The 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid is set to receive a 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway rating from the EPA. The 4 cylinder 2008 Vue XE gets a 19 city/26 highway, so that's quite a good increase in fuel economy. The Green Line MSRP of $24,795 is $3,345 more than the XE, so that's about an average premium price for the hybrid system. (Note: the Ford Escape Hybrid comes in with a MSRP of just over $25,000).
If you drive 15,000 miles a year (60% highway), you will be saving around 140 gallons a year in fuel or just under $400 a year in fuel costs. Add in the possible tax savings from the federal tax credit on hybrid cars ($650 for the 2007 model, unknown right now for the 2008 model), and you can make up that price differential. But unless you can add in some local incentives (state tax breaks, HOV access, parking, local tax break, insurance costs), it will take years.
The Vue Green Line Hybrid mates an electric motor to the 2.4-liter, 172 hp, four cylinder engine with a modified automatic transmission. The internal combustion engine (ICE) will shut off during deceleration and when the vehicle is stopped and the battery pack is recharged through regenerative braking or the gas engine when needed. The electric motor assists the ICE when accelerating. To improve fuel economy, low resistance tires have been added.
The hybrid system comes with some displays to help the driver out when driving to maximize the fuel economy.
- 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.
- six air bags
- antilock brakes
- tire pressure monitors
- active front head restraints
- a pedal release system for the accelerator and brake
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control withtrailer sway control