General Motors has officially announced its long-rumored 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line 2 Mode hybrid set to hit the automaker's stand at the upcoming Detroit auto show. The crossover will be the first front-drive vehicle to use the GM's 2 Mode hybrid technology, which was first launched on its full-size SUVs.
The gas engine powering the Vue Green Line 2 Mode will be GM's high-feature, direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 that has been working its way around the automaker's lineup. In the conventional Vue, the engine makes 257 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. Electric power comes from two 55 kilowatt electric motors integrated into the transmission. GM claims fuel economy for the Vue 2 Mode will be 50 percent better than that of the gas-only V-6 (which is rated at 16 city/22 highway) and that it will have a range of over 500 miles. The hybrid Vue's 0-60 time is expected to be around 7.3 seconds, with maximum towing load pegged to 3500 pounds, according to the automaker.
The 2 Mode hybrid system, which was co-developed with BMW and the former DaimlerChrysler, also features regenerative braking, engine idle off, electric-only operation at low speeds (unspecified, but likely to be around 30 mph as is the case with the rear-drive system), and efficient accessory systems including electric power steering. There's also no traditional reverse gear -- all reversing operations are powered by the electric motors.
Chassis adjustments to compensate for the Vue Green Line 2 Mode's 189 pounds of extra heft include revised spring and stabilizer bar rates, along with recalibrated front struts and rear shock absorbers.
Not much is changing visually on the hybrid Vue. Of course, there are 2 Mode badges on the front doors and rear liftgate, and lightweight aluminum alloy rims shod with low-rolling resistance tires designed to further aid with fuel savings. Other subtle changes include chrome door handles, chrome dual exhaust tips and chrome skidplates front and rear. The tachometer is replaced by a fuel-efficiency gauge that also tells the driver when the vehicle is in electric-only mode, engine-only mode, or a combination of the two and serves as a reminder the vehicle is on even if the engine is off.
The arrival of the Vue Green Line 2 Mode, which is scheduled to go into production in late 2008, questions the future of the existing "mild-hybrid" Vue Green Line. It appears GM is going to keep that model around as a lower-cost alternative, but the presence of two similarly named models may confuse some customers. Pricing and other details of the Vue Green Line 2 Mode will be released closer to launch.
Stay tuned to motortrend.com for all the latest news and information during the Detroit show press days, Jan. 13-15.