Chicago Auto Show: 2008 Saturn Vue Red Line, Green Line

Saturn's set to launch its latest Vue Red Line and Green Line Hybrid models at the Chicago show. Naturally, the Red Line is the tricked version, with the lowered suspension, 18-inch alloys and DOHC 3.6-liter V6 VVT engine producing 250 hp at 6,500 rpm and 243 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. The Green Line Hybrid doesn't yet have GM's new two-mode system, but rather the same 2.4-liter, alternator-based system with stop-start functionality as the current model. The company says the new system will be introduced in the third quarter of 2007, though no plug-in yet. But a press release indicated the PR-coup plug-in system, shown in concept form at the Los Angeles show last year, is a "top priority" for the company. Deduct 100 points for awkward management of expectations.

Press Release:

SATURN DEBUTS 2008 VUE RED LINE AND GREEN LINE HYBRID

Specialized Models Provide Bold Looks, Performance Tuning, Fuel Savings and Value

CHICAGO - Saturn announced two new variants of the completely redesigned 2008 Vue crossover utility at the Chicago Auto Show: the performance-tuned Red Line and the affordable, fuel-saving Green Line hybrid.

The Red Line builds on the new Vue's bold styling with an aggressive front-end design, including a large, lower air opening and projector beam fog lamps. The rear of the vehicle features a special fascia, spoiler and chrome exhaust tips. A lowered suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and Red Line badges complete the performance-inspired appearance.

From a performance perspective, the Red Line comes with standard tap up/tap down transmission control and sport-tuned ride and handling. It is powered by a dual overhead cam 3.6L V-6 VVT engine that delivers 250 horsepower (186 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 243 lb.-ft. (329 Nm) of torque at 4,400 rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Vue Red Line will be available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Interior modifications include a Red Line-only Ebony interior, including black leather sport seats with suede fabric inserts. The vehicle also features Red Line-logo instrument cluster graphics and embroidered floor mats.

Green Line hybrid

The 2008 Vue Green Line hybrid will continue to provide consumers with an affordable hybrid that also provides uncompromised utility.

The hybrid system on the Vue Green Line combines sophisticated controls with an electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4L four-cylinder engine and a modified four-speed automatic transmission. The system saves fuel by providing an electric power assist during acceleration; shutting off the engine at idle; early fuel cut-off during deceleration and capturing electrical energy through regenerative braking. Fuel economy figures for the 2008 Vue will be announced later.

The 2008 Vue was first shown last November at the Greater Los Angeles International Auto Show, as an uplevel XR model. At the show, Saturn also announced it will offer a version of the Vue Green Line with GM's new two-mode hybrid system, in the third quarter of 2008 . This system will provide a 45-percent improvement in fuel economy compared to its non-hybrid counterpart.

Additionally, General Motors committed to producing a plug-in version of the Vue Green Line that will double the fuel economy performance of any SUV currently on the market. No date has been set for the introduction of the plug-in hybrid, but it is a top priority for the company.

The Vue XR (and base-level XE) will arrive at Saturn retailers this spring. The Vue Red Line will arrive in the third quarter of 2007 and the Vue Green Line hybrid will arrive in the fourth quarter of 2007.

All-new Vue

All 2008 Vue models feature the Saturn's new design cues and European-inspired performance characteristics. Standard equipment highlights include:

MacPherson strut independent front suspension with stabilizer bar
Independent multi-link rear suspension with stabilizer bar
Double-isolated engine cradle \
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS
GM StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing system
Traction control
Hydraulically assisted power steering on V-6 models
Dual-stage frontal air bags, front-seat side thorax air bags and head curtain air bags covering front and rear rows
Front-row safety belt pretensioners
Collapsible pedals
Active head restraints
OnStar with one year Safe & Sound service

The 2008 Vue Saturn joins the Sky roadster, Aura sedan and the Outlook crossover utility in the revitalized Saturn portfolio. Saturn also introduced the 2008 Astra small car at the Chicago show.

Related:
Spy Photos: Saturn Vue Red Line; LA Auto Show: 2008 Saturn Vue [internal]