The Saturn Relay made its automotive debut as a 2005 model, so there aren't a lot of changes for 2006. The few that have been made are noteworthy, however. To further improve occupant safety, side-impact air bags are now available for the first and second rows on specific models. To move the 4,221-pound Relay down the road at a quicker pace, a more powerful 3.9L V-6 rated at 235 hp and 239 lb.-ft. of torque is now available on select Relay 3 models. New entertainment options are available for all models, and the Relay 3 now offers a power sliding door.
The seven-passenger Relay is a bit of a departure for Saturn, being the automaker's first minivan and first model to seat more than five. Furthermore, it's not a conventional van as we've come to know them. Saturn calls it a crossover sport van because, by intent, it bears distinctive SUV design cues like its other GM counterparts-the Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac Montana SV6, and Buick Terraza. Still, it functions as a minivan with features that include a sliding door and low cabin thresholds for easy entry. The Relay also represents Saturn's first all-steel-paneled vehicle.
The Relay comes in two trim levels: Relay 2 and the up-level Relay 3. Standard power for both is the 3500 3.5L V-6, which is rated at 201 hp and 216 lb.-ft. of torque for front-wheel-drive (FWD) models and 196 hp with 213 lb.-ft. of torque for all-wheel-drive versions. An optional 3.9L with variable valve timing and active intake technology is available for FWD Relay 3 models. Both engines are married to a Hydra-Matic 4-speed, electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission.
Several entertainment packages are available for the Relay, but the most interesting is the optional Mobile Digital Media Powered by PhatNoise. This nifty system features a removable 40-gigabyte hard drive cartridge that allows customers to store hundreds of hours of music, video, and entertainment files and play them through the vehicle's existing sound system. Notable standard features include a DVD entertainment system, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with eight speakers, remote keyless entry, cruise control, OnStar communication system, StabiliTrak with Traction Control, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.
The Midsize Van segment saw several new model introductions in 2005-including the Saturn Relay and its three GM counterparts, the Buick Terraza, Chevy Uplander, and Pontiac Montana SV6-bringing the total number of competitors to 14.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Saturn Relay accounted for 15,758 of the segment's sales, ranking 12th in the group. The segment sales leader is the Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan (226,771 sales in 2005), followed by the Chrysler Town & Country (180,759), Honda Odyssey (174,275), and Toyota Sienna (161,380). Other top 10 sellers include the Ford Freestar, Chevrolet Uplander, Kia Sedona, Nissan Quest, Pontiac Montana SV6, and Buick Terraza.
|2||4 speed automatic||$22,750||201-hp / 3.5L 6-cyl||18/25|
|3||4 speed automatic||$26,750||201-hp / 3.5L 6-cyl||18/25|