IMAGE: Saturn Vue hybrid SUV
Stan Honda  /  AFP-Getty Images file
The Saturn Vue hybrid SUV, seen here at the Detroit auto show last January, looks like its gasoline-only sibling, but has more horsepower and gets 20 percent better mileage.
msnbc.com
updated 5/24/2006 11:20:18 AM ET 2006-05-24T15:20:18

General Motors took a major step into the market for hybrid vehicles on Wednesday, announcing pricing for the 2007 gasoline-electric Saturn Vue that makes it the least expensive hybrid SUV available.

The base price for the 2007 Vue Green Line was set at $22,995, including destination charge. That’s about $4,000 less than the next least expensive hybrid SUV, the Ford Escape Hybrid.

The front-wheel drive Vue hybrid received a fuel economy rating of 27/32 mpg in city/highway driving by the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s 20 percent better than a non-hybrid Vue, but less than the Ford Escape Hybrid at 33/29 mpg for a two-wheel drive.

Like other hybrids, the Vue hybrid’s fuel saving features include:

The electric motor adds 27 more horsepower than the gasoline Vue, for a total of 170 in the hybrid.

“The Vue Green Line’s acceleration is comparable or better than similarly equipped non-hybrid SUVs,” Saturn said in a press release.

Saturn is producing the hybrids in Spring Hill, Tenn., and the first will begin arriving in showrooms later this summer.

Saturn, a GM division, also recently announced plans for a Green Line hybrid version of the Aura sedan in 2007.

Like other new hybrids, the Vue Green Line qualifies for a federal tax credit. The exact amount has yet to be determined for the Vue hybrid, but should be around the $2,000 for the Ford Escape Hybrid.

GM makes mild hybrid pickup trucks, but the 2007 Vue Green Line is its first entry into the full hybrid market.

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