Click the new Vue Green Line for high-res images
When GM introduced the previous generation Saturn Vue Green Line in 2006, it was the General's first crack at a production hybrid. While the old Vue was nothing to write home about, the mild hybrid system it carried did provide a new and relatively inexpensive (if less effective) option to those looking for a bit more mileage out of a crossover. The original Vue Green Line had a relatively short life as it debuted during the last model year of the old CUVs life-cycle.
The first of three hybrid versions of the second Vue is now ready for public consumption and it again features the mild hybrid belt-alternator-starter system. The control software of the system has been updated for 2008 for improved mileage. While the old Vue got 23/29 mpg (according to the revised 2008 procedures) the new one is rated at 25/32 mpg city/highway. That 32 mpg is the best among any SUV for 2008 although the Ford Escape hybrid is rated at 34/30 mpg with its strong hybrid system (it managed 30 real world mpg when it was in the ABG Garage). The new Vue Green Line is priced at $24,795 this year, undercutting the Escape by $280.
About a year from now a second Vue hybrid, featuring the first front wheel drive application of the GM's Two-Mode hybrid system, will hit the streets. Sometime in 2009 a third hybrid with the Two-Mode system, a lithium ion battery and plug-in capability will round out the family. More details after the jump.
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.
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
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.
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).