Chicago Auto Show: 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid unveiled

click the photo for high-resolution images of the 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line

We've just brought you our take on driving the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid SUV, and now we can gear up and get ready for the '08. Saturn announced today that the new version (along with the non-hybird '08 Vue Red Line) will be unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show this week. So, what's new in the '08?

Let's start with what's the same. First, the Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) light hybrid system is the same as in the 2007 Vue Green Line, so Alex's thoughts on the 36V battery and 170-horsepower 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder engine should provide a guess as to the new Vue's power. The engine shuts down when the vehicle comes to a stop, and the battery is charged by regenerative braking.

Now, what's different. First, this isn't the plug-in version, but that's not a big surprise. Official fuel economy figures are not yet available for this Vue, but GM is already promising "a 45-percent improvement in fuel economy compared to its non-hybrid counterpart" from the even-more-updated Vue Green Line that has GM's new two-mode hybrid system in the third quarter of 2008.

Look for the SUV on the lot in the fourth quarter of 2007, but AutoblogGreen will have a lot more information from Chicago later in the week. Stay tuned.

Click on the image above or the thumbnails below to see a high-resolution (1,280 pixel wide) image gallery of the 2008 Vue Green Line. The images are downloadable for your personal use.

GM's full press release is after the jump, and you can read about the non-hybrid 2008 Vue Red Line at Autoblog.

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[Source: GM]

Specialized Models Provide Bold Looks, Performance Tuning, Fuel Savings and Value

CHICAGO – Saturn announced two new variants of the completely redesigned 2008 Vue crossover utility at the Chicago Auto Show: the performance-tuned Red Line and the affordable, fuel-saving Green Line hybrid.

The Red Line builds on the new Vue's bold styling with an aggressive front-end design, including a large, lower air opening and projector beam fog lamps. The rear of the vehicle features a special fascia, spoiler and chrome exhaust tips. A lowered suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and Red Line badges complete the performance-inspired appearance.

From a performance perspective, the Red Line comes with standard tap up/tap down transmission control and sport-tuned ride and handling. It is powered by a dual overhead cam 3.6L V-6 VVT engine that delivers 250 horsepower (186 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 243 lb.-ft. (329 Nm) of torque at 4,400 rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Vue Red Line will be available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Interior modifications include a Red Line-only Ebony interior, including black leather sport seats with suede fabric inserts. The vehicle also features Red Line-logo instrument cluster graphics and embroidered floor mats.

Green Line hybrid

The 2008 Vue Green Line hybrid will continue to provide consumers with an affordable hybrid that also provides uncompromised utility.

The hybrid system on the Vue Green Line combines sophisticated controls with an electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4L four-cylinder engine and a modified four-speed automatic transmission. The system saves fuel by providing an electric power assist during acceleration; shutting off the engine at idle; early fuel cut-off during deceleration and capturing electrical energy through regenerative braking. Fuel economy figures for the 2008 Vue will be announced later.

The 2008 Vue was first shown last November at the Greater Los Angeles International Auto Show, as an uplevel XR model. At the show, Saturn also announced it will offer a version of the Vue Green Line with GM's new two-mode hybrid system, in the third quarter of 2008 . This system will provide a 45-percent improvement in fuel economy compared to its non-hybrid counterpart.

Additionally, General Motors committed to producing a plug-in version of the Vue Green Line that will double the fuel economy performance of any SUV currently on the market. No date has been set for the introduction of the plug-in hybrid, but it is a top priority for the company.

The Vue XR (and base-level XE) will arrive at Saturn retailers this spring. The Vue Red Line will arrive in the third quarter of 2007 and the Vue Green Line hybrid will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2007.

All-new Vue

All 2008 Vue models feature the Saturn's new design cues and European-inspired performance characteristics. Standard equipment highlights include:

* MacPherson strut independent front suspension with stabilizer bar
* Independent multi-link rear suspension with stabilizer bar
* Double-isolated engine cradle \
* Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
* GM StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing system
* Traction control
* Hydraulically assisted power steering on V-6 models
* Dual-stage frontal air bags, front-seat side thorax air bags and head curtain air bags covering front and rear rows
* Front-row safety belt pretensioners
* Collapsible pedals
* Active head restraints
* OnStar with one year Safe & Sound service

The 2008 Vue Saturn joins the Sky roadster, Aura sedan and the Outlook crossover utility in the revitalized Saturn portfolio. Saturn also introduced the 2008 Astra small car at the Chicago show.

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