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By Cars.com Staff
June 20, 2008
Vehicle Overview The five-seat Aura Hybrid features GM's Hybrid System, which consists of an electric motor/generator teamed with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This system is not as advanced as the company's two-mode hybrid system, which is offered in the Saturn Vue. The Hybrid System, however, provides fuel economy savings of up to 25 percent overall. Saturn's hybrid lineup once carried the moniker Green Line, but that name has been discontinued for 2009. Competitors include the Nissan Altima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid.
New for 2009 The 2009 Aura Hybrid has a recalibrated hybrid system that delivers enhanced overall gas mileage.
Exterior Few styling cues differentiate the Aura Hybrid from the conventional Aura, which means the stylish, well-proportioned looks carry over. There are hybrid badges on the front doors and trunklid, and for 2009 hybrid decals are added on the windshield and back glass. The Aura Hybrid measures about 191 inches in length and 70 inches wide, roughly the same as its competitors.
New 17-inch alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires
Deck lid badging moves from bright bar to painted surface
Available all-season package includes molded splash guards
European-inspired side fender turn signals
Interior As with the exterior, few details distinguish the Aura Hybrid interior from the conventional Aura. Instead of an engine temperature gauge, the Aura Hybrid's three-pod gauge cluster has a charge/assist meter that shows what the hybrid battery is doing. Besides the traditional numerical increments, the tachometer has an "Auto Stop" indicator that shows when the engine has been shut off by the hybrid system. Interior volume comes in at 98 cubic feet — slightly smaller than the passenger compartment of the Camry and Altima — with 13 cubic feet of space in the truck. That's larger than the Altima's but smaller than the Camry's.
Air conditioning system has a special hybrid mode
Standard cruise control
Newly available leather seats
Newly available Bluetooth phone connectivity
Available all-season package includes rubber floormats
Under the Hood The Aura Hybrid gets its name by what's under the hood, which is a gasoline engine mated to an electric motor/generator that assists in acceleration. The car's engine shuts off during idling and uses regenerative braking to recharge the batteries that power the electric motor. The energy management and regenerative braking system have been recalibrated -- delivering an estimated 26/34 mpg city/highway, a slight improvement over the 2008's mileage estimates.
164-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder (159 pounds-feet of torque)
Electronic power steering
Four-wheel disc brakes
Safety The Aura Hybrid receives all the same safety amenities as the conventional Aura.
Front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
Traction control and an electronic stability control
OnStar comes standard, including a free year of Safe and Sound service, which alerts authorities in the event of a collision and provides crash data