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Will Saturn Vue Plug-In Hybrid Come Back as a Chevrolet?

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Will Saturn Vue Plug-In Hybrid Come Back as a Chevrolet?

We're scratching our heads over the camouflaged Saturn Vues our shooters have spotted putting around Michigan over the last week. They still have Saturn badging in the back, but what's with the taped over Chevrolet grille and Buick wheels? And then there's the hybrid badging down the side.

This almost certainly suggests that General Motors is considering a two-mode hybrid version of the Chevrolet Equinox, where you'd have a gas engine joining forces with a pair of electric motors built into the transmission.

But we think there's a chance this hybrid might be a plug-in, judging by the camo over the fender vent -- this is where the plug was on the Saturn Vue PHEV. That vehicle debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.

GM officials had said the plug-in Vue would use lithium-ion batteries and go on sale in late 2010, about the same time as the Chevrolet Volt. Notably, though, it was only going to have a 10-mile all-electric range, which almost defeats the point of having plug-in capability.

The other curious thing about the prototypes is that they all have a single exhaust outlet. The Vue Two-Mode Hybrid and PHEV were slated to use a directed-injected version of GM's 3.6-liter V6, and the show cars all had dual exhaust tips. The switch to a single could indicate that GM has decided to use a four-cylinder engine instead -- perhaps the direct-injected 2.4-liter.

We'll have to wait and see how this project develops, but it's clear GM hasn't given up on the idea of building hybrid crossover SUVs.

Update: We've added a photo of another of the "Vue Hybrid" prototypes after the jump. It lacks the Chevy grille treatment (but still has those Buick wheels), but since the shot was taken from the driver side, you can more clearly see the fender-mounted port that would take the charger cable -- not to be confused with the block-heater plug dangling from the front of the vehicle.



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Do you think GM spent that money just to drop it in the trash because they shut down a name plate?

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The Vue never went out of production... they still make the Chevy Captiva. Why not use that to test whatever plug in hybrid setup they're working on?

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