The VUE is a perfectly sized vehicle for our needs. The back seat is roomy (though a bit low to the floor), and there is ample space behind the rear seat. The clever cargo organizer remains in the GL, and it's equipped to tow up to 1500 lbs. The only downside is the lack of a spare tire.
The Hybrid package (GM's BAS system) is quite simple in design and operation. It operates as you'd expect, with the engine shutting down at stoplights and charging the battery with regenerative braking. It is VERY smooth in its transitions, and with a lack of much hybrid instrumentation, is easy to forget you're driving a hybrid. The design's simplicity is evident in the price tag and the gas mileage, which improves about 20% over a standard VUE automatic. It's actually a very small premium when one considers the additional standard equipment, such as alloy wheels, upgraded exterior trim, and the larger 2.4 liter ecotec engine. It's one of the few hybrids that will likely make a return on your investment over a short amount of time (depending on how much you drive and how long you keep the car, of course).
The "mild" hybrid system results in "mild" improvement in mileage--we get the EPA estimates (27 city, 32 highway) --about 20% better than a standard VUE 4-cylinder automatic. However, the larger ecotec engine in the GL and electric assist provide better performance. It is not, and doesn't intend to be, a Prius or other such sophisticated hybrids. If you buy it intending to get Prius mileage, you'll be disappointed. If you buy it to get great SUV mileage for a low price, you will be delighted.
It drives and handles very well, although the seats lack supporting side bolsters. The ride is very compliant for an SUV, and the electric power steering is actually nice to use. The powertrain is quiet and smooth, and has plenty of zip for most folks. The vehicle will go into charge mode upon coasting, yielding a slightly labored coast--much like a vehicle with a manual transmission. It's easy to get used to, though, and will probably allow for greater brake lining life. The ecotec engine is a good design, and it has a traditional automatic transmission (versus a CVT) that has proven to be very reliable. All hybrid components are covered by an 8 year, 100k mile warranty, adding some peace of mind.
The only improvements I would make would be to redesign the front seat armrests (they are too high for comfort), add grab handles, and reduce wind noise. The car is actually very quiet compared to previous VUE models, but wind noise is noticeable when driving in a crosswind.
The VUE Green Line is a capable, efficient vehicle that is very well designed and built. It won't appeal to everyone, but is an appropriate combination of efficiency, simplicity, and price for the most buyers. I would highly recommend considering it, and I will continue to update this review as the vehicle ages.