The Saturn VUE Green Line is about to enter the hybrid market this summer with a promise of a 20% gain in fuel economy. Most drivers won't recognize the new hybrid model as any different from the conventionally powered VUE aside from the badge and a few extra components in the engine bay. The mild hybrid system being utilized here is designed for ease of use and low cost to the consumer. Two very important qualities in the minds of General Motors. The VUE has come to market as a very approachable option to the first time hybrid buyer and that in itself is a step in the right direction even though more environmentally conscious consumers would refer to it as a baby step.
- Best highway mileage of any SUV.
- 170 HP and 164 lb-ft of torque plus another 115 lb-ft from the electric motor.
- Starting price around $23,000.
- Cargo space uncomprimised by batteries or equipment.
- Mild hybrid means mild fuel savings.
- Electric motor never solely drives wheels.
Performance and HandlingEdit
The VUE Green Line's 2.4-liter engine produces 170 horsepower which is a substantial increase from the non-hybrid version of the VUE that has a 2.2-liter engine at 143 horsepower. Coupled with the extra torque provided by the electric motor, in power assisted situations, many drivers will be pleasantly surprised with the acceleration available from the VUE Green Line. The powertrain works well with the 4-speed automatic.
It is estimated VUE Green Line will reduce fuel consumption 20% by:
- Shutting off the engine while vehicle the is stopped.
- Early fuel shut off during deceleration.
- Regenerative braking captures energy to charge batteries.
- Electric drive power supplied during launch and overtaking.
The EPA does not have solid figures as of now, but do estimate the mileage for the VUE Green Line to be around 27 mpg city/32 mpg highway. Which is the best highway mileage of any SUV.
Interior and ComfortsEdit
The VUE Green Line on the inside is nearly identical to the non-hybrid version providing a standard power convenience package including doors, windows and mirrors. Remote keyless entry, fold flat seats, rear cargo organizer and OnStar. No amount of cargo space was lost with the inclusion of the hybrid system and battery since the battery is so small compared to what you would expect in a full hybrid vehicle.
The exterior of the VUE Green Line is in most ways no different except for the hybrid badge along the rear of the vehicle. The Green Line does come with some extra standard equipment the regular model does not to help distinguish it including anti-lock brakes with traction control, alloy wheels, chrome finish skid plates, body colored door handles and mirrors and lastly a rear spoiler to top it off.
Styles and OptionsEdit
The Saturn VUE Green Line is only available in a 4-door FWD configuration.
- Anti-Lock Brakes
- Traction Control
- Power convenience package (power locks/windows/mirrors)
- Fold flat front-passenger seat back
- Rear cargo organizer
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- Chrome finish skid plates
- OnStar® one year service plan
- Hybrid instrumentation
- Remote keyless-entry
- CD/MP3 stereo or 6-Disc CD/MP3
- Rear seat DVD entertainment package
- Safety and comfort package with extra airbags, satellite radio and extra seat equipment
- Leather interior
- Power sunroof
The main competitors thus far in the SUV hybrid market are the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid. Both are price thousands more for their fuel conserving variations which should give the Saturn VUE Green Line a definite edge.