AutoblogGreen Drives the 2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid

2008 Saturn Vue Green Line

Autoblog just finished testing the 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid. Overall, they liked it – inside and out – praising its styling, efficiency for the price, and interior. "The styling of the dash is far more car-like and attractive than the [Ford] Escape and appears to be of higher quality materials," wrote the site.

Saturn uses the same mild hybrid setup used in the Aura and Malibu sedans. This system uses a 5kW motor/generator that takes the place of the conventional alternator. The motor/generator is belt driven off the engine crankshaft and provides automatic start/stop capability, some electric power boost and regenerative braking. The comparatively weak motor, combined with a nickel metal hydride battery with only 48V, obviously limits the capability of the system. During acceleration, the motor can basically act as an electrically-driven turbocharger providing up to 7hp extra when the battery has sufficient juice. Aside from that, it shuts down the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and automatically restarts it when the brake pedal is released. Here is one place where the Vue shines. Unlike every other front wheel drive hybrid I've tried, this one had absolutely no shudder on restart. Not so the Vue, which was completely seamless.

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In a story about the dubious future of the Saturn brand, Chrissie Thompson from Automotive News talked to George Nahas, owner of two Saturn stores in Alabama and Florida. She wrote about how Mr. Nahas "owned only an Oldsmobile dealership when General Motors announced in 2000 that it would kill the brand.