AutoBlog Drives a Buick/Saturn Vue Plug-In Hybrid Prototype

Saturn Plug-In Hybrid Vue

Sam Abuelsamid from Autoblog: We had a chance for a quick drive of a development prototype for Buick's upcoming plug-in hybrid crossover this week at the GM proving ground. The prototype was still wearing its Saturn grille and badging as that was the original intent of the program. When Rick Wagoner announced in late 2006 that the company would develop a plug-in hybrid, it was intended to the be the Vue. Of course, at that time, Saturn still had a future as part of GM but we all know how that turned out. The two-mode hybrid system that was scheduled to go into production late last year lives on but is now paired with an 8 kWh lithium ion battery pack supplied by LG Chem. According to Larry Nitz, director of hybrid powertrain development, this is half of a Volt pack repackaged to fit under the rear cargo floor.

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Did Buick’s SUV Announcement Hint at New Powertrain Options for the 2011 Saturn Vue?

Buick "Vue" Teaser Photo

Last week General Motors announced Buick would begin selling a new compact crossover in 2010. Later in 2011, the vehicle will feature the company's state-of-the-art plug-in hybrid technology. The Buick will be launched with two of fuel-efficient direct-injected gasoline engines: Ecotec 2.4L direct-injected four-cylinder engine with an optional 3.0L direct-injected V6. GM says the 2.4L will deliver 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway, a modest statement since the redesigned and just released 2010 Chevrolet Equinox with the same powertrain earned a 32 mpg rating by the EPA.