Junkyard Find: 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Honda beat everybody to the production gasoline-electric hybrid game in the United States, putting the Insight in showrooms in 1999. Toyota followed with the Prius a year later, but it took GM until 2006 to introduce its first true gasoline-electric hybrid here. That car was the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line, and I managed to find one in a Denver-area car graveyard recently.

Our nameless reviewer felt, back in 2006, that the Vue's panel gaps made it the "automotive equivalent of a shotgun shack" and calculated that the Green Line version would require 90,000 miles of driving with $2.15/gallon gas in order to recoup its cost over the pure-gazzoline version. In fact, fuel prices went insane right around the time that review was written.

If we look at the fine print, GM actually introduced a sort-of-a-hybrid vehicle as a 2004 model, though the 2004 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid/GMC Sierra Hybrid didn't have regenerative braking.

Ford launched the Escape Hybrid as a 2005 model (its Mercury Mariner and Mazda Tribute siblings showed up a bit later), so The General had some catching up to do in the green-car department. Nissan introduced the Altima Hybrid as a 2007 model (and using licensed Toyota hardware), though it disappeared quickly and without leaving much trace.

Toyota and Honda didn't have much to fear from the Vue Green Line's hybrid technology, but it did benefit from regenerative braking and delivered a pretty good 23 city/29 highway miles per gallon (versus 19/25 mpg for the base Vue with 2.2-liter engine and automatic).

The system replaced the starter motor and alternator with a belt-driven motor/generator rig that generated five horsepower and 48 pound-feet. A 2.4-liter Ecotec gas-burner did most of the work with its 170 horsepower.

You could get a manual transmission in the regular Vue, but the Green Line was slushbox-only.

The green paint has faded from this Green Line badge, but it was supposed to be the Gaia-loving counterpart to the planet-ravaging Saturn Ion Red Line. I have mounted Red Line and Green Line badges side-by-side on my garage wall, in order to represent the duality of man.

The storm clouds over General Motors were getting darker by the minute when this car was built, and Saturn would soon have its head on the chopping block. Geo and Oldsmobile were already gone, with Pontiac and Saturn following in 2010.

The entry-level '07 Vue started at $17,995 (about $27,588 in 2024 dollars), while the Green Line version had an MSRP of $22,995 ($35,254 after inflation). Even with $4/gallon gas ($6.13 gallon in today's money), it would have taken quite a while to break even with the Green Line.

The Vue's platform outlived Saturn and still lives today, though. You'll find its derivatives underpinning everything from the Suzuki XL7 to the Wuling Almaz, and it all began with the 2002 Vue.

The interior isn't bad, but a 17-year-old non-AWD car made by a long-defunct brand doesn't command much resale value these days.

There is a way to recapture the world's imagination. To stay the same in one way, and evolve in another. Chapter 11 bankruptcy was approaching quickly, by the way.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

A 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in a Colorado wrecking yard.

[Images: The Author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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5 of 20 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Mar 18, 2024

    I'll say one thing about those plastic bodies: they still look good after a decade and a half. Automakers should be sheathing their cars in petroleum-based plastic before they thin out the "sheet metal" to foil thickness.

    • See 1 previous
    • FreedMike FreedMike on Mar 18, 2024

      True, but the flip side was massive body panel gaps. Apparently the plastic would expand when it got hot.

  • Bof65705611 Bof65705611 on Mar 19, 2024

    There’s one of these around the corner from me. It still runs…driven daily, in fact. That fact always surprises me.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Mar 20, 2024

      That was the mistake of GM's bean counters. They figured to save by using GM's "old" drive trains, forgetting that GM's practice is to stop building them after they eliminate all the bugs. The "planned obsolescence" gimmick then went out the window with Saturns. They killed the brand to hide their shame.

  • FreedMike Very nice.
  • Rna65689660 I am beginning to believe that manufacturers purposely make the top of doors hard so that we stop resting our arms on them. Getting T-boned with your arm there would result in 2 elbows on the same side of your body.
  • 1995 SC I'll hold out for the VW Tassos
  • Gsc65794753 Volvo parts were rediculously expensive. That's what I remember.
  • Creekrat85 The right to work on your own stuff shall not be abridged. It's common sense. It's unAmerican to be authoritarian. A corporate authoritarian? Isn't that fascism? If the government colludes with a corporate authoritarian to restrict owner's manuals or not to be allowed to show how to make simple repairs or you cannot buy the parts yourself? That's what is wrong. It's benign neglect of the government and it is at the heart of Boeing and their problems, so they let Elon do more of the same over at Tesla ?... The analogy is poor. None of us passengers are going for a wing walk to repair something on a 737 Max. Using John Deere and the farm equipment for the right to work on your own stuff is the better analogy .... Just say no to the corporate authoritarian fascists, wherever they roam...