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2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid Review

Another Hybrid Hits the City

A three-quarter front view of a gray 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

In short: A green wannabe SUV.

The Saturn Vue is a rather handsome SUV, and it has a few good things going for itself. General Motors claims that it gets the best fuel economy compared to any other SUV, and that it has a lower price and longer range than any of its competitors. Just to remind you, the purpose of the electric motor is to supply additional power during acceleration and for engine restart from a stop light, as the brakes regenerate power to the 36-volt nickel hydride battery. In the safety department, there is StabiliTrak, an assortment of airbags, a pedal release system, active head restraints in the front, dual seatbelt pretensioners and OnStar. Crank the MP3-capable sound system and off you go… but not to the races. The Vue Green Line Hybrid is indeed for tame drivers. If you want more performance out of your Ecotec motor, you’ll have to switch to manual mode and use the toggle switch with your thumb—a lot—to get this 4,000 pound SUV moving. Perhaps all of that defeats the purpose of its engine concept in the first place.

A view of the engine and logo of the 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

For the most part, this hybrid looks and feels like a regular car and not an oddity like, for example, Toyota's Prius. The interior is suitable with the basics plus implementation and instruments. There is good volume, and space is ample up front, but not quite the same for the rear passengers. Still, there is good utility, and you should be able to do well in a town like Los Angeles. We seemed to get 20 mpg in city/freeway-combined driving though, which was much less than expected.

Warranty/Service: 8-year/100,000-mile hybrid component warranty, 24-hour roadside assistance.

Base Price: $24,170 /As tested: $24,795

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 5-door SUV

Engine: 2.4-liter I-4 DOHC Ecotec L4
Horsepower: 169 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque: 161 lb-ft @ 5,100 rpm
Transmission: hybrid-enabled 4-speed automatic

Curb weight: 3,789 lbs
Wheelbase: 106.6 in
Length/Width/Height: 180.1/72.8/66.2 in
Turning circle: 40 ft

Brakes: all-wheel vented disc with power assist and ABS
independent front and rear
traction control system

0-60 mph: n/a
Top Speed: n/a

EPA City: 25 mpg
EPA Highway: 32 mpg

Safety: StabiliTrak with trailering stability assist, dual-stage frontal airbags in front, side thorax airbags for front seats, head curtain side-impact airbags for front and second row seats, OnStar, tire pressure monitor, daytime running lamps

Smog: .4

Likes: styling, green factor
Dislikes: somewhat limited turning radius, glass panel on hatch does not swivel open, acceleration

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Photography: AlphaMedia

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