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2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid Review - Green Line Hybrid [Expired Topic]

Discussion in 'Chevy Equinox Forum (GMC Terrain)' started by ChevyFan, Jul 2, 2008.

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  1. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member 1000 Posts

    2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid - Green Line
    MRSP: $24,795 (as tested)

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    This was my second chance at getting inside the 2008 Saturn Vue, my first was the Vue XR AWD, which was comfortable and fun to drive with nearly 260 hp. My second chance was the new Vue Green Line Hybrid, after being behind the wheel of that ride; I’m guessing that these aren't staying on the lots very long with $4 to $5 gasoline nationwide.

    For starters, the Green Line Hybrid looks virtually exactly the same as the baseline Vue, you just get better gas mileage and feel better about taking needless trips. The Vue XR was a higher performance, and you paid for that with a much lower MPG. The Green Line Hybrid in some cases can give 45% better mileage over a base Vue and perhaps nearly 80% better mileage over what you might see in the XR. That’s pretty notable.

    What’s it like to drive?

    When you start the Hybrid you’ll notice that it’s very quiet and you almost wonder if it's even running. The radio and fan turn on and that clues you in that it’s running. Putting it into gear is the same, except while you’re on electric you won’t hear or feel anything beyond a slight electric whirr.

    For me, usually about 15 to 20 MPH was enough to get the gas engine to kick in and help out. That transition is pretty smooth. I played around with some different driving styles and was able to get up to 25 MPH on occasion while still under electric power. In fact, I drove around an entire residential area for 10 minutes and never had the gasoline engine kick on.

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    The front wheel drive Green Line Hybrid is a true two-mode Hybrid system and it will constantly go back and forth between electric, gas and a mixture of the two. This is mostly due to the variable transmission system that really allows for electric-only at low speeds. This feature alone allows for some of the great MPG gains.

    My average all-around city MPG was in the 25 to 26 range. Considering a good chunk of that was heavy stop-and-go Dallas driving, that's very good. I’m impressed.

    Blind spots weren't a big problem for me, although the mirrors could be a touch larger for my tastes. Cruizing speed on the freeway produced a fairly quiet and comfortable ride. There was plenty of pep under the hood that got called into action a few times when passing or accellerating after a slowdown. The Vue was nimble enough to move around easily through traffic and when we get to the destination, it's easy enough to park.

    Cargo room was pretty good considering the compact nature of the vue. I could reach most of it without having to climb-up or strain too much. Grocery getting filled up the back pretty well and our test
    review Vue had a pretty cool mesh cargo management system that kept everything in place.

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    What’s it like to sit in?
    Getting inside, shutting the door and grabbing the wheel was surprisingly comfortable. As a big and tall driver, I sometimes cringe at the though at getting into any vehicle that can be put into any “compact” category. However, no worries about the 2008 Vue, I actually had ample leg room and good overall shoulder, hip and head room. It’s comfortable, it's not big though. In fact, because of the design of the VUE (the new crossover look) there was a substantial amount of headroom above my noggin, perhaps 3 inches or more, for me that’s a lot.

    All of the gadgets are within arms reach as well. I really didn’t have to stretch to reach anything, not even the sippy-cup that my youngster in the back dropped. The stereo knobs, climate controls, storage bins and more are all easy to reach. Although I did have a hard time with the right-side lumbar support knob, which actually came detached fairly quickly when a swift kick from the aforementioned child in the rear seat.

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    Speaking of which, we tried putting a car-seat in the dead-center of the rear seat. Not happening, little feet could kick both driver and passenger! It was quickly moved to directly behind the passenger’s seat and it fit very well. In fact, the front seats look like they’re designed for rear-seat knee-room as they slope upwards. No problems for small kids in the back. (Watch out for legroom for larger children and adults over six-feet in the back seat. This has the potention to the a signifigant comfort issue for long drives.


    Overall Impression?
    This is definitely a step in the right direction for GM. The Vue Green Line Hybrid gives a lot of great features for the money, great fuel mileage while still being peppy. I look forward to a more of these Hybrid systems in the upcoming models.
  2. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member 1000 Posts

    It's been a while since I reviewed the Saturn Vue, but I was still impressed with the comfort and the ride and drive in this little SUV/crossover. It's a shame it's off the market now, but it should make a great buy on the used market.
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