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Saturn Vue Hybrid SUV
The Saturn Vue, Saturn's best-selling four door SUV model, is now available as an affordable and efficient hybrid SUV. Boasting vastly improved gas mileage and impressive power output for a hybrid vehicle, the Saturn Vue Hybrid is on track to become one of the most popular, acclaimed, and driver-friendly hybrids available.
Built since 2002, the vehicle has undergone a range of small engine and chassis tweaks since introduction. With the recent changes to GM's Saturn brand, the Vue looks set to continue as a top hybrid model well into 2010. Recent developments have included the potential inclusion of a 3.6 liter hybrid engine, boasting increased power output and greater driving performance.
The current Saturn Vue Hybrid is an impressive technical achievement and a very convenient SUV. Boasting over 170 horsepower from its standard 2.4 liter engine, the Vue Hybrid offers ample power for highway cruising and in-city use. Towing is made simple and comfortable, as the hybrid engine produces more than enough torque and low-RPM power to carry a boat or moving trailer.
While most hybrid cars are effectively limited to in-city use only, the Saturn Vue Hybrid is just as comfortable on mountain roads and low-grip surfaces as it is on city streets. Despite the exclusion of the Vue's standard four-wheel-drive mode, the Vue Hybrid packs more than enough power to help it through dirt and gravel terrain. While off-road driving fans are still best off with a dedicated 4WD vehicle, the Saturn Vue Hybrid is more than enough for basic gravel access roads and ski-field paths.
Highway performance is impressive, and the Vue Hybrid is a comfortable SUV for cruising and overtaking other vehicles. Despite lacking the power of petrol-based 3 liter SUVs, the Saturn Vue Hybrid still packs enough horsepower and low-RPM torque to sail post most cars for highway passing and comfortable cruising. The inline four cylinder engine provides 226 Nm of Torque, allowing for smooth towing and comfortable hill-climbing performance.
In town, the hybrid SUV performs just as impressively as it does on the highway. While gas mileage is somewhat compromised (from 38 mile-per-gallon on the highway to just over 32 in town) the SUV still delivers gas mileage and efficiency that's in line with other hybrid cars. Performance is smooth and comfortable even at low speeds, and while reliance on the hybrid battery is decreased with the stop-start driving style that in-town use requires, unwanted noise from the petrol-based engine is nonexistent.
Sporty SUV Styling
Styling, both inside and outside the Saturn Vue Hybrid, is in line with Saturn's previous models. Since the 2008 facelift the Vue has boasted slicker lines and much more rounded shape, and while the electric car model doesn't include any new design features, it retains the familiar and pleasing shape. Interior styling is much of the same, boasting a range of comfortable and passenger-friendly features. While ample legroom is available for front seat passengers, those in the back may find the Vue's seats slightly uncomfortable – there's no need to worry however, as they tend to lose firmness with use.
Hybrid SUV Safety Features
With electronic stability control and a range of other built-in safety features, GM have clearly made safety a clear priority with the Saturn Vue Hybrid. Side-curtain airbags are standard and add improved in-car safety. The Vue Hybrid scores very well in crash tests, and as a family car definitely offers complete safety. Sound and entertainment are relatively limited, as is to be expected in an affordable SUV, but the Vue still includes satellite radio, heated front seats, and in-car navigation as standard.
As an all-round family SUV, the Saturn Vue Hybrid is definitely one of the most driver-friendly and affordable options on the market. While failing to offer the same level of power and off-road capabilities as other electric SUV models, the Vue provides plenty of highway-ready power and city driving comfort.
When compared to its competition, the Saturn Vue Hybrid definitely stands up as a worthy competitor. Affordable and practical, somewhat utilitarian in standard form but potentially luxurious with the addition of any of the optional extras, the Vue Hybrid is an all-round performance vehicle that's ideal for families. If manageable gas mileage and very affordable running costs are a priority, the Saturn Vue Hybrid could be the best SUV to look at.