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regfootball

AURA 08 XE 4 cylinder test drive

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well, i had wanted to take out the astra today, but the sales guy practically pulled me out of the astra in the showroom and said 'try the aura'......here's why, the aura has a 20k sticker. So does the Astra. He was trying to say how good a value the Aura is.

Since it was really close to close I am like, why not? I have driven the v6 model XR before and liked it, although it was awhile ago.

I did buy into his idea. The Aura was an XE with a sticker somewhere between 20 and 21k. There is incentives on it too, i think.

Well, i am not small so wedgning into an epsilon car is always a little bit gymnastics, but i think i have it down now. You have to limbo under the roof :)

The Aura seats are nice, maybe a tish blocky and narrow. I wish the cabin was a couple inches wider, but for most people this car will feel plenty wide. Leg room front and back is great. The Aura has nice armrests. The gauges while small, fall into view nicely. The center stack is a bit low, but is convenient to use, if cheap looking. Interior plastics are quite good for GM but average on the whole. The Astra has better materials. I do like the seat cloth A LOT. It's not the mouse fur. Its a nice knit cloth that feels durable and not that grippy....looks good too. The rear leg room in this car is the superstar. It feels limo like even if the front seatback cutouts are not wide enough to allow you to splay your legs. You can get your feet under the front seat. Rear passengers would feel coddled despite a little less headroom that should be.

Trunk space is not bad. Not a very tall trunk but it is right there with the competition.

Exterior styling is nice and the base wheelcovers to me look wonderful.....never thought i would say such a thing but its gotta be easier to clean brake dust from these than real aluminum wheels. The tires could stand an upgrade.

Engine....2.4 l 4 cyl ecotec. I have liked every ecotec car I have ever driven. This is no exception. The engine is smooth in the Aura. SOme minimal vibration is felt at idle but at high rpms the ecotec smooths out wonderfully. No coarseness, it rev like mad and all the sins are damped out.

Steering is decent (steering wheel was not leather, needs a little more touch to it).....ride is pretty good. There is some tire noise, and some cabin noise but its not a lot. The exhaust sound of the ecotec revving is like a little race car and is wonderful. I bet the 260hp turbo would be wonderful in this car.

The engine is mated to a 4 speed. In 09 we get the six speed. The 4 does well for what it is, but you really need the 2 more speeds.....well, i do. As a commuter, the 4 speed is well matched and uses the engine well. It needs more punch off the line and from stoplight to stoplight.....but above 50 mph this car comes alive. The ecotec will cruise silently at 80mph all day and I bet it gets great mpg doing it (salesdude said 35mpg highway is not improbable). As a road car, this car would do well, lots of passenger room, good mpg, attractive cabin.

FOr most people who like sportier cars, I think this would be a great commuter car. Its a great value. You can get a power seat and a bunch of other goodies cheaply.

Previously when i had tested an XR 6 cylinder i had felt the chassis was flexy and that front end was heavy and that the cabin noise was a bit much. I think i will need to retest the XR to see if I still feel that way. Thing is, the 4 cylinder I think is a great car by itself. I would spend extra for the 6 speed if i could, but the 4 speed is alright. The car needs more stoplight to stoplight punch, but aside from that you wont hurt for power. I would hope GM can provide like a 200hp 2.5 base 4 and the 260hp direct injection turbo as an option. The turbo with a DSG would be so prime in this car and if it meant keeping the heavy v6 from being under the hood i would maybe be ok with it.

Will i get one? I'll keep it on the list. It lacks the Ford Sync feature I like but depending on the pricing at the time I may purchase, if there is a deal, I could see this car being in the running. As an aside, I should try the Malibu. I like the Aura just as much, but i see some things here why the Malibu gets good reviews as well.

I think this is a great car for a first time purchaser, someone out of college, new married or partner couples looking for a spacious family car........or for someone downsizing from a larger fuel sucking car.

As soon as the 6 speeds get in the showroom and if GM would fix the interior, then I think this car would get an A-. I would maybe call this a olid B or B+ as it is now, especially because of the value proposition. As an aside, of other 4 cylinder contemporaries I have driven and can rank this against...... I would get it over a mazda6 and the fusion (except for 09 fusion gets new powertrain and it already has sync). Its way cooler than the 08 accord i drove and felt more sprightly, although the accord has size. The galant 4 cylinder is not bad but the aura is more stylish and more nimble. I didnt like the sebring so the aura blows it away. I havent driven the altima yet or the malibu.

I hope saturn sells a lot of these 4 cylinder auras, they are a nice car and a great way to lure new saturn buyers into the fold.

