Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

  1. #1
    Staff
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    3,126

    Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Saturn: Like Always, Like Never Before -

    That is their new slogan they are using to push their new Aura. I personally like the one I made up here in the subject line.

    On Thursday, the ignition switch in my 2001 L100 went out. Due to the fact that I don't trust most mechanics around here in Central Florida, I took my car to the Saturn Dealer near Orlando, FL. I got a phone call from them telling me that the ignition switch had seized inside the hosuing and the total assembly would have to be replaced. The bill would be around $470.00. HUH? $470.00???? The parts cost $240.00 and the labor was the balance.

    Today, I went to pick up the car and they wanted to charge me $5.00 extra for another ignition key. I told them to give it to me because I don't think that I needed to pay for it. The lock failed and they wanted to charge me for an extra key? I don't think so. I got my key, which probalby cost them $0.88.

    While waiting for the car to come back from its customary Saturn bath, I decided to check out the new Aura.

    I think that the Aura is a very pretty new car that appears to be a pretty good value for the money. Its a bit pricey, but all cars are nowadays. After strolling through the showroom floor for about what seemed like 10 minutes, someone finally asked me how they could help me. I told them I wanted to try the Aura. The manager gvave me to a sales consultant and we went for a drive. The sales consultant told me that he thought the XE was the best value and asked me if I would actually need a car with more power (like the XR). I didn't think so myself.

    The XE with the 3.5 L accelerated adequately and the car handled with reasonable poise. The steering was reasonalby precise and the ride was supple without being mushy. The insturments and controls were logical and well-placed. The seats were reasonably firm and comforatable. The 4 speed hydramatic transmission shifted with precistion and the gearing was well spaced. When at speed, the car was easy to maneuver and quiet. The mileage meter said 18.7 mpg, which is pretty good for a test car that is presumably flogged by its drivers.

    Overall, I like the Auras trim levels, overall comfort, drivability, and acceleration. I cannot comment too much on the handling, since the road course was over a straight road, but I have reason to believe that it is adqequate.

    After the test ride, the sales consultant asked me about my potential trade. He told me that I wouldn't get any money for it. (Great, thats a way to close a deal) At least he was honest...

    Following a brief exchange with the consultant, I went to talk to the manager about other issues regarding the car. The first one was On-Star. I told him that in order for me to buy the car, I would have to have the On-Star taken out of the vehicle. I don't want the silver box in my car telling the government exactly where I am at a given time. I don't like the potential for them to snoop in and record conversations that I could have if I or a passenger inadvertently pushed the On-Star button. He told me that they couldn't do anyting about it and that ON-Star and also air bag modules are in the car for "safety" reasons. Who is he kidding? Not me.

    The second issue was the issue of speed governors on the car. I realize that the car has them, but the manager had no idea of what the car was governed to. He told me that they are limited to 130 mph. Not on that car, I said. The car has S-Rated tires. Again, who's he trying to fool.

    I can't believe that Saturn, which used to be a different kind of car company is now the same as GM. Times have changed since 2001.



    This is the reason that GM i

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia
    Posts
    2,072

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Saturn is a marque we haven't heard about much down under.

    Was it always a GM subsidiary?
    Why did GM not keep a gutsy name such as Oldsmobile ...it makes me wonder
    Back in NZ during the '70s, a neighbour's sons had a couple of Toronados they imported from the US.
    They just looked great......and a little different!

    Hey I agree with your subject line.....Our Holdens are same as same old ..
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC, USA
    Posts
    3,628

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Saturn is/was GM's brand that was going to fight the imports. They do have some innovative features (many of the body panels are made of plastic, and are dent-resistant), but in recent years it's become yet another badge-engineered brand, with many of their models rebadged Opels (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

    One of their innovations was that the sales process is no-haggle. The sticker is what everyone pays. The trouble is, for the same price you can get a better built import.

    Interestingly, their Vue SUV is available with a Honda built V6. It seems that in all of planet General Motors, there wasn't a V6 that would fit and/or was good enough...

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC, USA
    Posts
    3,628

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Today, I went to pick up the car and they wanted to charge me $5.00 extra for another ignition key.
    That's incredibly cheap. You should have paid it.
    Replacement keys for the MINI Cooper I used to have were $140.

    It also makes me wonder how secure your car is from theft. Modern ignition keys will usually have a RF transmitter in them to prevent the ignition being punched out. This raises the cost of replacement keys, but most people don't lose keys all that often, whereas they tend to leave their car sitting unattended all over town.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,743

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Hey Swamp!

    $500 .. to replace an ignition switch? I'm still doing double takes; that is freaking outrageous. Particularly on a 5-year-old car.

    Add the OnStar and other crap to the mix - and this is why I will probably never purchase a new car - and when my '98 Nissan finally croaks I will just go out and buy an old F100 or something like that. Screw all the "technology" and "safety" crap they are force-feeding us (because the government mandates it and a good chunk of the market demands ever more of it). Did you catch my little story about OnStar when I was running a new DTS hard up a mountain road near our place? I was powering through the curves, sliding it a little bit - and the elevation change from the bottom of the mountain to the top is about 1,000 ft. Anyhow, as I'm driving, the system chimes on - and all of a sudden I have an Onstar operator and an EMS guy gabbling through the speakers, assuring me that "help is on the way." OnStar's in-car sensors had apparently interpreted the fast-paced driving inputs as indicators a crash had occurred - even though there was no crash, of course, and the DTS and I were still motoring along (you'd think it would have occured to them that if a crash had happened, the car would be stationary - but no. Anyhow, it too me 5-10 minutes of talking with OnStar and EMS to convince them I was "ok" and there had been no accident.

