2006 Saturn Relay review and pictures

Posted on Monday, 21 August 2006 , 16:08:48 byEmil

Filed under SaturnSUV

Saturn Relay

For 2006, Saturn adds more power and safety features to its SUV-inspired, seven-passenger Relay. The Relay is an important product in Saturn?s current portfolio offering vehicles that fill the needs of diverse customers.

The Relay lineup continues in 2006 with front-wheel drive passenger models available in Relay 2 and Relay 3 trim lines, as well as the Relay 3 all-wheel drive passenger van.

The Relay maintains several safety and security enhancements for 2006, including optional second-row side-impact air bags (first-row side air bags are standard on the Relay 3, available on the Relay 2). GM?s Passenger Sensing System, which helps reduce the risk of air bag inflation injury to smaller front-seat passengers, also is standard, as is the OnStar safety and security system.

Customers can choose a more powerful all-new 3.9L V-6 on the Relay 3 FWD later in the year, delivering 235 horsepower (175 kw) and 239 lb.-ft. (324 Nm) of torque.* The standard engine is the 3.5L V-6, which is rated at 201 horsepower (150 kw) and 216 lb.-ft. (293 Nm) of torque (FWD). Both are coupled to GM?s proven Hydra-Matic 4T65-E electronically controlled automatic overdrive transaxle.

A power-sliding driver-side door and Ultrasonic Park Assist are available on the Relay 3 as part of a new Convenience Package. A power-sliding passenger-side door is now standard on the Relay 3.

SUV looks with van convenience

While its exterior is sporty and SUV-like, Relay provides the functionality and convenience that mid-van customers need and appreciate: passenger and cargo-carrying flexibility, a high degree of safety, fuel economy, low step-in height, and excellent ride and handling. Its 50/50 split third-row bench seat can be folded to create a level load floor when combined with an available rear storage bin.

The interior also features a front overhead console and a standard overhead rail system. The rail system integrates the rear HVAC and audio controls, lighting and rear-seat entertainment system/DVD into a single unit. Its snap-in storage and accessory modules provide more functional, flexible storage.

Each of the available three storage modules is about 12 inches (305 mm) wide and 9 inches to 10 inches (229 mm to 254 mm) deep, with doors that flip open. These allow customers to snap in any variety of specially designed inserts, for items such as CDs, DVDs, sunglasses, cell phones, PDAs or a first-aid kit.

The Relay also offers a rear storage system. With its doors closed, the box-like cargo system?s height lines up with that of the folded third-row seat, providing a level load floor for carrying items behind the second row. The cargo system?s doors line up with the dividing line on the split/folding third-row seat, allowing users to create a flat load floor for carrying long objects on one side while permitting passengers to sit on the other side. Second-row bucket seats can be folded and tumbled up against the front seats for increased storage, and an available toy box can be installed between them (Relay 2). Captain?s chairs, standard on Relay 3, fold flat to permit long objects such as building supplies, ladders, etc.

Plenty of entertainment choices, including PhatNoise

The Relay is distinguished by its wide choice of passenger entertainment systems including a standard DVD rear-passenger entertainment system with rear-seat audio controls and auxiliary audio/video jacks, and optional Mobile Digital Media Powered by PhatNoise.

The available Mobile Digital Media Powered by PhatNoise system utilizes a pocket-sized, 40-gigabyte hard drive cartridge that installs in the Relay?s overhead rail system. The system?s capabilities include:

* Storing and playing back up to 10,000 songs in MP3, WMA or WAV formats.
* Storing and playing up to 40 typical movies in MPEG 4 format.
* Storing and playing a combination of songs and movies.
* The ability to provide the software for playing classic video games.
* The ability to provide a voice-browsing interface ? if the driver wants to listen to music, the system tells him or her over the radio speakers the song?s name, allowing the driver to run through a list of stored music using radio or steering wheel buttons.
* Listening to audio books, magazine or newspaper articles transferred from a PC or downloaded from the Internet.
* Allowing simultaneous listening to two entertainment sources.

The PhatNoise system?s hard drive cartridge is easily removable, so it can be connected to a home PC or laptop to download computer files for playback in the Relay, giving passengers an unprecedented level of entertainment customization.

