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AUTOWEEK AURA VS CAMRY


regfootball

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Proclaiming a winner is difficult. The Camry won all of the performance tests except the skidpad. However, day-to-day testing had us walking away in favor of the Aura’s superior on-road manners, interior, styling and value.

While we are enthusiasts at heart, Camry’s performance edge is mostly small except in braking. As for what ultimately sells cars in this segment, Aura has strong credentials. The performance advantages of Camry are not significant enough to overlook its vanilla styling, cheapish details, higher price point and poorer ride quality compared to the Aura’s.

Saturn won’t overthrow Toyota for title of best seller, but it now has a strong package in Aura to start winning over skeptics and making them into believers, as it did with us. In the end, Aura is the better choice.

i think i prefer the Altima here to both, although I like a Aura a lot.

Edited by regfootball
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Very positive review, and probbaly the first time a domestic has beat the Camry. The only thing I want to point out in the article is this:

Its extra cost can be offset by fuel economy and a record of reliability.

Reliablity has always been Toyota's strong suit, but look at consumer reviews of the Camry, and reliablity seems to be slipping (especially with the transmission and interior).

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Saturn Aura - AS-TESTED PRICE: $26,919

Toyota Camry - AS-TESTED PRICE: $31,213

Aura:

FUEL MILEAGE

EPA combined: 23 mpg

AW overall: 22.0 mpg

Camry:

FUEL MILEAGE

EPA combined: 25 mpg

AW overall: 24.9 mpg

That's a $4,294 difference.

It would take at least a decade (or more) to offset that much of a difference based on fuel economy and reliability.

The difference in their annual fuel-costs isn't that much. GM's superior warranty would cover most reliability issues if there were any... Saturns tend to hold their resale value also. Bottom line... You just pay more for the Camry.

Someone should really go out to Edmunds and see what they estimate to be the annual fuel and repair costs for both the Camry and Aura.

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Interesting comparo right here. I'm glad the Aura won since that means GM is getting their act together and finally building competitive cars. I've seen the Camry interior dozens of times in pics and even sat in one at the autoshow last year. It still surprised me how cheap the Camry looked when autoweek posted the interior shots of both cars. Must be the Morocco brown leather that bumps up the Aura's cabin a notch asthetically. Good braking performance by the Camry however, its not like the Camry is a bad car, it's just not exactly class leading anymore. Now all those midsizers are up near each other in quality level.

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Interesting review and yes, ANOTHER big mag review commenting on cheapness all around parts of the Camry. Same thing being said about the Tundra, and also real-world remarked on about the Avalon, and it kind of makes you wonder what's being said internally or if they even care anymore.

All that said, just another great review for the Aura, and it deserves it. Next up, with more balanced proportions and some slightly more elegant details, the new Malibu hopefully will get similar praise and more.

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Saturn Aura - AS-TESTED PRICE: $26,919

Toyota Camry - AS-TESTED PRICE: $31,213

Aura:

FUEL MILEAGE

EPA combined: 23 mpg

AW overall: 22.0 mpg

Camry:

FUEL MILEAGE

EPA combined: 25 mpg

AW overall: 24.9 mpg

That's a $4,294 difference.

It would take at least a decade (or more) to offset that much of a difference based on fuel economy and reliability.

The difference in their annual fuel-costs isn't that much. GM's superior warranty would cover most reliability issues if there were any... Saturns tend to hold their resale value also. Bottom line... You just pay more for the Camry.

Someone should really go out to Edmunds and see what they estimate to be the annual fuel and repair costs for both the Camry and Aura.

the camry had a whole lot more optional equipment than aura, when optioned similarly, the difference is more like $2000, according to the article. still substantial, don't get me wrong, i just wanted to clarify this. I'm glad GM won with the aura, I do think it's a fantastic car; hopefully more results like this come out and aura will build more buzz.
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Interesting review and yes, ANOTHER big mag review commenting on cheapness all around parts of the Camry. Same thing being said about the Tundra, and also real-world remarked on about the Avalon, and it kind of makes you wonder what's being said internally or if they even care anymore.

You mean the interior? Personally I like think the new Camry's interior is fine, certainly better than the Accords, I dislike the Avalon's and haven't sat in a Tundra.

The FJ's interior is terrible, but it sells. I really doubt anyone cares. I doubt anyone but magazines pay that much attention to interior quality.

Edited by toyoguy
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Interesting review and yes, ANOTHER big mag review commenting on cheapness all around parts of the Camry. Same thing being said about the Tundra, and also real-world remarked on about the Avalon, and it kind of makes you wonder what's being said internally or if they even care anymore.

All that said, just another great review for the Aura, and it deserves it. Next up, with more balanced proportions and some slightly more elegant details, the new Malibu hopefully will get similar praise and more.