    Like you, I would never have this "feature" in a car of mine...

  6. #6
    Staff
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    3,126

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Eroc -

    From what I hear, the On-Star box can be removed frfom the car without adverse side-affects. I believe that someone in the Cadillac CTS forum did it.

    I was just trying to argue this on principle. I have sent a lletter to Saturn cutstomer service on the issue. I will advise when I get my customary reply.

    IT sucks that GM thinks that they can foist this on their custmomers and only 1/100 people, if that, protest it at all.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,743

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    [quote author

    IT sucks that GM thinks that they can foist this on their custmomers and only 1/100 people, if that, protest it at all.

    It's indicative of the "safety uber alles" mindset that has gripped this country - and which will be its undoing. A people afraid of everything - and eager to be "protected" by government (or corporations) is a slave society in the making....

  8. #8
    Staff
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    3,126

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    I sensed that there was something wrong with the country long ago, when the 55 mph speed limit would not go away. The first time I heard those opinion polls that something like 75 percent of the public approved of was the first indication that I got that something was wrong.

    Removal of that meanace was the only bright spot in our country's history during the last 33 years.

  9. #9
    D_E_Davis
    Guest

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    $500 .. to replace an ignition switch? I'm still doing double takes; that is freaking outrageous. Particularly on a 5-year-old car.
    That's what it's coming to. It cost me nearly $400 to replace the ignition lock on my 10-year-old Lumina when, one morning and out-of-town, it wouldn't read the sensor in the key. I just considered myself lucky that a dealer was open the day after Thanksgiving, had the part, and could fix it that day.


  10. #10
    Staff
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    3,126

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Quote Originally Posted by D_E_Davis
    $500 .. to replace an ignition switch? I'm still doing double takes; that is freaking outrageous. Particularly on a 5-year-old car.
    That's what it's coming to. It cost me nearly $400 to replace the ignition lock on my 10-year-old Lumina when, one morning and out-of-town, it wouldn't read the sensor in the key. I just considered myself lucky that a dealer was open the day after Thanksgiving, had the part, and could fix it that day.

    David E-

    Was your Lumina ignitin switch a "dealer only item?" I bet you couldn't find the replacement part at Autozone. With my Saturn L100, everything is a "dealer item" except for oil and air filters. Even spark plugs are hard to find at the chain and the other auto parts stores.

    It is really frustrating and makes me want to buy a German vehicle out of protest, although I'm not sure about how they are handling aftermarket parts sales either.


  11. #11
    D_E_Davis
    Guest

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Was your Lumina ignitin switch a "dealer only item?" I bet you couldn't find the replacement part at Autozone.
    I really don't know, and being that it was the Friday after Thanksgiving, and being that I was 150 miles from home, I was just thankful a dealer in that town was open, had the part, and got it fixed reasonably quickly.

    It's one thing to check out all the alternatives when you're at home, but away you have little choice.


  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC, USA
    Posts
    3,628

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    It is really frustrating and makes me want to buy a German vehicle out of protest, although I'm not sure about how they are handling aftermarket parts sales either.
    If you can find the equivalent Bosch part number, you'll be in good shape. Otherwise, the dealer will really stick it to you.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    287

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    $500 .. to replace an ignition switch? I'm still doing double takes; that is freaking outrageous. Particularly on a 5-year-old car.Like you, I would never have this "feature" in a car of mine...
    I believe that $500 ignition switch. I just had my spouse's '95 Lumina in for inspection. The tilt steering wheel was shakey (you could move it half an inch or so when it was locked in place), so I told them to fix it. They ended up charging me $511 or so for the $16 inspection and the fix of the steering column.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    287

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    Saturn is/was GM's brand that was going to fight the imports. They do have some innovative features (many of the body panels are made of plastic, and are dent-resistant), but in recent years it's become yet another badge-engineered brand, with many of their models rebadged Opels (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

    One of their innovations was that the sales process is no-haggle. The sticker is what everyone pays. The trouble is, for the same price you can get a better built import.

    Interestingly, their Vue SUV is available with a Honda built V6. It seems that in all of planet General Motors, there wasn't a V6 that would fit and/or was good enough...
    I believe future Saturn models are going to abandon the plastic body panels. It was one of the selling points that led me to buy a '99 SL2, and the complete absense of door dings makes the reason for the plastic obvious. I know that the Aura has normal steel body panels.

    The V6 in the L300 sedans was foreign, as well, but I don't know from where it came. While the Aura XE has the standard GM 3.5 liter pushrod OHV engine, the Aura XL has a DOHC 3.6 liter engine that I believe comes from the GM German subsidiary (and my mind has gone blank on the brand name). Several thousand more dollars, of course.

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,743

    Re: Saturn Aura - Always the Same as GM

    Outrageous!

    It seems better to just buy a $3,500 beater and drive it for 5 years or so, then throw it away when it starts to fall apart.

Similar Threads

  1. Where Did All The Saturn Mechanics Go?
    By Mase in forum Motor Mouth
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-21-2010, 12:53 PM
  2. Saturn Sky
    By dBrong in forum Motor Mouth
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 06-20-2008, 12:28 AM
  3. 2007 Saturn Aura
    By Eric in forum New Car/Truck Reviews
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 04-04-2007, 08:54 PM
  4. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-19-2007, 10:43 PM
  5. 2007 Saturn Sky
    By Eric in forum New Car/Truck Reviews
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-23-2006, 11:14 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •