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Thread: 2007 Saturn Aura

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2007 Saturn Aura

    If General Motors had only built a car like the Saturn Aura ten years ago, Toyota might not be poised to replace GM as the world's largest, most successful automaker.

    As it is, Toyota (and Honda, too) may be able to hold onto customers -- and their dominance of the mid-size/family car market -- on the strength of their established reputations -- even if their current offerings are no longer clearly superior in the "well-built" and "more reliable" categories -- and even if competitors like the Aura have more to offer in the curb appeal department (and elsewhere).

    That's the ugly legacy of 20-something years of not-so-great cars.

    Still, smart shoppers shouldn't automatically dismiss everything coming out of General Motors today based on what was coming out of General Motors yesterday.

    Times have changed.

    The Aura, for example, is appealing on just about every level -- with the only downside being the likelihood of more rapid depreciation relative to the segment-leading Camry and Accord sedans -- based, of course, on the strength of their established reputations and the market's belief that import cars are always "better."

    But consider the Aura on its merits. The car deserves a fair shake -- and a shot at your business.

    For one, it's not hard on the eyes. It has a tasteful, modern -- even graceful -- shape: "fast" windshield, low-cut roofline, blacked out B-pillars and nicely tucked rear end. Saturn-specific styling cues -- including the upswept, v-shaped grille and chrome door pulls/accents -- tie everything together. It's a good-looking car, from any angle.

    The inside's nice, too -- with a sporty hooded cluster for the main gauge pack, carbon fiber facings and chrome needles for the gauges, three-spoke wheel (with tilt/telescoping function and paddle shifters on XR models) and a continuation of the "flying v" grille theme with a similar trim piece (in wood finish or metallic) that anchors the center console -- with "wings" extending to the door panels on either side. Again, nicely done. GM used to be a leader in interior design (form as well as function) and the Aura's layout (along with some other standout GM models, like the new Chevy Tahoe) suggests the good old days might be on their way back.

    You're also looking at a standard V-6 (with variable valve timing, too) in a class where many competitors (including both the Camry and the Accord) start out with much less powerful four-cylinder engines -- and charge you extra for a V-6. In the Aura, you'll get a 224 horsepower 3.5 liter V-6 for openers (in the $20,345 XE) and can move up from that to an even stronger 3.6 liter V-6 (and 252 horsepower) in the $24,345 Aura XR.

    The standard Camry CE ($18,470) comes with a 2.4 liter, four-cylinder engine and 158 horsepower; the base model Honda Accord LX ($20,125) is in the same ballpark -- with a 2.4 liter, 166 horsepower engine under its hood. Both cars also come with manual transmissions standard -- while the Aura XE's base price includes a 4-speed automatic.

    And of course, the extra 58-66 horsepower doesn't cost you a penny extra.

    The V-6 version of the Camry ups the ante to 268 hp -- but for three grand more ($23,540) than the cost of the Aura XL -- while the Accord V-6 starts out much higher at $25,200 and that only gets you to 244 hp -- eight less than the Aura XR, which costs about a grand less. (Nissan's Altima tops the list, power-wise, with its available 270-hp 3.5 liter V-6 for $24,000. But the Altima -- a more forceful and aggressive-driving/handling/riding sport sedan -- is more of a peripheral competitor than a direct Aura challenger like the Camry or the Accord.)

    Now have a look at the equipment list.

    In addition to a standard V-6 with 50-plus more hp than its primary import targets, the Aura XL also gets 17-inch alloy rims (with meaty 50-series tires), power driver's seat, cruise control with steering wheel controls, LED tail-lights, a six-speaker stereo with MP3 and CD player, OnStar -- along with automatic climate control AC, full instrumentation and a full menu of safety equipment, including curtain and side-impact air bags, traction control and ABS.

    The base Camry CE comes with 16-inch steelies, a manual-adjustment chair for the driver -- and makes you pay extra ($650) for traction/stability control. Over at the Honda store, it's a similar story: The base model Accord LX rolls off the truck with even less impressive rolling stock -- 15 inch steel wheels with much smaller 65-series tires -- the same "do-it-yourself" manual adjustment driver's seat and no traction/stability control -- not even optionally. To get that feature, you have to buy a more expensive trim.

    In addition to its bigger, stronger 3.9 liter V-6 (which it shares with the Cadillac CTS sport sedan) and six-speed automatic transmission (with F1-style paddle shifters) the top-of-the-line Aura XR gets 18-inch spoked alloy rims, a handsome leather-trimmed interior with heated driver and passenger sport buckets, upgrade audio system with six-disc CD changer and satellite radio, remote start -- and GM's StabiliTrak stability control system.

