The 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line features basically the same hybrid system that's in the current Vue, relocated to the redesigned Vue that was introduced last November at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Saturn has promised a "two-mode" hybrid version of the Vue for 2009 that will offer equivalent gas mileage as the Green Line with better acceleration and electric-only cruising at low speeds.
The front end is much sleeker than before, and the roofline arcs downward slightly toward the rear, where the forward-swept D-pillar lends some sportiness. Modest fender flares provide subtle detailing, and the Vue is one of an increasing number of SUVs with ventlike appliqu�s in the front fenders. In the Vue's case, the fixtures house side turn-signal lights.
As with other recently redesigned models, like the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and Buick Lucerne passenger car, GM has crafted a classy cabin for the Vue. The chrome-ringed air vents are very Audi-esque.
Folding the 60/40-split rear seats expands the cargo area's 26.5 cubic feet of space to 54.3 cubic feet, but these seats don't slide fore and aft like those in the RAV4. The backrest of the front passenger seat can fold flat so long items can be carried inside the cabin.
Under the Hood
The Vue Green Line uses the GM Hybrid System, which in this application features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor/generator that develop a combined 170 horsepower. Unlike most hybrids on the market, the Green Line employs a conventional four-speed automatic transmission. Its operation is virtually indistinguishable from a non-hybrid, except that it turns the engine off when the SUV comes to a stop and restarts it when it's time to go — a universal hybrid trait.
The two-mode hybrid system for 2009 will use a version of the 3.6-liter V-6 and two permanent magnet motors.
Antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and an electronic stability system are standard. The Vue also has GM's rollover-mitigation system, which can fire the side curtain airbags and brake the outside wheels if it determines that the vehicle might roll over.