I have a confession.
I've never bought a car. Ever.
When I was 16, my dad brought home a 1968 Chevy Impala 4-door. I still dream about that car. At 19, in college, I drove a 1984 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Thanks again Dad. When we got married, my In Laws gave us a Honda. As things go, when baby #1 was due, my husband picked out an Isuzu Trooper. I believe that purchase happened one visit to his parents. He and his dad went browsing, and returned with car keys. Finally, with baby #3 on the approach, we bought our current vehicle, the Suburban, from his dad. I really don't care what I drive, as long as when the key goes into the ignition it starts.
Why am I telling you this?
In April, I was given the opportunity to test drive the Saturn VUE Greenline. Someone wants my opinion on a car? This isn't a book or home product test. It's a car. They were going to let me drive a car for a week. I thought it sounded pretty cool.
Monday, this arrived in my driveway:
Shiny. Clean. Inside and out. As any parent will attest, that is difficult to maintain. The gentleman that dropped it off was pleasant and friendly, but the moment he left, the kids and I checked it out, but not before we had the, "This is not our car. We will be nice to it. We will not eat in it." talk. I was surprised by the amount of room in the back:The rear seat is split, so either part or all of it can fold down for more cargo room.
Also, I found another feature that I really like:
A fold up cargo bay for smaller purchases. Those pesky grocery sacks won't have a chance to spew groceries all over. I mean those canvas totes won't have a chance...
We moved the two car seats over, and my daughter still had enough room in the middle. The kids and I had a great time scooting around town, feeling rather sporty. I had a hard time not comparing it to the Suburban. Once I stopped, I really enjoyed driving it. The car handled well, and knowing that I was getting better gas milage made me smile.
The thing I like the most: it boasts 27 city, 32 highway MPG. The hybrid system is designed to give 20% better fuel economy than the standard VUE engine. The electric motor is there for assistance, not to drive the vehicle on its own.
The only dramatic difference I noticed when driving was in coming to a complete stop, the engine cuts out and goes to strictly electric. While the car is stopped and the brake is on, the car just sits there. The auxillary power still works - the radio, air, and windows still work. As soon as my foot lifted off the brake, the engine went back to a normal idle. It only freaked me out the first couple times.
The next Monday, I surrendered the vehicle. I was a little sad to see it go. If I'd been thinking, we'd have planned a day trip somewhere, to see how it handled on a longer haul. Monday afternoon, I noticed I'd left the garage door opened in the vehicle. I called my 'contact' and two days later received it via overnight delivery. Excellent service!
The beauty of this vehicle is the cost. The Green Line Vue starts at $23,495. As gas prices continue to rise, Saturn has created a more affordable hybrid for the masses.