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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.


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.

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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