pow

Car and Driver drives AURA Hybrid

23 posts in this topic

http://www.caranddriver.com/shortroadtests...green-line.html

Tested: 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line - Short Take Road Tests

Sorry, Saturn, but we don’t foresee long lines forming at the dealership for this budget hybrid.

BY JARED GALL, May 2007

Strolling to the parking lot to hop into the Aura at the end of the day, we noticed our Aura Green Line was red. A red Green Line? How about a Red Green line: “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

The Red Green Show was a Canadian parody of home-improvement and outdoor shows that ran on CBC and PBS from 1991 to 2006. Main character Red Green was known for his nuggets of humble wit.

What would Red think of the Aura Green Line? Well, the people have spoken, and they already seem to think the Aura is a handsome car. We do. Red, what if the women do find you handsome? Does that mean you don’t have to be handy, then?

Good for the Aura Green Line, because the mild hybrid powertrain in this car is not particularly handy at acceleration or saving fuel. This is the same drivetrain that powers the Saturn Vue Green Line, and not the sort of hybrid that will whoosh around on nothing but electric power. Rather, the electric motor spins the accessory drive when the Aura is stopped, allowing the gasoline engine to shut down when stationary. When the driver takes his or her foot off the brake pedal, the engine starts back up.

GM says this mild hybrid, although it saves less fuel than a full hybrid, is a cheaper way to hybrid enlightenment, which is correct. With a base price of $22,695, this is the cheapest hybrid on the market today, but just barely. The Aura only undercuts the Toyota Prius by $100. Our example came with a single option, the $375 Preferred package, that includes a power driver seat, power mirrors, and steering-wheel audio controls.

All hybrids do the start/stop trick, but in most the action is (almost) transparent, and the driver has to pay close attention to notice the engine starting and stopping. In our long-term Lexus RX400h, often the only way to tell if the engine was running or not was to look at the power-flow display on the driver information screen. All you have to do to tell if the Aura Green Line is running or not is to be in it, since the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is as smooth and quiet as a riot in a minefield.

Since we don’t spend much of our time idling in traffic here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this hybrid solution netted less-than-spectacular results for the Aura Green Line’s fuel-economy numbers. We averaged 23 mpg, only 3 mpg better than a V-6 Aura and a number we’re sure Saturn would rather we didn’t report. Granted, that number includes our track-testing session and flogging the car from every stop just to hear the poor 2.4 suffer, but every car we test must protect its petroleum reserves against the same onslaught.

We could get 23 mpg in a much more entertaining car, one with more than a mere 164 horsepower, one capable of reaching 60 mph in less than 9.4 seconds and with a quarter-mile better than 17.3 seconds at 83 mph. This lethargic acceleration is due also to the gearing in the four-speed automatic, which, to keep revs down at speed, stretches the ratios farther than an engine with only 159 pound-feet of torque should. More than four gears would be useful. Heck, they’ve been putting 21-speed transmissions on bicycles for years that could probably handle the Green Line’s torque.

We could get that sort of fuel economy in a car that delivered much more driving excitement than did the Aura, what with its underwhelming 0.76-g skidpad performance, too. Okay, that number was no doubt hindered by the budget Uniroyal Tiger Paws, tires that grip the road with all the feeble tenacity of the runt of the litter and scream just as shrilly at almost any provocation.

More grip in the Aura Green Line would be useful venturing onto the freeway, as its lackadaisical acceleration means the safest way to enter traffic is by building as much speed as possible while orbiting the on-ramp before actually having to merge, therefore minimizing the amount of time spent in the travel lanes while the overburdened four-cylinder strains to get the car to speed.

We could get better fuel economy and better performance from other vehicles, but could we do it for less than $23,070? Well, actually, yeah, we could. How about a four-cylinder Honda Accord or Nissan Altima?

GM is working on a full hybrid powertrain for the 2009 Vue, a system that will cost more but save more fuel. We hope that powertrain will be shared with the Aura.