Hmm another well deserved award. GO TEAM! :AH-HA_wink:

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You mean the interior? Personally I like think the new Camry's interior is fine, certainly better than the Accords, I dislike the Avalon's and haven't sat in a Tundra.

The FJ's interior is terrible, but it sells. I really doubt anyone cares. I doubt anyone but magazines pay that much attention to interior quality.

Are you on crack? Seriously, no one cares about interior quality??? Where do you get that and your comment about the Accord. Seriously... get rid of the bias for a minute. IF you have spent any time in the Camry YOU KNOW that just isn't true. No arguement there. Timex called and wants there center console clock back.

---------

And PS Volkswagen built a dynasty on interiors alone. Interiors ARE important.

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You mean the interior? Personally I like think the new Camry's interior is fine, certainly better than the Accords, I dislike the Avalon's and haven't sat in a Tundra.

The FJ's interior is terrible, but it sells. I really doubt anyone cares. I doubt anyone but magazines pay that much attention to interior quality.

Sorry, going to have to definitely disagree with you on the Accord statement. I still think the Accord has one of the best laid out and designed interiors since its introduction in 2003. I think its damn near perfect with its controls and backlit gauges. Something about the Camry's interior when i sat in it just didn't vibe "comfortable" with me.
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Sorry, going to have to definitely disagree with you on the Accord statement. I still think the Accord has one of the best laid out and designed interiors since its introduction in 2003. I think its damn near perfect with its controls and backlit gauges. Something about the Camry's interior when i sat in it just didn't vibe "comfortable" with me.

Agreed. Though it could use a bit more visual excitement by now, the Accord's still strikes me as one of the most solid and well layed out interiors, with a very high quality sense and comfort all around.

The Camry, while not at all bad, is just like it's always been more or less--mushier pieces, some loose fitments, and just not as "teutonic" or resolutely solid of a feel as something like the Accord, or even now things like the Aura in a lot of ways. I guess another thing I hold against it is just the number of owner comments on various little build quality bugs and either a lot of or no (seems to vary widely) squeaks and rattles and such, even being brand new. Still a great car in a lot of ways, an I have a draw to the Hybrid model for various reasons, but it's not as terrific as its reputation seems to still imply. All in all, it could still stand to be better, but the Aura's also could to in terms of various small details such as the armrests and the look of some design lines.

One thing the Camry definitely does better is a wider and equipment range, and the Hybrid model I just mentioned is a much better performer than the upcoming Aura's, but it's also naturally more expensive, so there's always a counterbalance.

Edited by caddycruiser
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The difference in their annual fuel-costs isn't that much. GM's superior warranty would cover most reliability issues if there were any... Saturns tend to hold their resale value also. Bottom line... You just pay more for the Camry.

Even if everything maybe be covered under warranty for longer, but the added time and aggravation of having to take the car in for the fixes can't be quantified in dollars, but can make a huge difference to perceived value, which is what in the end keeps buyers coming back or sending them elsewhere.

That's all assuming that the new Camry's reliability is better than the aura, which is questionable so far.

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You mean the interior? Personally I like think the new Camry's interior is fine, certainly better than the Accords, I dislike the Avalon's and haven't sat in a Tundra.

The FJ's interior is terrible, but it sells. I really doubt anyone cares. I doubt anyone but magazines pay that much attention to interior quality.

You're not serious are you? Interiors are extremely important. A lot of people buy cars because of how nice the interior is...since that's where they spend all there time. The Accord's interior is far better in terms of design and materials. It's still one of the best if not the best in the class.

And let's not forget...the Camry uses the same stuff from the Caliber's dash for the A-pillars. Gross.

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Even if everything maybe be covered under warranty for longer, but the added time and aggravation of having to take the car in for the fixes can't be quantified in dollars, but can make a huge difference to perceived value, which is what in the end keeps buyers coming back or sending them elsewhere.

That's all assuming that the new Camry's reliability is better than the aura, which is questionable so far.

Well, Edmunds didn't refer to this. I was just talking about Edmunds' justifications (reliability costs)... however the best way to gauge "customer aggravation" is customer service surveys, and Saturn dealerships trump Toyota hands down. Saturn customers are practically cared for with a white glove treatment.

But still, GM vehicles are reliable.

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You have to love the typical "vanilla Camry styling" comment. The Aura is just as vanilla, maybe French vanilla, but still vanilla. Vanilla can describe the entire segment's styling, always has and always will, so complaining about it is a waste of time.

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You mean the interior? Personally I like think the new Camry's interior is fine, certainly better than the Accords, I dislike the Avalon's and haven't sat in a Tundra.

The FJ's interior is terrible, but it sells. I really doubt anyone cares. I doubt anyone but magazines pay that much attention to interior quality.

