When the primary Insights appeared in American Honda showrooms in late 1999, the period of manufacturing gas-electric hybrids on our streets formally started. That automobile was so cramped and goofy-looking, regardless of being a 60-mpg masterpiece of fuel-efficient design, that few paid it a lot thoughts … however then the Prius arrived right here a couple of yr later. The Prius seemed and drove like a fairly regular automobile, but bought unbelievable gasoline economic system. Rivals took observe, and extra manufacturing hybrid fashions hit the roads. GM jumped in pretty early, with a semi-hybrid package deal on the 2004 Silverado, however that wasn’t a true hybrid (by which an electrical motor supplies energy to the wheels). After Ford launched the Escape Hybrid for 2005, The Common bought busy and developed the Saturn Vue Inexperienced Line with a real gas-electric powertrain. Making its debut within the 2007 mannequin yr, the Vue Inexperienced Line did not promote significantly nicely however introduced Common Motors into the hybrid-electric large leagues. Here is a kind of first-year machines, present in a Denver-area boneyard lately.
GM’s Saturn Division started promoting high-performance “Crimson Line” editions of the Ion and Vue for the 2004 mannequin yr, adopted by the Sky Crimson Line when that automobile debuted for the 2007 mannequin yr. The Crimson Line vehicles bought cool-looking sq. badges with horizontal pink stripes, and so it made sense to make a inexperienced model of that badge for the Vue Inexperienced Line.
I’ve managed to seek out only one Crimson Line Saturn in any case these years of documenting automotive historical past as seen within the junkyard, so I used to be happy so as to add a Inexperienced Line Saturn. Naturally, each Inexperienced Line and Crimson Line badges now adorn my storage wall.
It seems that Saturn dropped the Inexperienced Line title and badging for the Vue after 2008, with the Vue Hybrid title being utilized in 2009-2010 (at which level GM shut down Saturn itself).
The Vue’s hybrid-drive system wasn’t very highly effective, with a 5-horsepower/48-pound-foot belt-driven electrical motor changing the starter and alternator and offering a bit of additional engine energy plus regenerative braking. The battery pack used old school NiMH chemistry and produced simply 36 volts.
The ’07 Inexperienced Line bought a 2.Four-liter Ecotec making 170 horses, a bit higher than the bottom Vue’s 2.2-liter model and its 144 horsepower. Entrance-wheel-drive and a four-speed automated have been necessary. The powertrain setup resulted in gasoline economic system of 23 metropolis/29 freeway mpg, versus 19/25 mpg for the bottom ’07 Vue with 2.2 and automated (with a five-speed handbook, which nearly no Vue consumers even thought-about, the bottom non-hybrid Vue’s mileage improved to 20/27 mpg).
The green-and-white coloration scheme on this one means that it spent its life as some kind of fleet automobile, maybe a taxi or shuttle.
The most affordable ’07 Vue (with 2.2 engine, front-wheel-drive, and five-speed handbook transmission) had an MSRP of $17,995 (about $26,495 in 2022 ), whereas the ’07 Vue Inexperienced Line listed at $22,995 ($33,855 now). That was some huge cash for not-so-impressive gasoline effectivity, however troubles for GM in 2007 have been unhealthy and about to get a lot, a lot worse than only a single slow-selling hybrid mannequin.
Like at all times. Like by no means earlier than. Three years later, Saturn can be gone.