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $23,070 (base price: $22,695)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve inline-4, 164-hp, 128 lb-ft; AC permanent-magnet electric motor, 5 hp, 48 lb-ft; combined system, 164 hp

TRANSMISSION: 4-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 112.3 in Length: 190.0 in Width: 70.3 in Height: 57.6 in Curb weight: 3510 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 9.4 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 27.8 sec

Street start, 5–60 mph: 9.9 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 17.3 sec @ 83 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 192 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.76 g

FUEL ECONOMY:

EPA city/highway driving: 28/35 mpg

C/D-observed: 23 mpg

--------------------------------

With the 2008 EPA test procedures, I have a feeling the BAS-system benefits would be negligible...9.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They realize the tires are lousy track performers because they're low-rolling-resistance, right? Probably not because they don't seem to realize much.

$100 less than the Prius? When have you seen a Prius go for MSRP? And why would you want to drive around looking like an embarasment in a cheese wedge? AURA qualifies for the $2000 tax rebate that the Prius won't in short time.

They get low recorded fuel economy after flogging the $h! out of the car. Uh, guess what, most people don't drive a skidpad and do a track day all day every day, but that doesn't matter. Saturn still makes a piece of $h!.

Better yet, read the comments in their own forum to get an accurate glimpse of this car...

Clicky

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah it was a typically biased review, and the Camry hybrid costs how much? And looks how bad... Seriously the Aura Greenline is a good midsize car. I would consider one if gas keeps going up the way it is.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Poor 0-60, mediocre economy & a great price...how could they give it a rave review? GM took all of the stuff out that made the Aura sparkle (cool option combos & WC 6cyl. /6sp.)

Remind me why this vehicle is necessary?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remind me why this vehicle is necessary?

Cause a sucker is born every minute?

How else can you explain hybrid sales?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless you're in serious stop and go traffic, I don't see the reason for this hybrid over a normal 2.4/2.5L powered midsizer like every other make offers.

They get low recorded fuel economy after flogging the $h! out of the car. Uh, guess what, most people don't drive a skidpad and do a track day all day every day, but that doesn't matter. Saturn still makes a piece of $h!.

As is the case with just about all short-term car reviews. However you probably won't see Reg chiming in on this one, like he seems to do with every import review that garnishes a low observed mileage rating (omgzorz, RDX only gets 13mpg when they race it around a mountain highway!). :thumbsup:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>"Sorry, Saturn, but we don’t foresee long lines forming at the dealership for this budget hybrid."<<

No one seems to be lining up for civic or accord hybrids either. Oh yea- and the impact is dead.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Better yet, read the comments in their own forum to get an accurate glimpse of this car...

Clicky

An actual owner in the forum said he got 24 mpg, and he suggests GM bring over diesels.

Which makes the Car and Driver review pretty accurate, if not a little harsh in their choice of words.

But hey, they had to make their article entertaining.

Just admit this half "hybrid" is nonsense.

The upcoming GM/Chrysler/BMW Two-mode hybrid will be what hybrids are suppose to be.

GM should have marketed this "hybrid" as "2.4L ecotec, with auto-shutoff". Not call it a "hybrid".

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

from the thread Fly posted

What's particularly interesting is that he actually managed to get 2 MPG less in the Aura than Bedard did in the VUE Green Line (23 versus 25), even though the powertrains are identical. If anything, the tall, boxy VUE ought to be less thrifty than the Aura. This must have been one lead-footed review session.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What an engine with auto-shutoff for accessory drive would be good for are:

1. taxi drivers with extensive idling.

2. university students who sleep and study in their car, because they don't live on campus.

It's actually a nice little feature, if it didn't cost as much extra as the this car.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Aura is a much nicer vehicle than Car and Driver is willing to admit.

Vue Greenline Owner

Less than 3k miles.

24 mpg last tank and climbing in nearly 100% city driving (driven fairly hard too).