I'll be the next one to call you out ;) but the Camry has second rate quality compared to Accord. Fit, finish, quality and consistency are all much better in Accord. Toyota has been disappointing me as of late, with top of the lines Siennas incorporating switches GM could use, and be ridiculed for it. I thought it was just the older cars, but the Camry definitely lags behind the best, being Accord and Passat/Jetta.

About interior quality....we all have higher standards here than most of the general buying public, but there are increasingly a hihger percentage of customers that become more demanding and discerning with more exposure. still, to most of the general public, yes an interior like the Camry has is probably fine. FJ is another story, and with that car its more about settling with the interior because of the exterior appeal, which is not a good thing for the company in my mind. Subjectively speaking though, the Camry's interior design is kinda childish, and objectively speaking the quality is behind, though I think it's on par with Aura or a little better than aura. I did love the quality of the cloth covering the seats and the comfort of the seats was phenomonal.

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Are you on crack? Seriously, no one cares about interior quality??? Where do you get that and your comment about the Accord. Seriously... get rid of the bias for a minute. IF you have spent any time in the Camry YOU KNOW that just isn't true. No arguement there. Timex called and wants there center console clock back.

I have never personally heard anyone complain about a vehicle's interior in my life. GM sold millions of GMT800's so I doubt anyone cared.

As far as the biased comment is concerned, not the case at all. The Accord is hard plastic, tiny buttons, an overall sterile german-like bland design. I much prefer the new Camry's interior, including the Timex center console. I've sat the VW Jetta, and its interior is the blandest I have ever seen.

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I have never personally heard anyone complain about a vehicle's interior in my life. GM sold millions of GMT800's so I doubt anyone cared.

As far as the biased comment is concerned, not the case at all. The Accord is hard plastic, tiny buttons, an overall sterile german-like bland design. I much prefer the new Camry's interior, including the Timex center console. I've sat the VW Jetta, and its interior is the blandest I have ever seen.

Heh I've got friends that have complained about interiors, except we were sitting in a Buick Century and an Escalade(GMT800) so how could we not? :P

Well if that's your preference for interiors then at least you explained it. I don't think the Accord's interior is particularly German looking, it's just a good design in my eyes. I actually find all BMW interiors pretty spartan and I don't get what's so great about them, yes even including the 7-series. Must be the materials? Same goes for Audi's A4, but I do have to say the A8's interior is awesome with its nice flowing design.

Edited by big blue
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I love the comment on the toyota cheap interior. Finally GM has interiors that are the best.

I absolutely, totally, disagree.......(at least as far as the AURA is concerned.)

The AURA has one of the most disappointingly shabby interiors in a GM car that I've seen in quite awhile. It's not so much material quality as it is the extremely poor fit-and-finish. I can't EVEN believe AutoWeek liked the AURA's interior better.....

At NAIAS, there were three AURAs on the floor. ALL three of them had center consoles so loosely attached, you could wobble them back-and-forth at least a good solid 1/2 of an inch....! In fact they had so much give, the whole console was sliding back-and-forth underneath the shift plate that stayed in place.

Next up, was the door panel armrests. If you push down on the armrests with your fingers, it deflects so much it actually pulls AWAY from the door panel.

Finally, there were the excessive number of cutlines where all the pieces to the door panels, dash, console, and center stack all meet up. A sure-fire combination for squeaks and rattles down the road.

The AURA was SO bad (and Evok attested to this awhile back in another thread) that I even asked the Saturn people if these cars were pre-production or prototypes. She said they were absolutely production line units and were in fact going to auction after the auto show circuit. In HER defense, she was very good about writing down VIN numbers and making copious notes about my complaints.

GM (and Jill what-the-hell-is-her-last-name) should be ashamed of the interior on this car.

That being said......BRING ON the Malibu.

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Interior quality is a major part of selling a vehicle these days. People spend so much time in their vehicles, so it's desirable to have a nice environment to sit in while in gridlock.

One of the reasons my family bought a Toyota Sienna was because the interior quality was better than the competition. It's pretty shiesty now, but back in 2000, it looked great.

Consumer Reports used to praise Toyota interiors, but I've seen a little less praise recently. I too, have noticed that the Camry's interior did not seem, "Toyota" enough. A comparable Fusion at least felt a bit more substantial. I cannot testify for the Aura, simply because I have yet to even see one.

That being said, the interior isn't the ONLY thing going for a vehicle these days. The LX cars and the Dodge Caliber are good examples. The Caliber's interior isn't all that great, but I see them all over.

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That's not good if the interior quality of the Aura is poor, but hey, at least you can easily pull pieces of the center stack off a la the Camry. :P

Also, if you go to Autoweek's past poles, the Aura beat the Camry in Autoweek-reader opinions 50.1% to 19.7% (the remaining people either said "Neither" or "Both are nice."

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