Saturn VUE Green Line Hybrid: Lowest Price, Best Highway Fuel Economy
24 May 2006
|VUE Green Line Hybrid|
GM’s Saturn announced today that the new 2007 Vue Green Line hybrid SUV (earlier post) will carry a starting price of $22,995 (including destination charge), making it the lowest-priced hybrid SUV on the market.
VUE Green Line will carry an EPA fuel economy rating of 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway—the best highway fuel economy of any SUV currently available. That equates to a 20% improvement in fuel economy compared to a non-hybrid VUE, depending on driving conditions.
The Ford Escape Hybrid offers the best combined fuel economy (33 mpg US), as well as the best city fuel economy (36 mpg US) for any SUV sold in the US.
The Green Line offers the lowest fuel economy in city driving compared to its competition, and also the lowest combined mileage—although, at 29 mpg US, not by much compared to the 30 mpg US combined of the Highlander Hybrid and RX 400h.
The Vue Green Line proves you can go green without going broke. With a starting sticker price almost $4,000 less than any competing hybrid SUV, it makes true hybrid fuel savings available to more people than ever before.—Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak
|Select Hybrid SUVs|
|Model||EPA Fuel Economy (mpg US)||Price|
|Saturn VUE Green Line||27||32||29||$22,995|
|Ford Escape Hybrid||36||31||33||$27,515|
|Toyota Highlander Hybrid||33||28||30||$33,030|
|Lexus Rx 400h||33||28||30||$48,535|
The VUE hybrid powertrain is based on a Belt Alternator Starter system—essentially what underlies a Start-Stop system—albeit one with some modifications that provide a small degree of traction assistance during acceleration, through early fuel cut-off during deceleration with torque smoothing and by shutting the engine off at idle. The system also captures electrical energy through regenerative braking.
The assist is small: the motor (provided by Hitachi) is only a 4kW (mechanical) machine (5kW generating power), although it provides some 60 Nm of motoring torque.
GM’s approach with the VUE has been to eliminate any excess cost. The battery pack (from Cobasys) is just 36V. The hybrid control system is implemented within the existing 32-bit Engine Control Module. The instrument cluster only minimally reflects the hybrid drive.
The vehicle’s 2.4-liter hybrid powertrain provides approximately 170 hp (127 kW)—27 more horsepower than the 2.2 liter engine that powers the conventional VUE.
Saturn also recently announced plans for a Green Line hybrid version of the Aura sedan in 2007.
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