    Power adjustable pedals and a huge, four-panel, panorama-style sunroof are available, too. (Neither the Accord nor the Camry even offer that feature.)

    Saturn also provides 100,000 mile powertrain coverage -- vs. 60,000 miles for the Camry and Accord. Given the recent recalls and problems both the "import majors" have had with drivetrain bits and pieces -- engines for Toyota; weak automatic transmissions for Honda -- that's something to chew on a little, eh?

    Bottom line: The big name imports ain't as good as they once were -- despite the lingering fumes (and preconceptions) of yesteryear. And American cars are better than they've been in many years. In some cases -- as in the case of this new Aura -- they're arguably better in several key areas (power levels, equipment for the dollar) and seem to have at least equalled the best imports when it comes to things like refinement, finesse, driving feel -- and overall "niceness." And as far as "durability" and "reliability" are concerned, well, check into the data on recalls and so on for yourself and see which brands have the better record lately.

    It's your money. Spend it wisely. And don't assume the best about Japanese brands -- and the worst about domestic ones. You might be surprised how things have changed.

    PS - A hybrid version of the Aura -- the Aura Green line -- is available as well.

    END

  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    In addition to its bigger, stronger 3.9 liter V-6 (which it shares with the Cadillac CTS sport sedan) and six-speed automatic transmission (with F1-style paddle shifters) the top-of-the-line Aura XR gets 18-inch spoked alloy rims, a handsome leather-trimmed interior with heated driver and passenger sport buckets, upgrade audio system with six-disc CD changer and satellite radio, remote start -- and GM's StabiliTrak stability control system.

    Power adjustable pedals and a huge, four-panel, panorama-style sunroof are available, too. (Neither the Accord nor the Camry even offer that feature.)

    Saturn also provides 100,000 mile powertrain coverage -- vs. 60,000 miles for the Camry and Accord. Given the recent recalls and problems both the "import majors" have had with drivetrain bits and pieces -- engines for Toyota; weak automatic transmissions for Honda -- that's something to chew on a little, eh?

    Bottom line: The big name imports ain't as good as they once were -- despite the lingering fumes (and preconceptions) of yesteryear. And American cars are better than they've been in many years. In some cases -- as in the case of this new Aura -- they're arguably better in several key areas (power levels, equipment for the dollar) and seem to have at least equalled the best imports when it comes to things like refinement, finesse, driving feel -- and overall "niceness." And as far as "durability" and "reliability" are concerned, well, check into the data on recalls and so on for yourself and see which brands have the better record lately.

    It's your money. Spend it wisely. And don't assume the best about Japanese brands -- and the worst about domestic ones. You might be surprised how things have changed.

    PS - A hybrid version of the Aura -- the Aura Green line -- is available as well.

    END
    It certainly has a lot of plusses and would be worth looking at if one were thinking of buying in that segment of the market.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by TC
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    In addition to its bigger, stronger 3.9 liter V-6 (which it shares with the Cadillac CTS sport sedan) and six-speed automatic transmission (with F1-style paddle shifters) the top-of-the-line Aura XR gets 18-inch spoked alloy rims, a handsome leather-trimmed interior with heated driver and passenger sport buckets, upgrade audio system with six-disc CD changer and satellite radio, remote start -- and GM's StabiliTrak stability control system.

    Power adjustable pedals and a huge, four-panel, panorama-style sunroof are available, too. (Neither the Accord nor the Camry even offer that feature.)

    Saturn also provides 100,000 mile powertrain coverage -- vs. 60,000 miles for the Camry and Accord. Given the recent recalls and problems both the "import majors" have had with drivetrain bits and pieces -- engines for Toyota; weak automatic transmissions for Honda -- that's something to chew on a little, eh?

    Bottom line: The big name imports ain't as good as they once were -- despite the lingering fumes (and preconceptions) of yesteryear. And American cars are better than they've been in many years. In some cases -- as in the case of this new Aura -- they're arguably better in several key areas (power levels, equipment for the dollar) and seem to have at least equalled the best imports when it comes to things like refinement, finesse, driving feel -- and overall "niceness." And as far as "durability" and "reliability" are concerned, well, check into the data on recalls and so on for yourself and see which brands have the better record lately.

    It's your money. Spend it wisely. And don't assume the best about Japanese brands -- and the worst about domestic ones. You might be surprised how things have changed.

