• Aug 28th 2009 at 9:59AM
  • 27

Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrid - Click above for high-res image gallery

While perusing the EPA's fuel economy listings, one of our readers stumbled across a vehicle that we didn't even know had been rated. The 2-Mode Hybrid version of the Saturn Vue had initially been scheduled to go into production in November of 2008. However, as General Motors careened toward financial apocalypse, many product programs were put on hold or canceled altogether. Among those was the new hybrid Vue, which was delayed at least twice before finally being terminated altogether in late spring.

It appears that the EPA had already completed its testing regimen last fall and had officially rated the 2-Mode Vue at 27 city, 30 highway and 28 mpg combined. Compared to the existing mild-hybrid Vue, this doesn't look particularly great, since that one also had a 28 mpg combined rating (25 city and 32 highway). The mild hybrid, of course, used a four cylinder engine while the 2-Mode would have had the 3.6-liter V6, giving it much better performance and a 3,500 pound tow rating.

Saturn did pretty much hit its target of a 50-percent improvement in combined efficiency compared to the non-hybrid V6 Vue, which carries a 19 mpg combined rating. The Vue doesn't look as impressive as the Ford Escape Hybrid that's rated at 34/31 mpg, but the Ford is powered by a four cylinder and is smaller and lighter. A closer comparison might be the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which while larger is also V6 powered. The Toyota is rated at 27/25 mpg and 26 mpg combined.

We know that the Vue will never be built, but GM has promised to put the new hybrid system into other vehicles in its lineup – perhaps even with a smaller and more efficient engine to improve overall efficiency. Thanks to Mike for the tip!

[Source: EPA]
All Photos Copyright © 2008 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      What GM needs to realize before they make a hybrid is that 99% of hybring buyers want something that sips fuel and gets awesome gas milage for what it is. They dont want want a v6 cute-ute with a large towing capacity or a $55,000 large SUV, or a $50,000 pickup truck.

      If they sold this thing I can garuntee they would sell like the tahoe hybrid... I've seen one since they came out.

      GM needs to make a 2-mode hybrind cute-ute with the 2.4L (is that what it is now?) ecotec, and a malibu with the same motor and market the hell out of it. Sell them both starting around $26,000 to undercut the Fusion and Escape.

      The Volt will be waaaaay too expensive to make a difference.

      GM, pull your corporate head out of your corporate ass.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I spoke with Saturn about this vehicle some time back and told them if they would build it I would buy it. Power, space and mileage this machine has it all and is American.
      I just cannot believe the stupidity of the "new GM" in deciding over 24 hours that they would can this machine (even as a Buick). It's the future for GM. At this rate there is seriously no hope for the new GM as they appear only capable of making wrong decisions. Now I will likely have to by an import.....STUPID STUPID STUPID and STUPID. And GM if you listen to forums STUPID! Do I make myself clear?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Uhh, "...GM has promised to put the new hybrid system into other vehicles in its lineup."

        It makes no sense further investing in Saturn and Buick was not the brand for this tech to be featured on. My guess is you'll see it on the Traverse, Equinox, and/or SRX. All of which will have close to, if not more "Power, space and mileage this machine has."
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ford have no competitor in the size and power of the 3.6L dual hybrid GM machine. Neither does Mazda their CX7 and CX9s get lousy mileage compared to the GM.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i think they should take the 2 mode system with the 3.6L V6 and put make that optional in all of GMs passenger cars that are so equipped. Malibu, Camaro, CTS, new Lacrosse, that would be pretty sweet. amortize the cost of the 2- mode system and get it out there on more models than just the huge pickups and the Vue that never was
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree that they should make it available on more models to spread the cost. Unfortunately, the current system paired to the 3.6 L can only be used in FWD applications. That version isn't adapted to RWD although maybe they can use the version currently paired to the 6.0 L V8.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Shouldn't the city mileage be more than on the highway like other real hybrids?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Really? disappointing? That's a 9mpg overall increase, which is pretty good. Considering the hybrid options from GM are generally low-cost, and they finally paired it with an engine worth having (a powerful 6cyl), looks good to me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It took me a few minutes to realize that Saturn isn't GM anymore...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just a thought people:

      1) when they designed this thing, it was before the sale of Saturn was even contemplated - therefore it was also before the availability of other possible engines outside the relatively weak 2.4L Ecotec (remember, this is a 4000-plus lb vehicle). And perhaps the dynamics worked out like the hybrid Tahoe, where the larger engine (6.0L vs. 5.3L) was specified.

