Article Summery :
Saturn's potent AURA is now in a dealer showroom near you. Will the AURA impress or will it leave enthusiasts disappointed as did the previous L Series midsize sedan?
Article Key Words :
Saturn AURA, Accel, car wheels, Saturn SKY, Saturn ION, Saturn RELAY, Saturn OUTLOOK, Saturn VUE, GM
Main Article Content :
When Saturn exited the midsize car market a few years ago they left with a promise: we’ll be back. After several years of lackluster sales, GM’s Saturn division dropped the unpopular L Series in 2004 with no immediate replacement waiting. Thanks in part to the company’s German division, Opel, Saturn has a new car to capture the imagination of sedan enthusiasts everywhere. The AURA, a five passenger Euro style sedan, is now on display at your local Saturn dealership. Please read on to see what the AURA has in store for buyers just like you.
The L Series wasn’t a bad car, it just got lost in a sea of competition dominated by popular Camrys, versatile Accords, and dependable Taurus’s. Bland styling didn’t help matters either as the car never approached General Motors’ expectations, therefore the automaker decided to drop the model from Saturn’s then spartan line up.
Unfortunately for Saturn dealers, a void in an already small line up was left wide open. True, the all-new RELAY crossover was brought in as the L Series made its exit, but it certainly wasn’t a sedan and it wasn’t meant to replace the L Series. Thankfully, GM did not fill the hole in Saturn’s line with yet another “me too” rebadged Chevy or Pontiac. Instead, the automaker promised to develop a fresh model based on a new GM platform and by incorporating Opel styling and technology. Thus, the seeds of the all new AURA were planted and the harvest has now hit a showroom near you.
So, exactly what do you get with the all new AURA? Well, one thing you won’t get is a four cylinder engine. Unlike the Toyota Camry, the AURA is only offering a pair of six cylinder engines. Likely, this won’t be a problem for most buyers as the two AURA engines are different enough to give customers a real choice: the 3.5L V6 comes equipped with a four speed automatic transmission while the optional 3.6L DOHC V6 is mated to a six speed automatic transmission. Some buyers may be disappointed by the lack of a manual transmission, so GM will have to watch this closely to see if additional sales could be realized by introducing a potent six speed manny tranny.
Beyond the powerplant, the AURA comes nicely equipped. Since its chief competitors will be the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, Saturn could ill afford to produce a car short on anything. Thus, the base AURA will be priced right – MSRP of $20,595 – and include the following standard equipment:
Four speed automatic transmission
Four wheel disc brakes
ABS with Traction Control
Head curtain and side impact air bags
6 speaker sound system
Optional equipment for the standard model includes aluminum wheels, leather interior, sunroof, premium sound system and more. The base model is known as the XE with the up market XR featuring the larger engine and a very long list of standard equipment. Add about $4000 to the price of the base XE to get an XR.
Saturn hopes that the bold styling of the AURA will cause shoppers to take a closer look. Now that the Camry has finally shed its bland image, Saturn can ill afford to go up against the automotive leader with a nondescript model. With a sporty grille, comely lines, and an attractive B pillar, the AURA goes well beyond the L Series and is sure to attract buyers to the Saturn fold.
The AURA also is a departure from Saturn’s Spring Hill, Tennessee roots as it is built in GM’s Kansas City facility alongside the Chevrolet Malibu. Based on GM’s Epsilon platform, the AURA effectively combines GM and Opel technology and styling in an all new model. This is a bold move on GM’s part one that the world’s number one automaker is pinning on reviving a brand that desperately needs this type of stylish model.