A six-disc, in-dash CD/MP3 player and XM Satellite Radio (continental U.S. only) are optional on all trim levels. The Relay 3 also comes standard with dual wireless headphones.

XM Satellite Radio provides more than 120 coast-to-coast, digital-quality channels of original commercial-free music and premier news, sports and talk as well as advanced traffic and weather information for select major metropolitan areas nationwide. Consumers can subscribe to the basic service for $12.99 a month. In addition, GM customers with GMAC financing can choose to include the XM subscription in their car payments.

Safety before, during and after a crash

From its inception, Saturn has been committed to the idea that safety isn?t just for customers who can afford a luxury vehicle. The Relay continues this tradition by providing continuous safety before, during and after a crash.

Crash avoidance was a priority in the design of the Relay. Large, four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes are standard. On FWD models, GM?s sophisticated StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is optional. Traction control is standard on Relay 3 FWD models.

StabiliTrak helps improve stability and control. It?s particularly beneficial on slick road surfaces or during emergency maneuvers. Sensors detect the direction the driver is steering by ?reading? the steering wheel position and the vehicle?s response to steering wheel input. When the system determines that the vehicle is not responding adequately to steering commands, it works to help bring it on course by automatically reducing engine torque and applying precise amounts of pressure to front right or left brakes. These automatic brake and engine interventions help realign the vehicle?s actual path with that being steered by the driver.

The optional Versatrak all-wheel drive system is one of the most advanced approaches to all-wheel drive. If one or both front wheels lose grip, the Versatrak system automatically transfers torque from front to rear wheels and from side to side between the rear wheels ? an ability not found in many competitive systems.

The Relay also was designed with crashworthiness and occupant protection in mind. It has achieved a five-star government safety rating for frontal crashes and a five-star rating for rear occupants in the government side-impact test, as well as a four-star rating for front-seat occupants. The Relay also earned the top ?Good? rating for 40-mph frontal offset crash performance from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Relay features structural enhancements to create a crush zone that helps preserve occupant space while absorbing energy. Cross-rail reinforcements enhance stiffness and bolster crash protection.

Also new for ?06, seat-mounted side-impact air bags in the second row captain?s chairs help provide head and torso protection for second-row occupants. First-row side-impact air bags are already standard on Relay 3 and available on Relay 2; second-row air bags are available on both Relay 2 and Relay 3.

Standard, frontal dual-stage air bags for both driver and front passenger are designed to help reduce the risk of air bag-induced injury. When the air bag system?s control unit detects an impact, it determines whether the crash is severe enough to trigger a deployment, and whether the primary amount of inflation is sufficient. The primary stage alone will deploy in most front impacts requiring the supplemental protection of an air bag, while a secondary stage is designed to deploy in more severe frontal collisions.

In addition, the Relay has GM?s Passenger Sensing System (PSS) for 2006. If the sensor system detects an unoccupied front passenger seat or the presence of a smaller occupant, the front passenger air bag is designed to automatically turn off so it would not deploy in the event of a frontal collision. (Even with this system, GM strongly recommends restraining child passengers in an appropriate child seat placed in the second or third row of the vehicle. Never install a rear-facing infant seat in front of an active air bag. GM also recommends that all children age 12 and under ride in the rear seat when possible.)

Safety belts remain the primary occupant restraint device, and all seven seating positions in the Relay have three-point safety belts. Retractors for front seating positions have built-in load limiters that allow a controlled amount of give in the belt, thereby reducing the peak load on the chest during a crash.

The Relay also has pretensioners in the front safety belt system that deploy at the same time as the frontal air bags to take up slack in the safety belt webbing. Pretensioners also help reduce the amount of occupant movement in the event of a crash to help reduce the risk of injury.

The Relay is equipped with the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system in all second-row seating positions. This system provides two lower anchors and a top tether anchor to be used to secure a child seat to the vehicle seat structure. A top tether is also provided in the center position of the third-row. These anchorages are designed to make it easier to properly install compatible child safety seats.