If i can smartbuy this thing cheap i may do it....lol of course base taurus are under 20 grand now too....

Edited by regfootball
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The four bangers should get decent fuel economy, but it's hard not to resist a slightly-used '07 V-6, considering how quickly the AURA depreciates. The local Saturn dealer here has a CPO AURA XE 3.5 with 20K miles for $15K.

There's one on eBay B-I-N for $14K... http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Cars-Trucks...0228919652&

The only new midsizer for that price would be an Optima.

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I know th Ecotec redlines well but the deep growl of the 3.4/3.5 and torque off the line is hard not to love. I love both my 3.4's. Each get much better fuel economy than my beloved 3800 in my Bonneville.

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deep MOAN, you mean :) my 3.4 in my aztek is covered up by sound deadener but it still hints at vacuum cleaner. LOL

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deep MOAN, you mean :) my 3.4 in my aztek is covered up by sound deadener but it still hints at vacuum cleaner. LOL

Oh GAWD......you still have that thing?

:P

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yeah but the 3.5 is a growler and doesnt redline like the ecotec.

But you can get a depreciated 3.5 AURA now... whereas if you want a $14K four-banger, you'll have to wait another year. :P

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Oh GAWD......you still have that thing?

:P

yup. we haven't even had it 4 years. its up to about 90k. haven't had to fix anything on it. GM replaced some wheel bearings on it and I've done tires and brakes and that's it. Its completely trouble free. Time for another radiator and tranny flush soon. The thing holds so much gear it swallows more stuff than....well.

I am itching for something new but its been good to us. I just think I should get rid of it while its still saleable.

I bought it new for 16k. I might be able to find a sucker to still give me 8-10 grand for it. That's spending 8,000 bucks to drive 90,000 miles. Not too shabby.

Edited by regfootball
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deep MOAN, you mean :) my 3.4 in my aztek is covered up by sound deadener but it still hints at vacuum cleaner. LOL

vacuum cleaner = turbine

turbine smooth = BMW inline 6

.....

Profit!

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Like the saleman, I too think the Aura is more car for the money over an Astra. On the seat thing and getting in and out a agree with you there as well. I'm 6'-3" and does take some precaution getting in and out, and the seat could deffinatly be another inch or 2 wider. Rear seat leg room is incredible for a midsize car! We have an XR, there is some motor noise inside but nothing bad in any way. More of a "wirr" sound than anything on average accelerations. Sure I have some minor grips, it has auto up window instead of auto down (why not have both?) Don't like the center console armrest material, wish it was like the new Malibu's. I with the interior dome lights were integrated in the rear view mirror vs being above it (they are in my eyes when turned on). Dash vents, when closed, the top 2 slits are still open letting air through?? Why didn't they make the whole vent shut off?? But we are very happy with it, love the motor and drivetrain.

Now, this isn't a very fair comparison, but did drive a 3.6L G8. Absolutly loved this car, very comfortable for a person my size! Very comfortable seats. Suspension tuning going in and out of driveways and across railroad tracks is a lot better than the Aura. But was more sluggish than our XR, but I'm sure that's due to heavier weight. A G8 may be the Aura's replacement in a few years??!

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Like the saleman, I too think the Aura is more car for the money over an Astra. On the seat thing and getting in and out a agree with you there as well. I'm 6'-3" and does take some precaution getting in and out, and the seat could deffinatly be another inch or 2 wider. Rear seat leg room is incredible for a midsize car! We have an XR, there is some motor noise inside but nothing bad in any way. More of a "wirr" sound than anything on average accelerations. Sure I have some minor grips, it has auto up window instead of auto down (why not have both?) Don't like the center console armrest material, wish it was like the new Malibu's. I with the interior dome lights were integrated in the rear view mirror vs being above it (they are in my eyes when turned on). Dash vents, when closed, the top 2 slits are still open letting air through?? Why didn't they make the whole vent shut off?? But we are very happy with it, love the motor and drivetrain.

Now, this isn't a very fair comparison, but did drive a 3.6L G8. Absolutly loved this car, very comfortable for a person my size! Very comfortable seats. Suspension tuning going in and out of driveways and across railroad tracks is a lot better than the Aura. But was more sluggish than our XR, but I'm sure that's due to heavier weight. A G8 may be the Aura's replacement in a few years??!

My '07 AURA XE has both the AUTO down and up features... are you sure you are working the switch correctly, or that the window switch is not broken? I'd look into that, as I love this feature (auto down & up) and hope it expands to more GM vehicles soon.

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