The 2007 Saturn Aura midsize sedan, a sister of the Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6, takes the place vacated by the L-Series, last sold as a 2005 model. Saturn is getting a lot more love than it has in years, with a series of exclusives and firsts. The Aura will be the first General Motors car to employ a new six-speed automatic transmission developed with Ford for use with front- and all-wheel drive. Saturn says the Aura will also be GM's first hybrid car.
The Aura launches with two trim levels, the XE and the XR. The hybrid will be a separate trim level, the Aura Green Line.
The Aura looks larger and more mature than its platform-sharing sister sedans. It bears the new Saturn styling direction first seen in the Sky roadster, and it looks good here. Upscale touches include LED taillights and body-colored door handles as standard equipment on the Aura XE. The XR trim level has chrome door handles, front fog lights and twin tailpipes, and it replaces the XE's 17-inch steel wheels with 18-inch, 14-spoke aluminum rims. The auto show prototype wore Goodyear Eagle LS2 all-season tires.
Saturn is keeping up with the Joneses with two-tone interiors and improved materials quality. While the effort is admirable, something about the XR show car's Morocco Brown leather didn't jibe with the gray plastic, no matter how much the plastic may have improved. Leather of any color is an option on both trim levels.
A driver's seat with a power height adjustment is standard. An eight-way power seat is optional on the XE and standard on the XR, as are heated front seats. There's also an optional power passenger seat.
Like the models that share this platform, the XR includes remote engine start. An option that's familiar from the G6, the panoramic moonroof uses several glass sections rather than one piece. When the moonroof is opened, these planks sit stacked above the roof.
Under the Hood
While the new six-speed automatic makes its debut in the Aura, it's only available in the higher XR trim level, where it's mated to a 252-horsepower, 3.6-liter aluminum V-6. The Aura XE gets a 3.5-liter cast-iron V-6 that generates 224 hp. It drives a four-speed automatic. The six-speed has a clutchless-manual mode and steering-wheel-mounted shift levers; the four-speed does not.
The Aura Green Line will combine a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and battery pack. Saturn says it will come "later in the year."
Saturn predicts gas mileage ratings of 20/30 mpg (city/highway) for the XE and 18/27 for the more powerful XR.
Perhaps the best news is that the Aura is equipped with conventional hydraulic steering. While GM's electric steering brings some efficiency to the Malibu and versions of the G6, it draws mixed reviews for function and steering feel, even when compared to the electric steering execution in other cars. In my opinion, GM's electric steering is one step forward and two back, so the old faithful is a plus in the Aura.
The Aura doesn't skimp on safety provisions. It has dual-stage frontal air bags, front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags for torso protection and side curtain-type airbags that provide head protection.
Often overlooked are features like a steering wheel telescoping adjustment, which allows drivers of all sizes to distance themselves properly from the airbag. The Aura's steering wheel both tilts and telescopes. Power adjustable pedals, which serve a similar purpose and improve driver comfort, are optional.
In terms of collision prevention, antilock brakes and traction control are standard. The XR trim level adds the StabiliTrak electronic stability system.
OnStar is standard with one free year of Safe and Sound service, which alerts authorities in the event of airbag deployment.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Mike Hanley||Cars.com National||October 13, 2006|
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||April 21, 2006|
|Bob Golfen||AZCentral.com||April 30, 2007|
|G. Chambers Williams III||Star-Telegram.com||January 18, 2007|
|Royal Ford||Boston.com||December 24, 2006|
|Colette Fischer||Mother Proof||November 13, 2006|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||November 8, 2006|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||September 24, 2006|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||September 24, 2006|
|Tom Strongman||KansasCity.com||August 26, 2006|
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Saturn Aura
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.