Sam Abuelsamid from AutoBlog: The 2-Mode Hybrid version of the Saturn Vue had initially been scheduled to go into production in November of 2008. However, as General Motors careened toward financial apocalypse, many product programs were put on hold or canceled altogether. Among those was the new hybrid Vue, which was delayed at least twice before finally being terminated altogether in late spring.
IntelliChoice.com, the leading source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis, today announced its "Best Deals of the Month" for new cars for August 2009. To determine its picks, IntelliChoice analyzes monthly values for new cars and trucks based on the seven primary factors that determine a vehicle's long-term ownership costs: fuel economy, maintenance, repair, retained or resale value, licensing, state fees and taxes. Using these seven factors, IntelliChoice determines what it costs to own and operate new cars over five years.
General Motors announced earlier today that the Buick compact sport-utility, which the company announced and revealed just two weeks ago, has been canceled. The model was to be a near identical clone of the current Saturn Vue. It was generally panned by a select group of news media and bloggers who were given a sneak peak of the vehicle at a GM event in Detroit earlier this month (see teaser photo above). One reporter even went as far as dubbing the Saturn crossover with a Buick-inspired waterfall grill as the new "Vue-ick."
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.
Jennifer Donovan from MTU: "The donation of these vehicles from GM will enable us to further our research in reducing fuel consumption and emissions, including enabling near-zero emissions for biofueled vehicles," said Jeff Naber, a professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Tech and a lead researcher and director of the Advanced Internal Combustion Laboratories at Michigan Tech. The Saturns will be used to find ways to minimize the impact that ethanol blend fuels have on cold-start emissions, Naber said.
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.
Kevin Krolicki from Reuters: General Motors is on track to launch a plug-in sport-utility vehicle in 2011 despite scrapping its Saturn brand as part of a sweeping reorganization in bankruptcy, according to the automaker's product chief. "I can tell you that I won't lose one day in terms of customers being able to walk into dealerships and actually purchase a plug-in," GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens said in an interview. Last year GM also announced plans for a plug-in version of its Saturn Vue SUV that would carry a lithium-ion battery pack rechargeable at a standard outlet, reducing the need for gas consumption from its 3.6-liter engine.
Earlier this month, Insure.com compiled a list of 300 vehicles and their associated insurance premiums. On the list of the 20 least expensive cars to insure was the Saturn Vue, ranking ninth. For those of you who don't own a Vue, you'll be happy to know that most Saturn models did well in their categories. The only exceptions were Saturn's hybrid models, which due to their electrified powertrains, are more expensive to replace in the event of a collision. Despite these higher premiums, Saturn hybrids still managed to rank in the middle of their respective classes.
Jorge Chapa from Inhabitat.com: Ohio State University recently took top honors in the 2009 EcoCAR Competition, which challenged students across the US and Canada to redesign a standard Saturn Vue into an ultra-efficient vehicle. Their winning EcoCAR utilizes a lithium battery and an ethanol-fueled engine to achieve an incredible 300% increase in fuel efficiency over its standard model counterpart! The vehicle took plenty of man hours, good design and well-honed math skills, but the end result proves that future-forward vehicles can be built with the technology of today.
Warren Brown from the Washington Post: Small, independent car companies such as California-based Tesla Motors and AFS Trinity Power of Bellevue, Washington, have come up with electric models that give their gasoline counterparts a very fast run for the money. After driving an "extreme hybrid" AFS Trinity version of a Saturn Vue SUV, which beats all GM Saturn Vue models in fuel-economy and straight-line acceleration, here's suggesting that the Penske Group, Saturn's new owner, get in contact with AFS Trinity.