By KBB.com Editors
The 2008 Saturn Aura sedan is the second salvo in Saturn's rejuvenation war, joining the hot SKY roadster and soon-to-be-launched Astra sedan and coupe. Like the SKY roadster, the Aura is more stylish and 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. Joining the lineup this year is a gas-electric Aura hybrid dubbed the Aura Green Line. Even as Saturn begins unleashing its most appealing cars ever, the automaker has committed to maintaining its popular "no haggle" pricing policy.
The 2008 Saturn 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.
A four-cylinder model joins the lineup featuring GM's proven 2.4-liter engine. XM Satellite Radio is made standard across the line, while the XE V6 receives StabiliTrak stability control.
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 V6 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 midsize 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 3.5-liter V6 (XE), a 3.6-liter V6 (XR), 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. The frugal 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine provides adequate power, but is not as smooth or refined as the four-cylinder engines of the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
2.4-liter inline 4
169 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
160 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30
2.4-liter inline 4 hybrid
164 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
159 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/32
219 horsepower @ 5900 rpm
219 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/29
252 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
251 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26
By sam on Friday, August 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I have owned this car for 2 years and six months. I have found it to be a very reliable average car. Does have very good acceleration and gets decent gas mileage 19.8 - 25 No major issues."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By base on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "two options packages,"
Cons: "no new models"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"remote start and front seat warmers. Precise and responsive handling. All service records available. Extremely reliable, super fun to drive. Most mileage (above 90%) is freeway driving. Don't know what make/model to buy now. Would like to buy a new auto, but I am afraid nothing currently available will not be disappointing after this one. Most features were standard equipment. Parts rarely needed, but GM does make them readily available."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mik on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun and a safe drive great for a college student"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"would be the perfect car for a parent to buy for their college student!!!!!! It's beautiful!!!!!Has the wood dashboard and a great stereo and disc player, which I never used. I'm an older woman who does not drive anymore. a 6 cyl automatic transmission, and all mechanical paperwork, for oil changes and any (one recall)can be proven. I love this car!!! but don't drive it enough to keep it. 11,000.00 or best offer to a private party only."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Bobby on Saturday, May 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great power, fun to drive"
Cons: "uses more gas than i would like in town"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car when I was a traveling salesman with 5 western states. It was the most comfortable car for long distances I had ever had. I could walk when I got out after 500 miles. That could not be said of other cars i have had over the years. It is quiet, comfy, a well designed interior and I have had zero problems in the life of the vehicle since new."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Kyle Ryan on Monday, May 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks like a million bucks & costs way less"
Cons: "The "tilt" stering moves about 2 inches"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is an awesome car! The outside is so sharp looking, I laugh at people in Acura or Cadillac since I know they spent way more and their car is as sharp as mine. The outside is so sharp, with the curves & wheels. The inside with the styling and features. You get a 220 or 250 horsepower engine, if you want a Camry or Accord with that same engine, it costs about $4000 more. The look, the style, the performance, the price, everything about this car is excellent. If you missed out, go for a Regal or Malibu since all the information from the Aura was passed on to these models."
By tradeintime on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Cons: "Too many leaks, marginal qulity fit/finish."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Too many issues with fit/finish. Too many little leaks. Driver's power window is glitchy. Driver's Seat weld broke underneath so seat leans if raised at all. Very noisy if performance tires are used."