US gets three hybrid Saturn Vues, Europe gets a diesel Opel Antara

The first generation Saturn Vue has been retired and replaced by a new global compact crossover platform from General Motors. The new vehicles are being shared by various GM brands and sold around the world as Opels, Saturns and Chevys. While all the variants get the same body style they will have a variety of different powertrain options. Both the Opel Antara and the Saturn Vue get the 2.4L four cylinder as a base engine but from there they diverge. The Antara gets a 3.2L version of GM's twin-cam V-6 while the Vue uses a 3.6L variant.

The most efficient models are where the largest differences lie. The Opel has a two versions of the new 2.0L common-rail diesel with 127hp or 150hp. The Vue instead will offer two completely different hybrid powertrains. The less expensive mild hybrid system carries over the GM belt-alternator-starter system from the previous Vue (read the ABG Review) mated to the 2.4L engine. The second hybrid that will show up next year is the two-mode system that we already saw recently in the full-size Tahoe/Yukon mated to the 3.6L V-6. Further out in 2009 we should see a plug-in hybrid variant of the two-mode system. For comparison, the diesel Antara is rated at 26.4mpg/34.6mpg city/hwy while the mild hybrid Vue gets 27/32 mpg. The hybrid numbers are for 2007 model, '08 numbers aren't out yet. We'll have to wait a while yet to get data on the two mode.

What we won't see is a diesel, at least not yet. At some point as the fuel economy regulations get tighter we may end up seeing a diesel/hybrid combination, although by that time we might also see something like the E-Flex powertrain from the Volt in a cross-over platform. For now though the performance is comparable but if diesel engines start to catch on in the US market anything is possible.

[Source: Wards Auto World]

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