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!