By KBB.com Editors
The Aura sedan is the second piece of the puzzle that promises to reveal, within a short couple of years, a completely reinvented Saturn. Like the SKY roadster introduced earlier in 2006, the Aura is more stylish and more confident than anything Saturn produced in its first 15 years of existence. Although the Aura shares a platform with the Pontiac G6, Saturn's version feels significantly more refined inside, outside and on the road. Later, a gas-electric Aura is scheduled to arrive as GM's first hybrid sedan. Even as Saturn begins unleashing its most appealing cars ever, the automaker has committed to maintaining its popular "no haggle" pricing policy.
The Aura's confident styling is backed up by eager handling combined with a comfortable and surprisingly quiet highway ride. An attractive, well-appointed interior and overall sense of refinement solidify the sedan's appeal.
While the Aura boasts the most powerful base engine in its class, the lack of an available four-cylinder engine means a lack of four-cylinder fuel economy. The Aura also faces the still-unenviable task of competing with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, vehicles that have earned and deserve their status as the two best-selling cars in the country.
Attractive, refined and enthusiastic, the Saturn Aura is the most convincing Accord/Camry alternative we've seen from any GM brand.
Driving Impressions Despite the athletic styling and eager stance, we weren't sure exactly what to expect from the Aura once we got behind the wheel. Having seen the spec sheet we did...anticipate a healthy dose of get-up and go from the XR model, but we didn't expect such smooth shifts from the six-speed automatic transmission. The XE's powertrain isn't as refined, but it's more than adequate and downright competitive. The passenger cabin remained notably quiet on the highway, and the Aura handled twisty two-lane roads better than most mid-size sedans this comfortable.
When it comes to sunroofs, bigger is almost always better. The Aura's multi-panel panoramic glass sunroof consists of a front panel that angles up as a deflector and three others that retract and stack at the rear.
Rear-seat Wireless Headphones
Although the Aura doesn't offer a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, it does offer two sets of wireless headphones to accommodate differing music tastes.
The Aura's interior is defined by the attractive styling, quality materials and overall sense of refinement that have begun permeating the passenger cabins of more and more domestic entries. There are still details to be polished, but to compare the Aura's interior with that of earlier Saturns is to contrast two different automotive eras. The mere availability of the unique Morocco Brown leather package furthers the Aura's contemporary image. Ambient cabin illumination enhances the upscale feel at night.Exterior
In addition to the chrome-bar grille serving as the new face of Saturn, the Aura is distinguished by big, expressive headlamps, a sleek profile with sharply defined fender flares and distinctive LED taillamps. Aura XR models have 18-inch alloy wheels (in place of standard-issue 17-inch steel wheels), chrome door handles and front foglamps.
Included as standard equipment on a base Aura XE are a six-speaker CD/CD-MP3 sound system with auxiliary audio input, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, automatic headlamps, cruise control, split folding rear seatbacks and 17-inch steel wheels. Standard safety equipment includes electronic traction control plus front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.
Optional equipment includes a traditional glass sunroof or four-panel panoramic glass sunroof, six-disc premium audio system with rear-seat wireless headphones, remote vehicle start, power adjustable pedals, leather seats, heated front seats, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and electronic stability control.
Thanks in part to variable valve timing and the advantage of a six-speed automatic transmission, the Aura XR's more powerful, more sophisticated 3.6-liter engine returns combined fuel economy almost as good as that of the XE's 3.5-liter engine. The XR also offers the added benefit of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
224 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
220 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/30
252 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
251 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28
By Don on Thursday, March 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Style, performance, low maintenance"
Cons: "They don't make them anymore!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I didn't know these cars even existed until I saw it the dealer's lot. We were looking for an SUV for my wife. When I saw the excellent body styling comparable to much higher-end midsize cars, high performance motor and suspension, 6 speed paddle shift auto trans, power leather heated seats, power moon roof, 5 CD changer, 18" aluminum wheels w/low profile tires and remote start, I bought it on the spot and got a flaming deal. Then I drove it. Wow!! It really moves and handles. I've had it 5 years and it's still worth $5000 more than I owe. Very little maintenance and it still looks current. This is the way cars ought to be, good looking, high fun, low maintenance and low cost. If Saturn had introduced these cars a few years earlier maybe they wouldn't have gone out of business."
By jules on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Super fun to drive"
Cons: "great, just a little to far back"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I live up state NY and do a lot of driving to and from work, plus I drive to and from Brooklyn to very frequently ,and it has served me very well. Great car."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By dana on Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "It has a lot of guts....very quick acceleration."
Cons: "Interior cloth not good quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Very pleased with the almost 8 years of ownership of this car.Very reliable and low maintanence.I needed tires after 65K...most people say that is great. Never had a problem with the exhaust system. All around great car."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By Garrett on Saturday, November 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "quick car due to large engine and small body style"
Cons: "Paint flaking off in interior and rarely outside"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Reasonably well performing car, the 3.5 V6 has plenty of pick up, and the body style is still stylish by today's standards. Gas mileage is average for a big V6, and the car's interior is fairly cheap like that found on many GM cars. But overall value is good. The price was right, and the car has been very reliable with minimal service (mostly oil changes, which are super-easy to do yourself on this car, and fluid top-offs). The car's rotors were not engineered to be adequate on the front in my estimate. I went through 2 sets of rotors on the front tires because of constant warpage. I finally purchased a higher end rotor with pre-drilled/slotted characteristics and it's been fine ever since."
6 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Sam on Sunday, November 09, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Expensive Upkeep
Pros: "Very stylish"
Cons: "$$$ eater"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I purchased a used saturn aura about 3 years ago with less than 40,000 miles on it. Reading the other reviews for this car, I feel I must have gotten a lemon or the owner before me took very bad care of the car. In less than 3 years, I put about $8,000 into this car. Needed a new transmission, new tires almost every 6 months (costing over $1000), new brakes constantly, and the gas mileage was way worse than I was expecting! I just sold it for less than $5,000, when the KBB price was over $7,000. I wouldn't recommend the car, seeing as saturn went out of business. BUt all the other reviews are pretty good, so maybe I just had bad luck!"
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By AuraDriver on Wednesday, November 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have a 2009 Aura and I have to say it's the best car I've had to date for looks, reliability and performance. It handles well in the snow and other driving conditions. I really feel it was a good choice for me . I feel safe in the car and feel I got my money's worth . I wish they were still made."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful