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Saturn Green Line Hybrid: Does the affordable price make it appealing enough?

Posted in GM, Hybrid, Saturn by will bee | October 15th, 2007 | Leave a Reply |

2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

In a recent Press Release GM unveiled the starting price for the 2008 Saturn Green Line Hybrid. With a starting price of $24,795 the Green Line Hybrid retains its post as the most affordable hybrid SUV. However with a softened design more resembling of the other SUV’s on the market will the affordable Saturn Green Line Hybrid be appealing enough to capture the markets attention?

Obviously low pricing is very enticing and the 2008 model Saturn Vue appears to be starting out well. The base price for the basic Front-Wheel drive Saturn Vue is $20,770 and will yield a fuel mileage rating of 16 city/22 highway. So the leap in price from a base model Vue to a Green Line view is slightly over $4,000. Not bad for an SUV seeing a jump in fuel mileage that goes up to 25 city/32 highway. Saturn estimates that the Green Line Hybrid is capable of amassing 585 miles on one tank of gas on the highway. That would get me nearly all the way to my home state on one tank… very economical.
The Green Line Hybrid is powered by a 172-hp 4-cylinder engine that is quite the sipper, but the press release does not issue a torque rating for the SUV. How it will perform on steep grades will be a question remaining to be answered.

2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

The other concern for the Saturn, and this may just be one that I alone possess, is its design. The prior Saturn line-up were very Saturn, as in they stood out from the rest of the automotive crowd. The Saturn Vue was angular and distinct and still came at a reasonable price. The 2008 Saturn Vue seems ashamed of its originality as it looks to better blend in with the masses. While still stylish it has lost its edge. However, maybe that is exactly what Saturn was looking to do. Maybe the minds behind the revision of the Vue figured better sales would come their way if they resembled the rest of the market. Maybe borrowing some design cues from the BMW X5 is not a bad idea? The X5 sells well.

2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

In the coming months the response to the 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid will begin to accumulate and we shall see if the Saturn assimilation was the right move. Either way their will be a segment of shoppers eager to find an SUV that achieves the Green Lines impressive fuel mileage at such a digestable price. Ofcourse there is also the chance that the Green Line will suffer the basic shun from some for just being a Saturn.

Press Release:

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

Detroit — Saturn today announced that the all-new 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid will have a fuel economy rating of 25 miles per gallon in city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway — the best highway mileage of any sport utility vehicle.

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.

In addition to the hybrid system, standard features on the Vue Green Line include 17-inch polished alloy wheels, rear spoiler, painted fascias and single-zone automatic climate control.

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).

[Source: egmCarTech]

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