The shine has faded a bit on the Saturn Aura since its North American Car of the Year award in 2007. Oh how quickly the tide changes. Still, despite its shortcomings, the Saturn Aura offers many features that make it worthy of consideration for those seeking a moderately priced sedan.
Changes for the 2008 model are modest, most significantly the base engine for the Aura is a four-cylinder. Three different engine option are available with four different trims: the Aura XE and XR-4 are the recipient of the previously mentioned 169 horsepower four-cylinder, the XE gets a 252 horsepower V6 and a 164 horsepower four-cylinder is adopted for the hybrid model. Heads and shoulders above the rest in on-the-road driving is the V6, with the rest of the bunch anemic although more gas-friendly in comparison. Acceleration of the V6 is a modest 7.7 seconds to 60 mph according to Car and Driver, and according to the EPA achieves a respectable 17 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.. The EPA rates the four-cylinder models at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 33 on the highway. The Hybrid is capable of 26 and 34 mpg, respectively, in city and highway driving.
The clean, though perhaps bland exterior of the Aura, was and is, an upgrade to past sedans from Saturn. All Aura models come standard with chrome body side moldings and grille. Topping the list of drawbacks for the Aura is the interior; that while roomy and rated high in safety, suffers like other GM products from a level and quality of materials that seem extremely cheap in contrast to the competition. Despite this, reviewers are generally pleased with interior accessories and particularly, the roominess of the cabin. Most Auras come with a CD/MP3 player with AM/FM stereo with six speakers, and XM Satellite Radio is available for all trims. The 2008 Aura’s XE and XR models feature a large multi-panel panoramic glass sunroof that consists of a front panel that angles up as a deflector and three others panels that retract and stack together at the rear. One highlight is the 14.9 cubic feet of cargo room, which is more than the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Mazda 6.
Base pricing starts at just over $23,000 for the four cylinder model, up to nearly $27-grand for the hybrid. Those in the market for an inexpensive sedan replacement will likely be satisfied from Saturn’s flagship.