2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

by Michele Fleury

2008 Saturn Vue Greenline

So you want to go green but don’t have a lot of green? If you’re like me, you’re conscious of the environment but you don’t have $40,000 to put towards solar panels on the roof of your house. My budget is closer to that of solar garden lights but I still want to do my part. I also need the room that an SUV provides but hate the guilt that comes with getting 15 miles to the gallon.

2008 Saturn Vue Greenline

The Saturn Vue Hybrid just might be the perfect answer for the eco- savvy consumer who happens to be a closeted SUV lover. It’s the cheapest hybrid SUV in its class with an MSRP of $24,795 – but it has fuel economy significantly higher than its non-hybrid sibling.

2008 Saturn Vue Greenline

First, the technical bits. The Vue is categorized as a “mild hybrid” so isn’t full time hybrid like a Toyota Prius, which can run in battery-only mode. The Saturn system uses a Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) which means the battery-powered motor assists the gasoline engine during acceleration. This is also why the gas mileage isn’t as high as a full-time hybrid. Even using the BAS , though, the Vue gets a respectable 25/32 mpg, which is 27 percent higher than the non-hybrid Vue. GM says the Vue Hybrid can drive for up to 585 miles on one tank of gas; it also says the Vue Hybrid gets better gas mileage than sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

2008 Saturn Vue Greenline

Saturn’s found some clever ways to keep costs down and fuel economy high. The Vue is a clone of a European SUV from General Motors– the Opel Antara. The entire front end and grille have been redesigned. Body-colored bumpers have been added to give it a cleaner and more upscale look. The sloping roof and contoured rear end do a nice job of keeping the Vue away from its boxy American past.
The interior is very simple and basic but still maintains a sense of style. The 60/40 rear seats folded flat in a gay second enabling me to easily fit two surfboards, wetsuits, coolers and a ton of other beach related accoutrements. I found the Vue to be very impressive in the gadgets department. While radio and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel are becoming commonplace, having OnStar, an MP3 jack and XM satellite radio with touch-screen controls were completely unexpected. Even the trapezoid shaped parking brake is super cool.
It feels like it’s straight out of a jet or something from Battlestar Galactica.

2008 Saturn Vue Greenline

There are two things non-hybrid driving people must get used to when switching from conventional gasoline engines. First, the gas engine shuts off when the car decelerates or is stopped. If you are used to driving standard then you might feel like the car has stalled. The second is the ‘eco’ light that lights up when your vehicle is performing over the EPA rating. While it’s great to know exactly when I’m saving the environment, I found it to be quite distracting. But I’m a hybrid virgin, so take that with a grain of salt.
Overall, the Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid is a delight to drive. All the money you save on gas and car payments can go to your solar panel fund, and with the extra cargo space, you might just be able to carry them home yourself.

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