The engine is no match for a 3500, that's for sure.

But it is also anything but raucus.

It's peaceful pulling up to the stoplight.

Everything shuts off. No noise, no vibration.

The BAS pickup is smooth as butter.

Considering the $600 tax credit for the Vue that replaced a 16 mpg minivan.

At $3.40/gallon and 10k miles per year, the "extra" for the hybrid is paid off in 2 years.

Posted Image

Posted Image

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too bad it looks cheap, especially those door panels.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too bad it looks cheap, especially those door panels.

The Aura or the Vue or both?

Just about everyone has ripped the Aura for that.

The Vue panels aren't that bad in person.

It's the arm-rests that kill me.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Aura or the Vue or both?

Just about everyone has ripped the Aura for that.

The Vue panels aren't that bad in person.

It's the arm-rests that kill me.

Both actually, the Aura's look better but don't feel good when you rest your arm on the panel arm rests.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the review was humorously harsh, but hey... The Aura is a half assed hybrid in the first place.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Aura is a half assed hybrid in the first place.

click here

BMW to Apply Start-Stop and Brake Regen to MINIs; Up to 60 MPG US

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless you're in serious stop and go traffic, I don't see the reason for this hybrid over a normal 2.4/2.5L powered midsizer like every other make offers.

As is the case with just about all short-term car reviews. However you probably won't see Reg chiming in on this one, like he seems to do with every import review that garnishes a low observed mileage rating (omgzorz, RDX only gets 13mpg when they race it around a mountain highway!). :thumbsup:

well the rdx costs 15 grand more and gets 10 mpg less. why wouldn't i rip on it?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

click here

BMW to Apply Start-Stop and Brake Regen to MINIs; Up to 60 MPG US

BMW's been quite smart (I'd dare to say elegant) with the way they're introducing these technologies, while GM seems to be stuck in 1950's hyperbole marketing. GM still has serious communication/marketing issues to deal with.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

click here

BMW to Apply Start-Stop and Brake Regen to MINIs; Up to 60 MPG US

The Aura is more than the start-stop system that C&D implies. A quick glance at the official figures will show that it doesn't offer much benefit in city driving, but much more than other hybrids on the highway. A start-stop system only has benefit in start-stop city driving.

BMW's "brake regeneration" is misleading. Unlike systems which recover energy from braking to recharge the hybrid battery (using the electric motor/s as a generator), it merely uses the engine to recharge the standard battery (when you apply the brakes the alternator starts up). Of course this is a good idea, and allows slightly more power for actual driving, but even when combined with the Start-Stop system (which really should be extended to any combination of brake application and engine idle, even if the car is moving), it doesn't compare to the Aura's mild hybrid system.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Aura is more than the start-stop system that C&D implies. A quick glance at the official figures will show that it doesn't offer much benefit in city driving, but much more than other hybrids on the highway. A start-stop system only has benefit in start-stop city driving.

BMW's "brake regeneration" is misleading. Unlike systems which recover energy from braking to recharge the hybrid battery (using the electric motor/s as a generator), it merely uses the engine to recharge the standard battery (when you apply the brakes the alternator starts up). Of course this is a good idea, and allows slightly more power for actual driving, but even when combined with the Start-Stop system (which really should be extended to any combination of brake application and engine idle, even if the car is moving), it doesn't compare to the Aura's mild hybrid system.

Exept for the fact that it improves mileage almost as much... without the complexity or hype of claiming mild hybrid status.

I would have sooner liked to see the 2.4 with a 6 sp.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BMW's been quite smart (I'd dare to say elegant) with the way they're introducing these technologies, while GM seems to be stuck in 1950's hyperbole marketing. GM still has serious communication/marketing issues to deal with.

I think GM is going about the hybrid thing all wrong ( I know they have better stuff coming ;) ) These semi-hybrids , IMO anyways ...are like near beer .....not that desireable .

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor