The 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line Two-Mode Hybrid SUV will be introduced by GM at the Detroit International Auto Show. The Saturn Vue has been the test bed for hybrids inside GM. It has received a mild hybrid system (the 2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid which is produced in Mexico), it will be one of the first two-mode hybrids on the road (the 2009 model) and in the future, GM has promised the Vue will be one of the first cars to come with a plug (perhaps the Vue plug-in will be in 2009?).
"I think some consumers today might be held back if the hybrid is not affordable," Jill Lajdziak, Saturn general manager, said ahead of the Vue's premiere this month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. "I think we give people the option that you don't have to go broke to go green by offering choice in the marketplace."The two-mode hybrid Vue will go into production in late 2008. It is expected to improve the fuel economy by 50% over the V6 model, which will put it at 29 mpg combined (35 mpg highway). It will also have a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. The two-mode hybrid system will cost more than the mild version (mild hybrid Vue MSRP $24,795), so it won't be the cheapest hybrid on the road.
The current mild hybrid system gets 32 mpg on the highway, 28 mpg combined. Which makes me wonder why anyone would go for the 'upgrade' to the two-mode system? According to GM, the towing and performance (0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds) will make it worthwhile.
The two-mode hybrid system was co-developed by BMW, Chrysler and GM and will be seen first in the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid and GMC Yukon Hybrid. The Vue will be the first front-drive vehicle to get the two-mode hybrid engine.
The 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line 2 (and isn't that a mouthful?) comes with a 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 with four-speed automatic, two 55-kilowatt electric motors and a 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery. It also comes equipped with lightweight aluminum wheels, low-rolling resistance tires and an electric power-steering system.
There is no reverse gear. Instead, the electric motor will power the vehicle when backing up. The suspension was changed a little by revising the spring and stabilizer bar rates, along with recalibrated front struts and rear shock absorbers.
The tachometer is replaced by a fuel-efficiency gauge that also tells the driver when the vehicle is in electric-only mode, engine-only mode, or a combination of the two and serves as a reminder the vehicle is on even if the engine is off.