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By Jim Flammang
May 20, 2003
Vehicle Overview Only one engine will be available in the 2003 models of Oldsmobiles full-size near-luxury Aurora sedan: a 250 horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8. The previous V-6 engine, which was supposed to make the model more appealing to import-oriented shoppers, is no longer offered. Two new body colors will be available for the 2003 model year.
General Motors is in the process of phasing out the Oldsmobile brand, but the Aurora is expected to remain on sale through 2003. Because Oldsmobile has already dropped the midsize Intrigue sedan, the Aurora is one of only two passenger cars on sale at Oldsmobile dealerships. Unlike most General Motors models, the Aurora has no direct relative in other GM divisions.
New styling for the 2001 model year took place: a fresh, front-wheel-drive platform retained the muscular look of the original Aurora, but the sedan became more conservative in its overall shape in an attempt to broaden its attractive powers. Its resemblance to other Oldsmobiles is most evident up front, but the large taillights are suggestive of Jaguars rear lights. Rear fog lamps and a touring suspension are among the Auroras standard features.
Mounted on a 112.2-inch wheelbase, the sedan measures 199.3 inches long overall, 72.9 inches wide and 56.7 inches tall. Cast-aluminum wheels hold 17-inch tires. A power moonroof is optional.
Offered in just one trim level, the Aurora has seats for five passengers and sufficient headroom and legroom for taller folks in both the front and rear seats. The back cushion is low and its seatback is reclined, which may not please everyone who sits in the backseat. A wide opening makes it easy to load and unload the trunk, which has a capacity of 14.9 cubic feet. A small pass-thru from the trunk to the backseat allows owners to carry long objects.
GMs OnStar communication system, automatic-temperature air conditioning, an audio system with cassette and CD players, wood door trim panels and remote keyless entry are standard features. Heated seats and a trunk-mounted 12-CD changer are optional.
Under the Hood
The Aurora is able to run on regular-grade gasoline, and its 4.0-liter V-8 engine develops 250 hp and works with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, traction control, a tire-inflation monitor and side-impact airbags for the front seats. Active front head restraints move up and forward in a collision to reduce the chance of whiplash injury. All five seating positions have three-point lap-and-shoulder seat belts.
Passing power is greater with the Auroras V-8 engine than it was with the now-departed V-6, though that engine also performed admirably. A V-8-powered Aurora actually ranks as more vigorous than most owners need.
Considering its ample dimensions, the Aurora is a highly pleasing road car that handles with a very light touch. The tires on the V-8 model produce a stiffer, less absorbent ride than the V-6 model offered, which can get tedious when traveling through rough pavement.