This car definitely has aura. I intriguingly inspected the exterior of the Saturn Aura, amazed that it was wearing a Saturn badge. I appreciated the car's smooth, clean lines, which add to its elegant, classy look. I definitely find it chic, especially with that beautiful, shiny coat of black paint.
That gorgeous black paint, however, only stays gorgeous for about half a day, then I noticed the pattern of greasy children's hand prints. The prints were adorable for about a minute, as I smilingly beheld every portion of the car that had been curiously explored by those tiny hands. Shortly thereafter, however, I was driven to the brink by the greasy look. I can handle plain dirt, but the grease factor on this sleek black vehicle seemed unjust and reminded me of two tykes soaking up my cherished night cream to decorate the bathroom mirror (Why the night cream boys, an indispensable tool in my ongoing effort to fade those dreaded crow's feet?). For the remainder of my time test-driving the Aura, I frequently wiped down the ever-reappearing marks (including those on the sleek, shiny metallic door handles). I also battled a subtle layer of dust on the exterior, which created the perfect flour-like surface for my boys to write and draw on. So let me impart what I have learned: Although I love black for my wardrobe, I will not consider it for a car with little kids. And that goes for the interior as well, which highlights every scuff mark and sneaker print. Since I'm not a car-wash-aholic, I'm best off sticking with silver-like paint options.
Although, the weather was unseasonably warm while I had the Aura, I made a point to use the remote automatic starter (at least on the colder mornings). Even though it's surely a luxury feature, I could get used to this one. I absolutely loved that the car was warm and ready to go by the time I arrived, coats and hats in hand, along with the pint-sized gang.
I also enjoyed the functional, grippy audio knob that allowed me to swiftly tune in to my desired satellite ratio station, which I have found to be cumbersome in other cars. And I was happy to come across a mute function, which is one of the many safety-conscious steering-wheel buttons. I just wish the buttons were easier to manipulate, as they are rather small, smooth and difficult to differentiate.
Even though compartment space is limited in the Aura, the center console does include some crafty storage solutions: A recessed space that houses an easy-to-reach cell phone, a coin well that doubles as a fantastic pen or lip-gloss holder, and a shallow top portion that includes clips for my insurance card and a more authentic pen holder.
Features abound in the Aura, and they give me plenty to fiddle with: There's the OnStar emergency assist system (including the invaluable-when-desperately-needed Safe and Sound plan free for one year); heated mirrors that are activated when the rear defrost is turned on; a compass in the rearview mirror (always a great tool for those of us who are orientationally challenged - yes I know that's not a real word); rear-seat audio controls for restless kids that can be used with either wireless or wired headphones; a tire pressure monitoring system to assist in keeping the only things making contact with the road properly inflated; and an eight-way, heated power driver's seat.
As nice as the Aura is, I found the trunk to be a huge obstacle to my daily routine. The opening is minuscule and barely fits my stroller. So much so that it took multiple attempts to reposition it in order to squeeze it into the tiny rectangle (similar to moving a couch through a door opening - you know it will fit, you just have to figure out how). I performed the exercise twice (only for the sake of journalistic research), then opted for the umbrella stroller.
All in all, the nicely priced Saturn Aura has class, especially from the outside. I gladly made use of all it had to offer, yet will continue my quest for the quintessential mom-mobile.
*For more information on the Saturn Aura and its safety features, visit www.cars.com.
LET'S TALK NUMBERS
LATCH Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair (but beware of the small trunk opening)
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some
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