      2) now that they're "putting it in other vehicles" (read:Equinox), perhaps GM can team the system with the newer 2.4L DI engine, which is set to put out 200hp, rather than the anemic 164 of the regular 2.4.
      • 6 Years Ago
      dear gm,
      stop overbadging your hybdrid suvs. we know they're SUVs, and get OK gas mileage. don't turn your customers to undesired ecohippies
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is this the new Vue-ick? I mean buick hyrbrid crossover?

      Oh wait, they cancelled that. I can't see why, looks like it was destined for success, like all the other GM hybrids
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why not shove this powertrain into the SRX? Or even the Equinox?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The heck if it isn't. IMA's inability to get to any reasonable speed on battery power alone is a huge negative in my book. That on top of the fact that Honda has coupled it with miserable 4 cylinder engines that barely have enough get up and go to get out of harms way, is not my idea of a well executed system. If IMA was so well executed the Insight would be rated a lot higher than 2 MPG (combined) over that of the Fusion Hybrid, matching at least the Prius' fuel economy numbers.

        The fact that the GS starts close to 60K and the LS Hybrid starts at 106K could be part of. I mean for what it's worth M-B peddles an S400 Hybrid for a lot less, and I'd be willing to bet that it sells with NO problem at all.

        And as far as high fuel mileage? Well compared to almost everything out there (outside of the Ford Escape Hybrid) this was by far one of the most fuel efficient CUVs/SUVs on the road.

        • 6 Years Ago
        The Insight has a battery pack with less than half the capacity of the Prius and 36% the capacity of the Fusion Hybrid. So of course the mpg is not going to to be as good as the Prius or much heavier Fusion. With an equal-sized battery pack, it should perform as good as the Prius and better than the Fusion. The Civic uses a tiny battery pack as well. No one should be expecting the Insight or Civic to perform as well as a Prius.

        And yes, Honda motors usually don't have enough torque to get out of their own way. But the electric motor in IMA compensates for that lack of torque at low speeds.

        I'm not trying to say that IMA is superior to HSD or 2-mode. I'm just saying that it's not exactly inferior either. And if Honda would add a bigger battery pack, IMA will be wholly competitive, although it would lose its pricing advantage.

        And as far as high fuel mileage? You're right. If you throw out the Escape (which no one shopping for a hybrid crossover would do), the only other CUV/SUV that comes close is the Highlander Hybrid. Oh wait, that model costs about as much as what the VUE 2-mode would have, can tow just as much, gets nearly the same mpg, is bigger, AND has AWD standard. The VUE 2-mode simply would not have had any competitive advantage. Compared to the Escape and Highlander Hybrid, what did the VUE 2-mode offer to make it stand out (other than NOT offering AWD)?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Christopher: Honda has already shown that there isn't a market for performance hybrids with the dismal sales of the Accord Hybrid. Lexus hasn't exactly been lighting up the sales charts with their performance hybrids either, especially the GS450h. As much as you or the other 5 people in the world want one, that market is just too small.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Honda IMA is not poorly conceived and sells quite well in the Civic and the Insight would probably sell quite well if they hadn't cut costs so much to make it the cheapest hybrid you can buy. The Accord failed because they paired a big engine with the hybrid system and focused on performance.

        As to the Lexus GS, I never said nor implied that the GS lineup was selling like hotcakes. I just said the GS hybrid hasn't been selling well at all. Another example: the Lexus LS does sell quite well but the hybrid version makes up less than 5% of LS models sold in the U.S. Face it: when people see the word "hybrid" they assume high mpg, not power and that's why they buy them.
        • 6 Years Ago

        The Accord was horribly executed no thanks in part to Honda's ill conceived IMA system. And then you go on to cite Lexus GS hybrid sales, as if the rest of the GS lineup is selling like hotcakes.

