Saturn announced this week that the new 2007 Aura Green Line hybrid’s MSRP will start at $22,695 (including destination charge), making it the lowest-priced hybrid on the market for 2007. In addition to its value-focused price, the Internal Revenue Service has certified that Aura Green Line buyers will qualify for a tax credit of $1,300. The Aura Green Line’s EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway represents up to a 30 percent improvement in EPA combined fuel economy compared to the non-hybrid Aura XE model (depending on driving conditions). The Aura is assembled at the General Motors Fairfax Plant in Kansas City , Kan. , and Green Line hybrid models are beginning to arrive at Saturn retail facilities. The hybrid system in the Aura combines sophisticated controls with a precise electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4-liter engine. The system delivers fuel economy gains by providing electric power assist during acceleration, through early fuel cut-off during deceleration with torque smoothing and by shutting the engine off at idle. The system also captures electrical energy through regenerative braking. The vehicle’s hybrid powertrain produces 164 horsepower (122 kW) at 6400 rpm and 159 lb.-ft. (215 Nm) of peak torque at 5000 rpm. Saturn’s new hybrid sedan is based on the all-new Aura midsize sedan, which garnered the 2007 North American Car of the Year award. The Green Line features the same comprehensive safety package that earned Aura a full five stars in government frontal and side-impact crash tests, placing it among the safest vehicles available. (Visit safercar.gov for details.) Key standard features include dual-stage front, side head-curtain and front-seat thorax protection air bags; StabiliTrak electronic stability control; four-wheel disc brakes with ABS; and GM’s OnStar safety and security system. The Aura Green Line is one of four hybrids that Saturn has announced. The 2007 Vue Green Line, which debuted last summer using the same hybrid technology as the Aura Green Line, provides the highest EPA estimated highway fuel economy of any SUV at 32 mpg. In 2008, Saturn will offer the Vue Green Line with the first front-wheel-drive application of GM’s new, 2-mode hybrid system that is expected to deliver up to a 45-percent improvement in combined city and highway fuel economy compared with the non-hybrid Vue. A plug-in hybrid that has the potential to achieve double the fuel efficiency of any current SUV, is also in development for the Vue. This hybrid SUV will use a modified version of GM’s 2-mode hybrid system and plug-in technology. A Lithium-ion battery pack, when ready, along with highly efficient electronics and powerful electric motors, will achieve even greater increases in fuel economy. Complete information on the Aura Green Line and the rest of Saturn’s lineup can be found on the Web at www.saturn.com.