Jalopnik Reviews the 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line

Automotive fan blog Jalopnik posted what it's calling "Part 1" of a 2008 Saturn Vue Green Line road test review today. The site was impressed with the Vue and said it "has matured into one of the most attractive small utes on the market today." They were especially fond of the interior: "the Vue's cabin is a pleasant place in which to get from place to place, nicer than its competition and in a totally different class from the previous-generation plastic-paneled Vue." About the only complaint they had was road noise due to the Vue hybrid's low rolling resistance tires and Saturn's decision to use less sound deadening material than in non-hybrids Vues. All-in-all though, the Vue Green Line mild hybrid "makes a compelling case for itself," Jalopnik concluded.

Why would a buyer choose the Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid over an Escape Hybrid, then? While the GM system is less advanced than the Ford hybrid powertrain, it's also significantly less expensive. A Saturn Hybrid starts at about $26,200, more than $3,000 less than the lowest-priced Ford Escape Hybrid. Unfortunately, it's also about $4,000 more that a comparably equipped non-hybrid Vue XE; that money buys you about a 6 MPG improvement both city and highway. Actually, that money buys you the mileage improvement and a really nice driving experience for a small four-cylinder SUV, with the electric motor assist making up for what would have been a modestly powered ride at best. The system did an excellent job of seamlessly starting the engine after a stop, and I was never able to "beat" the motor, hitting the gas before the engine was running and ready to go.

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Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and journalist Gina Spadafori from DogCars.com released their best not-a-large-SUV vehicle picks for dog owners. "Big sports-utility vehicles have been the dog-haulers of choice for years, along with minivans," they wrote. "But with gas prices so high, SUV sales are stalled as people look for smaller vehicles. If you can't fit your St. Bernard comfortably into a Smart Car, are there still choices for you? You bet."