        So sure take some of the most horribly executed and expensive examples to prove....well you don't have a point.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How is the Escape smaller then the Vue? They are very close in size

      (metric) Vue Escape

      Length (mm) 4 576 4 437
      width (mm) 1 850 2 065
      Height (mm) 1 704 1 720
      Storage (L) 1 598 1 877

      So the Escape is 139 mm shorter, but 215 mm wider and 16 mm taller, how does that make the Escape to much smaller then the Vue for a fair comparison?
        • 6 Years Ago
        KC I don't know where you got your numbers the Vue and Escape have the following dimensions for the FWD 4 cylinder models

        Vue Escape
        Length 180.1 in. 174.7 in.
        Width 72.8 in. 71.1 in.
        Height 67 in. 67.9 in.
        Weight 3689 lbs. 3355 lbs.
        Wheel Base 106.6 in. 103.1 in.

        compared these because the hybrid Vue weight is not available.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, we didn't miss a damn thing. This 2WD hybrid gets equal gas mileage to the AWD hybrid of a competitor. If they made it AWD, it would be even worse. Yes, it makes more power but people don't buy hybrids for power or towing ability. Just ask Honda how well that worked for the Accord Hybrid or Lexus about how well the GS450h is selling. People buy hybrids for fuel efficiency and the appearance of caring for the environment. And if someone wanted towing capability in a hybrid, they would look at the Highlander hybrid which would have been roughly the same price and offers equal power at just slightly less mpg but more room and standard AWD.

        If GM would have stuck a DI 4-cylinder in there in the first place, this would return better mpg, be cheaper, and would likely be compact enough for an AWD option. Which do you think looks better in marketing, class-leading mpg at a similar power level or more power at a similar mpg level? Two years ago, the answer would have been the latter, but not any more. Plus GM would appear cutting edge with the first DI engine used in a hybrid. And the compactness of using a 4-cylinder would it easier to adapt to sedans like the Malibu and Cruze to spread the development costs. I doubt you could put this V6 hybrid package in those smaller engine bays.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Are you guys idiots, or did you just missed that this has a much more powerful (and also heavy) V6? Imagine if they paired this hybrid system with the 4cyl equinox. That would kill the "hybrid escape" as the base mpg's on the 2010 4cyl equinox is already close to the escape.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hybrid buyers only care about one thing... that the damn car they are driving looks like a Hybrid. If they cared about mileage or the amount of cargo capacity they would almost every time elect to buy the VW Jetta Wagon TDI.

      Seriously, if it doesn't have the smug factor of the Prius or Insight then they wouldn't buy it in the first place.

      The only real added advantage of taking an existing platform and making it Hybrid is the ability to put a smaller engine in for fuel economy and using an electric motor to boost its acceleration and allow the engine to start and stop in idling situations. This is ideal in large urban areas but most of this country drives where you don't find the true benefits of a Hybrid in the first place.

      If Americans were smart, we'd all buy diesels!
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Hybrid buyers only care about one thing... that the damn car they are driving looks like a Hybrid."

        The argument for this, of course, is that Prius sales are so strong. But when the most "hybridish"-looking hybrid on the market is also the one with the highest MPG numbers, one of the more affordable price tags, and by far the most name recognition, it's obviously a little more complicated than that.

        Car enthusiasts see the slow sales of diesels as further proof that buyers aren't interested in mileage purely for the sake of mileage, but that's because we know these cars exist. There is virtually zero awareness of the TDI "brand" among mainstream US buyers, and VW is spending very little on marketing to change that. That's partly because the associations US buyers *do* have with diesels are overwhelmingly negative ('70s Rabbits and self-destructing Oldsmobiles).

        In other words, hybrids sell *because* of what buyers think of them; diesels sell *in spite* of what buyers think of them. IMO, that better explains the sales disparity between the two.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I mostly agree. But I would also say that if Americans were smart, they wouldn't buy SUV's; they would buy stationwagons, (except in rare cases where towing or high ground clearance is truly needed). How many conventional wagons get similar fuel economy to these hybrid SUV's with less complex powertrains and often with even more cargo volume? I can think of quite a few, Audis, Saabs, Volkswagens that fit the bill.
        • 6 Years Ago
        some people don't like diesels and most want a realiable car

        and the last time VW and reliability came in my head, is when the latter was preceeded with NOT
      • 6 Years Ago
      yes but you only get those ratings if you add the hybrid stickers.
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