2008 Saturn VUE Hybrid Review
The VUE Green Line is a gas-electric hybrid SUV that offers decent gas mileage at an affordable sticker price. However, it can't match the more refined performance and even better fuel economy of some other hybrids, resulting in a ranking near the bottom of both the Affordable Compact SUV and Hybrid SUV classes.
Redesigned for this year to match the redesign of its gasoline-powered counterpart, the Saturn VUE Green Line offers weaker performance than its competition. What's more, several auto writers point out that the Green Line's affordable price may have a hidden cost. The New York Times adds, "Were good mileage the only criterion for likability, this review would be over. The problem, though, is that every auto credit requires a debit, and accountants' fingerprints can be seen all over this Vue." Some also point out that the Saturn is not a full hybrid and cannot operate on electric power alone. Expected for 2009 is a two-mode version that GM says will improve gas mileage by 45 percent.
But the 2008 VUE Hybrid's 25/32 mpg rating still places it near the top of its class for fuel economy. With gas prices setting new records in 2008, fuel-efficiency may be a reasonable argument for many to consider the gas-electric VUE.
The hybrid VUE commands a $2,000 premium over the gasoline-powered model, but it should make up for the extra cost in increased gas mileage. In fact, almost every reviewer likes the Green Line's low sticker price relative to the competition, with some noting that the VUE achieves similar fuel economy at thousands less than the Ford Escape Hybrid or the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. However, those cars offer better performance or nicer interiors.
The VUE Green Line is available only in front-wheel drive with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine.
- "The Vue Green Line is not luxurious, but it is well-appointed for its price range. And as hybrid SUVs go, it is the real deal when it comes to fuel economy." -- Boston Globe
- "The Vue Green Line is not the answer to everyone's transportation needs, but it will work well as an economical suburban and urban workhorse for delivering kids, picking up groceries and a host of other chores associated with the growing family." -- The Family Car
- "The price, size and functionality of the car should always be factored into any buying decision, and the Saturn Vue Green Line wins in all three of those categories. Let's see, Eco-happy, Easy to park, fits a family of 5, their dog, and some groceries all within a budget. Sounds like a smart idea to me..." -- Mother Proof
- "If revolution is what you seek in hybrids, then perhaps its best to direct your attention towards the Tahoe Two-Mode, or something daringly cutting edge, like Lexus forthcoming LS 600h, because there is simply nothing monumentally different about the Green Line's system." -- Automobile.com