a popular choice for off-roading enthusiasts. Furthermore, the Vue delivered functionality, comfort (which is more important than many realize),and the appropriate level of safety. 
Driving on any natural terrain is rough, bumpy, and unpredictable. You need a vehicle that can handle off-roading without breaking down or getting damaged. Let’s take a closer look at the 2005 Saturn Vue’s key specs
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Ground clearance

Ground clearance is the first thing you should look at when sussing out whether a vehicle is good for off-roading. The 2005 Saturn Vue’s minimum ground clearance is a solid 8.0 inches. This can make up for some of its other off-roading limitations.
Ideal ground clearance for off-roading is between 8.8 and 10.8 inches. You need to remember that the higher a vehicle's minimum clearance, the less likely that its undercarriage will be damaged during an off-roading expedition. You don’t want to risk off-roading with a vehicle with a low ground clearance as an undercarriage is very expensive to repair
If you’re searching for maximum ground clearance, check out the 2021
Jeep Wrangler
, which has an amazing9.7 inchesof minimum clearance. The 2005 Vue comes pretty close, and should be able to tackle many of the same natural environments as the Wrangler


Succesful off-roading requires a good amount of low-end torque. Remember that turning power is more important than straight-up speed. Low-end torque makes your off-roading excursion more manageable and ensures that you can handle most of what your driving adventure throws at you
The 2005 Saturn Vue has a torque of 152 @ 4000. This, in addition to its ground clearance, should help it power through most paths and trails.


P205/55VR16 tires were standard for the 2005 Saturn Vue. For tires, you should always confirm that you have the right tires before your first excursion.If not, it’s smart to upgrade your tires
If you off-road drive with the same car that you use for the rest of your life, you should invest in
all-terrain tires
. Keep in mind that all-terrain tires do not last as long as all-season tires. You’ll have to replace them more often but they offer a more aggressive tread pattern and a more open design for better traction and steadiness. 


All-wheel drive is a must for adventure driving. Unfortunately, the 2005 Saturn Vue has front-wheel drive. To many, this is the biggest element holding this SUV back from being a true off-roading dynamo.  


Never overlook the approach angle and departure angle when gauging the validity of an off-roading vehicle.
These are defined as:
  • The maximum angle at which the vehicle can go up terrain without interference is the approach angle. 
  • Themaximum angle at which the vehicle can go down terrain without interference is the departure angle
The 2005 Saturn Vue’s approach angle is 23° and its departure angle is 27°. Whether this is enough depends on where you usually off-road, but, by most accounts, it should be enough for the average adventure driver. 

Off-road rating: Rough and ready

The DIRT rating system is commonly used to evaluate the level of off-roading a vehicle can do or if it’s best suited to remain on concrete:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
The 2005 Vue gets an R. It has the necessary ground clearance, but the lack of all-wheel drive is a limitation that will prevent it from tackling every rough terrain. 

The best off-road alternatives to the 2005 Saturn Vue

If the 2005 Saturn Vue is enough to meet your off-roading needs then great! If you want something more affordable or environmentally-friendly, then we have some suggestions. 
Check out these three alternatives to the 2005 Saturn Vue:
Best affordable alternative
2002 Chevrolet Cavalier
A well-respected rugged vehicle that can handle more terrains and is a few thousand bucks cheaper than the 2005 Vue.
Best eco-friendly alternative
2006 Pontiac G6
The G6 is more efficient than the 2005 Vue and gets better MPG.
Best alternative for serious off-roading
2007 Chevrolet HHR
Despite less ground clearance, the Chevy HHR has more features that make it a better overall off-roading vehicle.
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How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

It might not be a big shocker, but insurance companies don’t love risky driving hobbies like off-roading. If you spend your weekends going up hills and over large bumps, your car insurance will cost more. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t still save money on your coverage.
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