click above image to view gallery of the 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line
The second generation of General Motors' original hybrid SUV has arrived, and it's still the cheapest hybrid SUV on the market, but just barely. The $24,795 price slides under the Ford Escape Hybrid by only $280. The new mild hybrid Vue Green Line being introduced this fall is the first of a trio of hybrid variants that will appear over the next two years. This time next year, a Two-Mode hybrid version will appear, followed by a plug-in version the following year.
For now though, the belt-alternator-starter (BAS) system has been optimized to yield a couple more miles per gallon. The Vue has earned a rating of 25/32 mpg city/highway under the new 2008 EPA test procedures, which is quite a feat considering most hybrids saw their fuel economy drop with the EPA's new testing procedures. Combined with a 19 gallon gas tank the Vue can cruise for 585 miles on the highway, which should be enough to outlast most bladders. For those with a more limited purchase budget, a non-hybrid 2.4L four cylinder Vue is also available now for $21,395.
Update: GM verified that the Vue hybrid is in production and they will still arriving in dealerships over the next few weeks. By Mid-November they should be widely available at all Saturn dealers.
Related Gallery2008 Saturn VUE Green Line
New Saturn Vue Green Line is fuel economy leader
* Saturn's re-designed hybrid rated at 32 mpg highway; 585 miles on one tank of fuel
* Most affordable hybrid SUV at $24,795
Detroit -- Saturn today announced that the all-new 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid will have a fuel economy rating of 25 miles per gallon in city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway -- the best highway mileage of any sport utility vehicle.
Saturn also announced that the Vue Green Line will have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $24,795, making it the most affordable hybrid SUV on the market.
"You can go green without going broke," said Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak, "and with the Vue Green Line, you also don't have to give up utility, safety or comfort."
High mileage, long range
In combined city and highway driving, the Vue hybrid's fuel economy estimate is 27 percent better than the non-hybrid four-cylinder Vue. The fuel economy estimates are calculated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, using the government's new 2008 testing procedure that was revised to better reflect real-world mileage.
The hybrid Vue's 28 mpg combined city/highway rating gives the Saturn line-up a compact utility with significantly better fuel economy than the Honda CRV (22 mpg) or Toyota RAV-4 (23 mpg). The Vue Green Line also provides SUV capability with better fuel economy than that of popular sedans, such as the Toyota Camry (25 mpg) and Honda Accord (24 mpg).
The Vue Green Line's highway fuel economy will allow the vehicle to travel up to 585 highway miles on one tank of gasoline, farther than any competitor's SUV. That is enough range to travel roundtrip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, from Washington, D.C. to New York City or from Detroit to Chicago. Potential one-way single-tank trips include Atlanta to St. Louis, Denver to Salt Lake City and Milwaukee to Kansas City.
Hybrid technology, features
The Vue Green Line's hybrid system combines sophisticated controls with a precise electric motor/generator mated to the 2.4-liter, 172-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and a modified automatic transmission. The system delivers fuel economy gains through advanced engine control algorithms including early fuel cut-off during deceleration, optimized transmission shift controls and by smoothly stopping the engine at idle. The system also features regenerative braking to capture electrical energy during braking, electric power assist during acceleration, low-rolling resistance tires and improved aerodynamics.
Several displays provide the driver with information regarding the Vue's hybrid system operation, including:
* Charge/assist gauge - Indicates when the hybrid system is providing propulsion assist or when the hybrid battery is being re-charged.
* Eco light - Illuminates when the vehicle is meeting or exceeding the federal government's fuel economy rating.
* Auto stop position on tachometer - Indicates when the engine shuts off at idle.
* Driver information center – provides instantaneous and average fuel economy information, in addition to other important vehicle data.
In addition to the hybrid system, standard features on the Vue Green Line include 17-inch polished alloy wheels, rear spoiler, painted fascias and single-zone automatic climate control.
All Vues, including the 2008 Green Line, feature a comprehensive array of standard safety equipment that includes six air bags, active front head restraints, a pedal release system for the accelerator and brake, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with trailer sway control, antilock brakes, tire pressure monitors and OnStar.
Quiet, responsive ride and handling comes from front and rear stabilizer bars, MacPherson strut independent front suspension and independent multi-link rear suspension, along with a double-isolated engine cradle.
The non-hybrid 4-cylinder 2008 Vue XE has a suggested retail price of $21,395 and a fuel economy rating of 19 city/26 highway.
In 2008, Saturn will introduce a 2-mode hybrid Vue, which will increase fuel economy by an estimated 45 percent over the comparable non-hybrid model. Saturn also has committed to producing a plug-in hybrid Vue that will get approximately twice the fuel economy of any SUV currently on the market.
Saturn, a division of General Motors Corp., markets vehicles in the U.S. and Canada through a network of about 450 retail facilities, with a focus on providing innovative products with solid value and excellent customer service. In 2006, the brand began a major revitalization of its portfolio with four new vehicles: the Sky roadster, the Aura midsize sedan, the Vue Green Line hybrid and the Outlook crossover. The aggressive pace continued this year with the launch of an all-new Vue compact crossover and the new Astra small car (Fall 2007).