Thursday, May 24, 2007

What a Vue!

When Parentbloggers asked for interested reviewers to test-drive the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line (a four-wheel drive hybrid), I was all, “Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick meeeeee!” We plan to buy a new vehicle soon but were unsure as to what exactly we wanted. But with gas price soaring, we (like tons of other people) are seriously considerating a hybrid. And besides, I really like Saturn’s “no haggle” sales policy.

When the Green Line Vue was delivered to our front door and we were told we could “treat this vehicle as you would your own”, I felt a bit sorry for Saturn. They obviously don’t realize we have a spastic dog with a shedding problem who LOVES to go for car rides. Nor did they realize how many meals we actually eat in the car while on the run.

We did treat the vehicle as our own. (They are probably still finding cookie crumbs and dog hair in the seat creases weeks later.) But as a result, we drove the vehicle everywhere we needed to be (even took it on a few date nights). And by the end of two weeks, we were sad to bid our peppy little friend farewell.

What I liked:
First off, it felt like such a luxury to drive a vehicle that doesn’t smell like vomit. (Our son threw up in our current vehicle three times in the first 6 months of ownership. What didn’t help was the summer heat that baked in the smell. So even after almost two years of ownership, there’s still a lingering scent.) We loved the hybrid’s leather seats. The temperature controls quickly heat or cool to one’s liking. Plus? The interior seems surprisingly roomy for a mini suv. And the radio/cd player sound is great. Just those basics were enough to keep us happily reaching for the Vue keys.

The Green Line Vue arrived at our house with a full tank of gas. Since the vehicle boasts a fuel efficiency of 27 city miles per gallon and 32 highway miles per gallon, I was eager to see how far that amount of gas would take us. I usually need to fill the tank of my 4-cylinder Honda CRV once every five days. With the Vue’s hybrid engine, I was able to extend that by an extra two days!

And speaking of the engine – it is fairly quiet at faster speeds. When the vehicle stops and energy is drawn from the battery, the hybrid is so silent, some reviewers have thought the car stalled! (But it didn’t. The hybrid is as eager to get moving as you are!)

A few other mentions:
While the engine is peppy enough for city driving (going from 0 to 35 mph within a short distance), the biggest complaint for us was how sluggish the vehicle was when on an interstate going uphill. While there were no problems reaching a speed of 65-70 miles per hour on a flat stretch of interstate, the vehicle couldn't maintain that speed while driving up a fairly steep incline. (If you don’t do much highway driving -- especially in hilly regions – this is probably a non-issue. But being that grandparents live on the outskirts of the Ozarks, we tackle hilly terrain at least once a month.)

Also, while I found the steering to be very responsive, the turning radius wasn’t as tight as the vehicle we own now.

And another thing...
The Green Line Vue (which starts at $22,370 standard retail price) got a lot of attention wherever we drove. Our son’s preschool teachers, other preschool parents, neighbors, family members and friends all asked about the vehicle. (You wouldn’t believe how many times I was stopped in parking lots or even at a traffic light and quizzed about the hybrid’s handling, gas mileage and price.)

All in all, we did enjoy our stint as Saturn Vue Hybrid drivers. And by the overwhelmingly positive responses we received, I think a lot of people are looking upon the Saturn Vue Green Line with great hope and interest.

This review was written for The Parent Bloggers Network. If you have a product you'd like PBN to review, click on this link for more info.

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