By Rex Roy
Remember when Saturn offered buyers a different kind car because it was a different kind of car company? While a brilliant advertising campaign, it used to be true. Saturns had their own chassis, polymer body panels, engines, manufacturing plants, dealerships… the works.
If you haven’t been paying attention (and millions haven’t) Saturn is now just another division of General Motors. This may not be a bad thing. The old L-Series were forgettable, Ions were lamentable, and their Relay minivans don’t even warrant a descriptor.
Saturn’s soon-to-be current lineup looks much better. The Aura sedan is terrific. The Sky is an oh-so-fine roadster. And the new Outlook crossover is available just as people are awakening to the stupidity of using big SUVs for minivan tasks. The recently announced 2008 Astra completes the picture, adding a dash of European flair to the division that GM neglected like an ugly stepchild for so many years.
But what about the 2007 Saturn Vue? How does it fit in? Actually, it’s a holdover from the original Saturn way of doing things. Unlike other vehicles that share its basic architecture (Chevrolet Equinox, Pontiac Torrent, Suzuki XL7), the Vue has rustproof and dent-resistant body panels and its own engine lineup. For years the Vue has been GM’s only SUV to offer the corporation’s efficient Ecotec four-cylinder. The optional motor, strangely, was a fine Honda-sourced 3.5-liter V-6. For 2007, Saturn added another unique engine, a mild hybrid. This is the topic du jour.
Since plenty has been written about the gasoline-powered Saturn Vue in standard and high-performance Red Line trim, we’ll focus attention on what makes the Vue Green Line different. It’s all under the hood.