This car is wonderful. Every since the SATURN AURA CONCEPT was released in 2005, I knew that I would want one.
The vehicles design is somewhat based on that of the OPEL VECTRA sold in Europe. However, it is built on the extended Epsilon platform, shared originally with the Malibu MAXX and Pontiac G6, now shared with the '08 Malibu.
The looks of this car are absolutely show stopping. I added some chrome here and there, and tinted the windows. People are amazed to hear that I paid $15k for this car, when it looks like a $40k car. It is very attractive, and Saturn did great adapting styling cues from the Euro-Vectra to the americanized AURA. The lines are crisp, and modern looking, eluding quality. The LED tail lights are a nice touch.
My car is equipped with such features as power drivers seat, remote control garage door opener, OnStar, heated seats, remote vehicle start with keyless entry, and other things.
It is equipped with 17" steel wheels with full chromed wheel covers. Now, in my opinion wheel covers are out of place on a car that sells for over $20k. However, they do not look at all like wheel covers, completely covering the steel wheel, and are inexpensive to replace. Overall, a good idea. The OEM Hankook Optimo tires are quiet and perform well.
The interior of the car is put together nicely. The gauges are gorgeous. When you turn the key the LED gauges roar to life sweeping from one side to another, then back again, followed by slowly lighting up, very cool.
The steering wheel is nice, albeit large, with controls for DIC, Cruise, and stereo. I enjoy the steering wheel, however it is the "classic" 3-spoke wheel GM uses in many other vehicles. The controls are nice, including a great stereo, with a user-friendly head unit. Stereo and climate controls are well within reach of the rest of the driver.
Power seat controls are located on the side of the seat, easily accessible, including manual lumbar control. Heated seat controls are easy to operate, but located in an odd location, next to your thigh. The blinker and wiper stalks feel nice, and are easy to operate.
The interior is put together well. My car is grey, with silver accents. A very modern combination, that eludes quality. I had leather KATZKIN seats added to the car, that were already heated. A very nice, and inexpensive addition to a great car.
Some materials are rough, and plasticy, but occasionally I must remind myself that I am driving a Saturn, priced considerably less than comparable cars. However, the interior quality is great.
A VERY nice, and upscale touch is the amber lighting for all the instrument panel. But wait! There's more! At night, you are welcomed to the cabin with some amber ambient lighting shining from the ceiling, as well as the door handles. Something you are hard pressed to find on a car priced at around $20k. I am very impressed with the interior.
The car drives very nicely. The handling is fantastic. Steering is very responsive. A bit tight and heavy for my tastes, but very impressive. Body lean in turns is minimal. It is fun to take this car on curvy roads, and feel how confidently it handles.
The ride is tight, but smooth. For the size of the car, it does not feel boaty. Very nice. Very comfortable, and takes bumps nicely.
While driving, the interior is near silent. Thanks to acoustic features. It is a very nice place to be on the highway, cruising quietly, and comfortably.
The 3.5L V6 is a very impressive engine. It is related to other widely used GM engines, including, but not limited to the 3.4, 3.1, 2.8, etc. The difference is the quietness. It sounds much more refined than it's earlier relatives. It added VVT for increased performance and fuel economy. Acceleration is impressive, and it really will move if you want it to.
A comment on the transmission. It shifts very smooth throughout its 4 gears. Many shifts go unnoticed. My only comment is that, sometimes you have to work the throttle a little to get a downshift. I believe it is geared for fuel economy, and tries to keep the revvs down. There is also a slight throttle delay due to it being electronic, but nothing to complain about.
The fuel economy of this car is absolutely amazing for a 224 hp V6. I average 26-28 MPG in normal, mixed driving. I have received over 30 MPG on many trips. Including 33 MPG averaged on a tank, when traveling to and from Ohio. Very impressive, in a day of $4.00 gas. Many 4 cylinder vehicles don't even get this kind of mileage. This Aura does, and it will blow many cars right off the road.
OnStar is also a great feature. OnStar Turn-By-Turn navigation is a welcomed feature for me. The price is a bit high, but it has a lot to offer, and is simple to use. Overall, I am happy to spend a little extra on OnStar, when I have the security, and convenience of GPS, emergency response, etc, etc. I have had them unlock my doors from a remote location twice now. Very nice.
Overall, the Saturn Aura is a fantastic vehicle. It starts at around $20k. For that money, you are getting A LOT of car. People will be very impressed with the looks, including yourself. There are lots of nice features and great Fuel Economy. Why spend money on a more expensive Camry, or Accord, when you can buy a SATURN and help our economy out. You will be getting a great vehicle, with better looks, and a cheaper price tag.
It is no wonder why the Saturn Aura made 2007 North American Car of The Year.
Also, a note on Saturn service. It is second to none. I have been so impressed. The few problems this car has had, has been taken care of happily by the dealer. They are so happy to help me out, provide transportation, or anything else I would need.
If you are in the market for a wonderful mid-sized sedan, stop at your local Saturn retailer. I am so happy I bought this car, and can picture myself having it for many years to come.
Joel from Western New York.