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Saturn Vue Green Line Earns EPA's Most Highway Fuel Efficiency SUV

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Khatir Soltani
GM's Ecotec Gets Hybridized This Summer

With the exciting Saturn Sky's recent debut, the Vue is an easily overlooked model in the Saturn lineup. After all, the Sky is all sexy curves and angles; while the Vue is... well, not. But when gas is over a dollar per litre, and GM announces that the hybrid Vue Green Line is the most fuel efficient SUV on the highway, you tend to take notice.

The first hybrid vehicle from GM's friendly Saturn badge, the Vue Gr
The Green Line gets a prominent chrome finished faux skidplate as well as 16" alloy wheels. (Photo: General Motors Of Canada)
een Line is due out later this summer, powered by a 2.4L variable valve timing-equipped four-cylinder that pumps out 170 electric-motor assisted horsepower, 27 more than the conventional Vue. The electric motor comes into action during acceleration, helping the Vue Green Line sprint to highway speeds faster than the standard Vue, while sucking back only 8.7 litres for every 100 kilometers (27 mpg) of city driving.

For comparison's sake, that's over twice as good as a Ford Excursion; the large
More chrome on the back combined with body-colour door handles and mirrors give it an uspcale appearance. (Photo: General Motors Of Canada)
st SUV on the road, which just so happens to struggle to travel 100 kilometers on a whopping 22 litres of gas (11 mpg). Of course, it's not even a fair fight, given that the Saturn is two segments smaller, a compact model compared to a full-size SUV, plus the eco-friendly Vue is smart enough to turn it's gasoline engine off when stopped in traffic, which helps immensely with the city rating. 

While GM's claim to SUV fuel economy superiority is relegated to highway driving, Ford's Escape Hybrid, dimensionally closer to the Vue than the Expedition, does much better in the city, where most people drive. The Escape Hybrid, the first SUV to offer a hybrid drivetrain is Energuide rated at 6.6 L/100 km and EPA rated at 36 miles per U.S. gallon, the equivalent of 6.5 L/100 km, either way substantially more fuel efficient than the Vue Green Line in urban centres.

So what about the highway rating? Well, thanks to an improved body shape with better aerodynamics
The Escape Hybrid does better in the city, at 36 miles per U.S. gallon. (Photo: Ford Motor Company of Canada)
anda remapped ECU that shuts off fuel flow on deceleration (using theelectric motor to smooth out the torque curve during this fuelshutoff), the highway is where the Vue Green Line really shines;receiving an EPA rating of 32 miles per gallon; which translates into just 7.4 litres per 100 kilometers. According toa GM press release, that is the best highway rating ever awarded to anSUV by the EPA.

How does it do against the Escape Hybrid? The EPA ratesthe Ford Escape Hybrid at 31 mpg (or 7.6 L/100 km) in front-wheel drive mode, not quiteas good as the Saturn.

In all-wheel drive guise the EscapeHybrid combines for 32 mpg (7.4 L/100 km) in the city and 29 mpg (8.1 L/100 km) on the highway, which isbetter than the Vue Green Line in the city but not quite as impressiveon the highway. It is impressive compared to the Green Line, however,as the Saturn isn't available in all-wheel drive.

To be fairto the Vue Green Line, GM has announced that it's newest sport ute willbe the cheapest hybrid SUV on the market when it arrives, with astarting price of just $22,995 USD (Canadian pricing has yet to bedetermined). That undercuts the Ford Escape Hybrid by $4,000; a heftymargin that will pay for a lot of gas.
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada