“We were so happy to be able to have something practically new.”

The Ride
The Driver: Karen 
Car in Question: Gray 2006 Saturn Vue
Spotted at: Old Schmidt Brewery, 7th Street West, St. Paul, MN 55102
Odometer: 63,000
Car’s Nickname: Beauty


Q: How long have you had the Vue?

A: We bought the car in 2007. It was used, but only by one owner who basically wanted to buy the next Saturn model year more quickly. So it only had like 20,000 miles when we bought it. For us, it was the newest car we’d ever had. Only one year old and very little mileage.

Q: Did you buy it in Minnesota?

A: Yes. Actually there is a funny story to how we ended up buying this car. When we lived in New York City, we owned a very old Ford Taurus. It got us from New York to Minnesota over three days. It was the most mileage that car had ever seen in that short of a period of time. And it lasted a month in the Twin Cities. We were driving and we heard the death gurgle. We knew it was going to die. We’d been threatening the car “one more big repair and you’re gone!” But we heard the death gurgle, so that night we drove to a Saturn dealership to start looking. We knew it was going to be soon.

The next night we went to a Buick dealership but didn’t like anything. So after dinner we thought let’s swing into the Honda lot. We took a wrong turn and ended up in another Saturn lot. My husband got out to talk with a salesperson, while I waited in the car with the baby. I was waiting and waiting.

Finally, I turned the car off to go into the bathroom. The car would never start again. It died in the Saturn lot. It was 9 at night and we were like what are we going to do. The salesman had the wherewithal to be like, here, let me give you a loaner car and we’ll see you tomorrow. So we proceeded to get the loaner car and were back at 8 a.m. the next day ready to test drive and buy a car. But we already knew we liked the Saturn and the Vue because we wanted something a little bit bigger with one kid and maybe another kid in the future. It just ended up that we were buying a Saturn because the gods–or maybe the car–decided to die right there.

Q: I was going to say he was a savvy salesperson, but he really would have been dense, if he missed that opportunity.

A: No, he was an excellent salesman. In fact, we ended up buying a second car from them. It was hard having lived in New York City where we didn’t need a car and then coming to the Twin Cities where having a car is a foregone conclusion. The price is the price. It’s not like somebody who has better negotiating powers gets the better price. It’s a nice feeling that you’re not going to get misused in some way, shape or form because you don’t negotiate well.

Q: Have you given the car a nickname?

A: When we first bought the car…well, no, we didn’t give the car a nickname. It doesn’t have one. The old car had a nickname. Betsy. Poor old Betsy.

Q: If you had to give it a nickname?

A: When we first bought it, we called it the Beauty because it was a beauty compared to the Beast we had.

Q: What brings you to the Schmidt Brewery neighborhood?

A: We live only a few blocks from here. It’s the neighborhood for us. It was just an affordable neighborhood that had a lot of great old houses with character. It just ended up being a neat location. In the future, we hear the brewery is going to have a rebirth of sorts and become an artists’ cooperative or something. There’s all this talk about how to redevelop the site to be more of a force in the community.

Q: What do you think your next car might be?

A: We can’t get a Saturn anymore, which is sad because we really like the Saturn brand. When we had this recent repair, I was like are we going to be able to get parts. Apparently they got all Saturn parts. I feel like we sort of have this relic of sorts with the brand gone. We’re sort of stuck because we really liked the Saturn brand. Now we don’t know. We’ll see how long the old Saturn lasts. And we’ll probably look at features like mileage and technologies to be more fuel-efficient in the future.

Q: Is there a style you might look at?

A: We probably wouldn’t do two big cars. Probably stick with something more like a four-door or standard type of car. Not another SUV. One of that type is plenty. Actually, with the kids at their ages, it’s actually harder. When they were younger, it was easier to get them in and out because you didn’t have to lift up the car seat into the Vue. But now that they’re older, I have to lift them up into their seats.

Q: Is there anything else you want to share about the Vue?

A: The only thing is noise. We knew it when we bought the car that there were complaints about wind noise. Other than that, it’s a great car. We were so happy to be able to have something practically new. We’d always had secondhand, really old, used cars like Betsy. The fact that we could get something practically new was pretty exciting. It was just the fates that we ended up at the Saturn dealership when the old car died!

Are you ready to Defend Your Ride? If so, email localautos@cbs.com with “Defend Your Ride MN” in the subject line for submission details.

Photos and interview by Marla Geary