Saturn Vue 2-mode hybrid - Click above to for high-res image gallery

One of our readers was was perusing the EPA's fuel economy listings and stumbled across a vehicle that we didn't even know had been rated. The two-mode hybrid version of the Saturn Vue had been scheduled to go into production in November 2008. However as General Motors careened toward financial apocalypse, many product programs were put on hold or canceled altogether. Among those was the new hybrid Vue which was delayed at least twice before finally being terminated altogether in late spring.

It appears that the EPA had already completed its testing regimen last fall and had officially rated the two-mode Vue at 27 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. Compared to the existing mild-hybrid Vue, this doesn't look that great, since that one also had a 28 mpg combined rating (25 city and 32 highway). The mild hybrid, of course, used a four cylinder engine while the 2-mode had the 3.6-liter V6, giving it much better performance and a 3,500 pound tow rating.

Saturn did pretty much hit their target of a 50 percent improvement in combined efficiency compared to the non-hybrid V6 Vue which was rated at 19 mpg combined. The Vue doesn't look as impressive as the Ford Escape hybrid – which is rated at 34/31 mpg – but the Ford is also four cylinder powered while being smaller and lighter. A closer comparison might be the Toyota Highlander hybrid which, while larger, is also V6 powered. The Toyota is rated at 27/25 mpg and 26 mpg combined.

The Vue will, of course, never be built. GM has promised to put the new hybrid system into other vehicles in its lineup, perhaps even with a smaller, more efficient engine, improving overall efficiency. Thanks to Mike for the tip!

Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2009 Saturn VUE 2 Mode Hybrid

All Photos Copyright © 2008 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: EPA]