2008 Saturn Vue:

LA Auto Show – Saturn's Green Line Expands: 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line

Among the alternative fuel production and concept cars making news at the Los Angeles auto show this week was Saturn‘s 2007 Aura and the announcement of the 2008 Vue Green Line along with the standard Vue. Both the Aura and the 2008 Vue use the same hybrid powertrain as the 2007 Vue Green Line. (The Vue Green Line only went on sale in summer 2006, click here for our discussion of the Vue Green Line’s January 2006 introduction.) Saturn’s Green Line vehicles use a mild hybrid, which does not run on full electric power, but Saturn is promising a base price of less than $23,000 for the Aura (about the same cost as the 2007 Vue Green Line). The 2007 Aura Green Line goes on sale in spring 2007, and GM promises a 25 percent fuel-economy improvement over the XE, which uses the 224HP 3.5L V6, at a premium of less than $2500.

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The Aura and Vue use the same hybrid powertrain, a 2.4L DOHC 16v I4, four-speed automatic transmission, and an electric motor/generator. Though the car doesn’t move under electric power, the system saves fuel by shutting off the engine when the car is stopped (and reviving the engine as soon as the brake pedal is released), enabling early fuel shut off in deceleration, and using regenerative braking to capture kinetic energy during deceleration.
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All in all, these are not the most impressive hybrids offered. As mild hybrids, the electric engine only serves as a helper, so fuel savings aren’t as dramatic as those with full hybrid systems (Ford Escape, Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry). Of course, the full hybrid systems are far more expensive and it isn’t certain if either option would ever really pay for itself. With the Green Line products, you get what you pay for: a little bit of fuel savings for a little bit of extra money.
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Opel Antara: First Images Released

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Your First Look at the 2008 Saturn Vue
General Motors is wisely pairing Saturn and Opel brands to help revive Saturn at a minimal cost, as well as getting Opel a couple of new products just as efficiently. This strategy is being implemented with several new models for 2007 and 2008 model year. We’ve already reported on the Saturn Aura, which borrows from Opel sedans in Europe, and the Saturn Sky, which was takes cues from an Opel concept and shares more than a passing resemblance to the new Opel GT. Next to come to market will be the Saturn Vue and Opel Antara.
These four-door, car-based SUVs were previewed by a concept called the Opel Antara GTC at the 2005 Frankfurt auto show and called the Saturn PreVue at the 2006 New York auto show. Differences between the Saturn concept and the Opel concept were found in the badge; both even sported the same 212HP four-cylinder diesel and six-speed automatic powerplant. Opel will get the production version first, just as they showed the concept first. The Opel Antara goes on sale by the end of the 2006 and gets a formal introduction at the 2006 Paris auto show this September. Ahead of the show introduction, however, Opel has released intial photos. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice are happy to bring them to you.

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The 2007 Opel Antara should give us a remarkably accurate peek at the 2008 Saturn Vue. A contemporary and attractive family look is shaping up for Saturn, which the updated Vue should complement nicely, and the inspiration by Opel may prove to be a very smart decision and wise allocation of resources. These two brands can share themes and products more easily than GM’s North American brands. As there is no intention of bringing the Opel brand to the States or Saturn to Europe, there is no need to be concerned with cannibalization of one another’s sales.


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