    PS - A hybrid version of the Aura -- the Aura Green line -- is available as well.

    END
    It certainly has a lot of plusses and would be worth looking at if one were thinking of buying in that segment of the market.
    I think so, too. I was very impressed with it. Such a shame, though, that it took GM this long to get its act together!

  4. #4
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    i sat in one with the brown "Morroccan" leather at the auto show the other week. I liked it alot. Enough to recommend to my Mom as a car she should be looking at for a Maxima replacement.

    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
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    i sat in one with the brown "Morroccan" leather at the auto show the other week. I liked it alot. Enough to recommend to my Mom as a car she should be looking at for a Maxima replacement.

    Chip H.
    I'd second that motion; the Maxima's not what it once was - and this Aura's got a lot to offer. I especially liked the styling, which comes across as classy and very "finished" - especially at this price point.

    Drives nicely, too!

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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    If General Motors had only built a car like the Saturn Aura ten years ago,
    They did - it was (& still is) called an Opel Vectra.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    If General Motors had only built a car like the Saturn Aura ten years ago,
    They did - it was (& still is) called an Opel Vectra.
    Well, sort of.. the Saturn shares some underlying chassis design with its European/Opel equivalent, but that aside, it's a very different finished product from what GM was putting out here (and there) 5-10 years back....

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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Well, sort of.. the Saturn shares some underlying chassis design with its European/Opel equivalent,
    So does the SAAB 9-3.....and the Cadillac BLS!


  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Well, sort of.. the Saturn shares some underlying chassis design with its European/Opel equivalent,
    So does the SAAB 9-3.....and the Cadillac BLS!

    Both also nice cars - though GM has managed to virtually kill off Saab in the US market.

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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Both also nice cars - though GM has managed to virtually kill off Saab in the US market.
    I think they have pretty well killed off SAAB in Europe as well - opinion on the current range seems to be that they are dull, poorly-handling cars. The BLS owes its existence, I believe, to the SAAB plants having excess capacity because of poor sales. Handles even worse than the SAAB, apparently.

    They have just introduced an estate car (station wagon) version of the BLS - said to be the first ever built by Cadillac, although some would argue that a tarted-up SAAB isn't a 'real' Caddie!

    ...and diesel engines are available in the BLS!

  11. #11
    TC
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    ...and diesel engines are available in the BLS!

    I hope they will be better than those previously available in Cadillacs.

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by TC
    ...and diesel engines are available in the BLS!

    I hope they will be better than those previously available in Cadillacs.
    These are - unlike the ones made in the late '70s - "ground up" diesels, not converted gas engines.

    We don't get the BLS in North America, incidentally....

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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    If Saturn would deliver an Aura Diesel instead ofan oversold hybrid, it would be hard to resist the temptation into car payments.

  14. #14
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    If Saturn would deliver an Aura Diesel instead ofan oversold hybrid, it would be hard to resist the temptation into car payments.
    I think a diesel version's a great idea; but I can't blame GM for not offering one inthis market. (GM does sell diesels elsewhere, the BLS, for one). There are still too many obstacles to widespread sales for diesel passengercar vehicles to be more than niche players right now, unfortunately.

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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    These are - unlike the ones made in the late '70s - "ground up" diesels, not converted gas engines.
    They are actually, if not nominally, Fiat JTD engines - some of the best in the business.

  16. #16
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    If General Motors had only built a car like the Saturn Aura ten years ago,
    They did - it was (& still is) called an Opel Vectra.
    The Vectra is a good car ...was re-badged here as Holden ......sadly GMH have dropped it now as the new shape model did not see to sell well. Now have a rebadged Daewoo something to replace it.
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    The Vectra is a good car ....
    It's got a poor reputation here - boring 'rep's car' is the common perception. Not a good new buy, as they depreciate horrendously - good car or not, the market doesn't want medium-size Vauxhalls (Opels are badged as Vauxhalls for the UK market) or Fords; they don't have the 'prestige' of the overpriced German stuff.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: 2007 Saturn Aura

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    The Vectra is a good car ....
    It's got a poor reputation here - boring 'rep's car' is the common perception. Not a good new buy, as they depreciate horrendously - good car or not, the market doesn't want medium-size Vauxhalls (Opels are badged as Vauxhalls for the UK market) or Fords; they don't have the 'prestige' of the overpriced German stuff.
    I think here the Vectra holds its value here....but will that change?

    The replacement vehicle s a rebadged Daewoo.... Daewoo cars look tatty after a couple of years.
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

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