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Hybrid savings: Winners and losers

Consumer Reports crunches the numbers on hybrid vehicles that pay back the fastest and some that don't make dollar sense.

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Winner: Saturn Vue Green Line
Cost: $26,920
Fuel economy (CR test): 28 mpg
Total 5-year savings: $4,550

In its October issue, Consumer Reports magazine looks at the overall financial benefit of 12 different hybrid vehicles. The analysis takes into account initial outlays compared with similar non-hybrid vehicles, as well as fuel, insurance, maintenance and deprecation costs.

The Saturn Vue Green Line comes out on top when looking at five-year total cost savings, according to Consumer Reports.

The cost of the Vue's mild-hybrid system is small compared to its competitors' full-hybrid systems. The added cost of a Vue Green Line over a non-hybrid Vue is about $2,300. Compare that to an added $5,600 for a Ford Escape Hybrid over a regular Escape.

And the Vue's mild hybrid system, which isn't strong enough to move the vehicle on pure electric power, gives the vehicle a bigger fuel economy boost than you might expect. The front-wheel-drive Green Line gets six more miles out of each gallon.

NEXT: Winner: Toyota Camry Hybrid
Last updated September 03 2008: 11:51 AM ET
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