2008 Saturn Vue Red Line and Green Line

The 2008 Saturn Vue hasn't even gone on sale yet, and already two new models are being unveiled. Each of them represents an opposite extreme, just as its predecessor did. The Vue Red Line sits at the fun end of the spectrum, using a 250-horsepower version of the same 3.6-liter V-6 found in the Cadillac CTS, Buick Enclave, and a number of other GM models. It is distinguished from a regular XR model by a lowered suspension, eighteen-inch wheels, chrome exhaust tips, and a larger, lower front air opening. Inside, modifications include leather sport seats and a unique instrument cluster. The Red Line uses a six-speed automatic and is available in front- or all-wheel-drive form.

The Vue Green Line frowns upon all that playfulness. It is instead about efficiency. General Motors announced at December's Los Angeles show plans to make both a two-mode and a plug-in hybrid version of the Vue, but this is neither of those. It uses the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder/electric motor combination as the 2007 Vue Green Line (read about it here.) The combination does not make the Vue a full-fledged hybrid like the Toyota Prius, but it saves fuel by shutting off at idle, cutting fuel during deceleration, and using regenerative brakes to build electric energy that is then used in initial acceleration. Not bad, but the future plug-in promises to "double the fuel economy performance of any SUV currently on the market." No date has been set for that car, but the base Vue goes on sale this spring. The Red Line and Green Line follow in the third and fourth quarters of 2007, respectively.

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