By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 Saturn Aura sedan is the most powerful salvo launched in Saturn's rejuvenation program. Riding alongside the hot SKY roadster and newly-launched Astra sedan and coupe, the Aura redefines the automaker's role as both import fighter and technology leader. 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 Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn's version feels more refined inside, outside and on the road. The latest model in Aura lineup is a gas-electric Aura hybrid formerly known as 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 2009 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.
If you're looking for a proven track record of reliability and resale, you'll find the Aura faces the unenviable task of competing with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, vehicles that have earned and deserve their status as the two best selling family sedans in the country.
Major changes to the Aura line include the discontinuation of the Green Line name, 3.5-liter V6 XE model and four-speed automatic transmission. The upscale XR trim can now be ordered with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, while Saturn's six-speed automatic transmission with tap shift becomes standard on all models except the Hybrid. StabiliTrak stability control is also made standard, as are redundant audio controls (XE, XR). On the Aura Hybrid, 17-inch alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tires replace 16-inch alloys.
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 four-cylinder engine is surprisingly smooth, delivering performance that is 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.
If you want a more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly form of transportation, you won't find a comparable hybrid model from Hyundai, Honda, Ford or Dodge..
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. Build quality is quite good, with tight gaps between body panels and doors, flush fitting glass and a number deep, lustrous paint color choices. Blind spots are relatively few, thanks the large expanse of side glass. 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 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, six-speed automatic transmission, six-speaker CD/CD-MP3 sound system with auxiliary audio input, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, automatic headlamps, cruise control, split-folding rear seatbacks and 17-inch steel wheels. Standard safety equipment includes electronic traction control, StabiliTrak stability control plus front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. XR trims add heated front seats, leather interior, power driver's seat and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Optional equipment includes a 3.6-liter V6 and 18-inch alloy wheels (XR), power glass sunroof, six-disc premium audio system with rear-seat wireless headphones, remote vehicle start, power-adjustable pedals, leather seats, heated front seats, and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity.
Thanks in part to variable valve timing and the advantage of a six-speed automatic transmission, the Aura XR's more powerful and sophisticated 3.6-liter engine returns outstanding performance with combined fuel economy acceptable to most family sedan shoppers. The frugal 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine provides adequate power and the best fuel economy in its segment. While far better than many domestic four-cylinders, the Aura's 2.4-liter engine is still not as smooth or refined as the four-cylinder engines of the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. A bonus of the new standard six-speed is steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
2.4-liter in-line 4
169 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
160 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33
2.4-liter in-line 4 Hybrid
164 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
159 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34
252 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
251 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26
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."
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."
5 people out of 12 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!"
1 person out of 4 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."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By K. A. Ike on Friday, October 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great features, solid construction, classy car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I absolutely love this car! This is one of the best cars I have ever owned (I'm 62). The color is a beautiful shade called "Ocean Mist". I have gotten so many compliments on it & told I look great in it, how nice. It rides great & has so many upscale features I thought would only be in expensive luxury cars. The price was so affordable for what's included. Being in MD the heated seats are wonderful in winter! Great comfort & driving ease on long road trips. I would love to have gotten a newer one but unfortunately 2009 was last year manufactured & I can never find a nicer looking car especially with that beautiful color of dark bluish-green, I have looked--no luck. I have 70,000 miles & still going strong!!"
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful