GM Builds a Vehicle that Should Attrack Buyers: the 2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid (Visit this link)
For 2009, Saturn will offer two hybrid versions, the light version tested here and a full hybrid using GM's new two-mode hybrid system first seen in the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV. Without the ability to operate in electric mode, the Vue hybrid system is virtually seamless. The only clues that it is any different than other Vue include some logos, a green light on the dash that says "eco" and a gauge under the tachometer that shows whether the electric system is charging or assisting propulsion of the vehicle. One difference when operating this system -- because it restarts the moment you lift your foot off the brake, it is important to stop at lights and not let it creep because that will cause the engine to restart. So how does this system compare to other so-called "full hybrids?" About the only vehicle to compare it to currently is the Ford Escape hybrid. While the Vue hybrid is rated at 25 mpg city and 32 highway, the Escape hybrid rates at 34/30. In my own experience, the Escape managed a little better than 29 mpg while the Vue had a shade under 27 in similar mixed driving dominated by rural highways. One area where the Vue trumps the Escape is in engine smoothness. Stand on the Vue's throttle and it doesn't lunge forward the way it would if it had a V-6, but it is surprisingly smooth.