For post-crash assistance and other safety and security needs, OnStar is a segment exclusive and is standard in all Relay models. The Relay features OnStar Dual-mode (analog-digital) equipment. OnStar?s digital equipment also includes enhanced hands-free voice recognition capabilities including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada . Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and OnStar Hands-Free Calling that allows drivers to make and receive voice-activated phone calls using an externally mounted antenna for greater reception.

The OnStar service standard on the 2006 Relay includes the General Motors Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) system, making crash data available to participating 911 centers to help them dispatch the appropriate life-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes faster.

Responsive performance

The 2006 Relay provides more power and control needed to meet the demands of family utility vehicle customers, thanks to GM?s new 3.9L V-6 engine, available later in the year on the Relay 3 FWD. This sophisticated engine delivers 235 horsepower (175 kw) and 239 lb.-ft. (324 Nm) of torque,* using variable valve timing and variable active intake technology to ensure optimal performance and economy. This new, larger-displacement engine also provides more usable power across the rpm range, with 90 percent of torque available from 1,800 rpm to 5,800 rpm.

The vehicle?s standard engine is the 3500 3.5L V-6, rated at 201 horsepower (150 kw) and 216 lb.-ft. of torque (293 Nm) in FWD applications.

Both engines are mated to the Hydra-Matic 4T65-E four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, which provides smooth, seamless shifts. Electronic safeguards built into the transmission help ensure trouble-free performance.

When properly equipped, the Relay can tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg) including such items as a 20-foot (6.1-m) boat and trailer or a pop-up camper. The Trailering Provisions package includes a 125-amp alternator, engine oil cooler, a heavy-duty engine cooling system and trailer wiring harness.

Interior refinements

The Relay?s interior styling is refined and upscale, with close attention paid to fit and finish. The interior includes a sporty three-spoke steering wheel, with ebony rim and center trim matching the upper part of the instrument panel and the upper door trim. Relay 3 models have a leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls.

The Relay uses a light maple color wood grain for its radio and HVAC trim plate and on the door switch plates. Relay interiors are available in an ebony upper / medium gray lower color combination and an ebony upper / medium cashmere lower combination.

Seats on Relay 2 feature cloth inserts with bolsters made of protein vinyl that provides leather-like look, feel and wear. The protein vinyl also is used for door trim. Leather-appointed seats are optional with the Relay 3.

Standard features on Relay 2 include power heated outside mirrors; power windows and locks; remote keyless entry; front passenger visor vanity mirror; and an overhead rail system for accessory storage modules. The Relay 3 adds body-color door handles; a six-way power driver?s seat; rear HVAC; and a Preferred Package that includes the rear cargo-area storage module, floor mats, power rear quarter windows, illuminated visor vanity and a theft-deterrent system.

Taking comfort to a higher level, the Relay offers an optional factory-installed remote vehicle starter system, allowing the driver to get a head start on heating or cooling the car?s interior from a range of about 196 feet (60 m). The remote vehicle starter system is activated from the remote key fob by first pressing the ?lock? button, then pressing and holding the remote start button for 1.5 seconds. This two-step process helps prevent inadvertent activation, locks the car and engages the anti-theft system.

A universal home remote feature, standard on Relay 3, allows drivers to program home devices such as lights and garage doors for added convenience and security.

Clean, SUV-like styling

The Relay?s exterior combines clean and contemporary design with a sturdy, SUV-like stance.

Wide, prominent, exposed C-pillars ? an SUV styling cue ? reinforce the Relay?s strong yet refined look. Standard 17-inch, six-lug wheels and wide tires also contribute to a robust, aggressive SUV-like stance.

The optional exterior brushed aluminum roof rails complete the picture. These uniquely designed rails are tubular-shaped with a satin finish, which help give the vehicle a rugged, purposeful stance.

The Relay 2 features standard steel wheels with a composite center bolt-on disc, a six-spoke design and the Saturn emblem in the middle. The uplevel Relay 3 has six-spoke bright silver painted aluminum wheels that feature Saturn?s emblem.

Two new colors, Black Cherry and Bronzed Pewter, replace the current Berry Red and Bronze Mist.