By James Bergeron

Photo Gallery:
2008 Saturn Vue

Day 1:

2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid
Click Image to Enlarge

Just when gas prices seem to be at an all-time high across the country, my vehicle this week is the stylish new Saturn Vue SUV, but not just any Vue: a hybrid version and GM’s answer to Ford’s Escape Hybrid. Starting at only $30,790, the Saturn Vue Hybrid is less expensive than Ford’s Escape but only available in a front wheel drive variant.

Although the Vue is what most call a “mild” hybrid, it still provides approximately 25 per cent better fuel economy than a standard four-cylinder Vue. The system employed by GM is called the BAS (Belt/Alternator/Starter) system; read Jim Kerr’s excellent technical article on the system on Autos

2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid
Click Image to Enlarge

GM and the Saturn division have been making improvements to their vehicles in leaps and bounds in the past year or two and the Vue is no exception. Much-improved styling inside and out make this Vue more appealing to all and, of course, all plastic exterior panels have been eliminated from the Saturn showroom.

The Saturn division is certainly delivering what they promised: the Vue possesses a European-inspired look and feel, very much like the Astra hatchback. Standard equipment is plentiful in the Vue including: steering wheel mounted radio controls, tire pressure monitor, power windows and door locks and remote keyless entry, cruise control and automatic front air-conditioning.

My tester adds the Hybrid premium package for $1,455 which adds: eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, XM satellite radio, heated windshield washer nozzles, rain sensing wipers, heated outside mirrors and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

The Vue Hybrid is powered by a 2.4L DOHC I4 Ecotec engine and is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. It is only available with front-wheel drive, unlike like its rival, the Ford Escape hybrid which is available in both all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive layouts

2008 Saturn Vue Hybrid
MSRP as tested (including destination): $33,545

For more information on Saturn and the Vue visit GM Canada

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