Monday, October 1, 2007

2008 Saturn Aura Review

Originally added to the Saturn line as a direct competitor of the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and Toyota Camry, the 2008 Saturn Aura returns for its second model year with a new engine option among its upgraded features.

The 2008 Aura is offered in three different trim levels. The base model comes with the new 169 horsepower 2.4 liter four cylinder engine mated with a four-speed automatic transmission. The mid-range trim, known in 2007 as the XE, comes with a 219 horsepower 3.5 liter V-6, also with a four-speed automatic transmission, and the peppier XR is powered by a 252 horsepower, 3.6 liter V-6 engine, this time partnered with a six-speed automatic transmission that features a manual mode and shift levers mounted on the steering wheel. (The four-speed transmissions do not have this option.)Unlike many GM models, the Saturn Aura does not have an electric steering system. Instead, it comes with the ever-reliable hydraulic steering. Critics have commented that this is an admirable feature.

Electronic stability control, an optional upgrade on last year's model, is a standard feature of the 2008 Saturn Aura. Additional safety features include anti-lock brakes, and traction control, as well as airbags protecting the driver and passengers from front- and side-impact crashes, including side-curtain airbags for head-protection.

Aside from safety features, the interior of the 2008 Aura includes adjustable pedals and a steering wheel with tilt and telescoping functionality, as well as seating for five, with optional heating for the front seats. In addition, there is the expected audio package (AM/FM Radio/CD Player) but XM satellite radio is also a standard feature.

Outside the car, the 2008 Saturn Aura, which shares a platform with the Pontiac G6, though it doesn't look at all like one, echoes design cues from the Saturn Sky roadster, like LED tail lights, and door handles that match the body color of the car. The base and XE come with 17-inch steel wheels, while the rims of the XR are 18-inch aluminum ones. The XR also features fog lights and twin tail pipes, and its door handles are shiny chrome.

The 2008 Saturn Aura has a starting MSRP of $20,845 with the XR starting at just $4,000 more. Estimated fuel economy is not yet available for this vehicle.

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