2008 Saturn Aura Green Line Review

Posted on 30. Jan, 2008 by in Auto News

In recent years, General Motors has had something of a change of heart regarding hybrid. In 2004, "car czar" Bob Lutz hybrid cars dismissed as "impractical" and "a fad." By 2007, won a Green Line Saturn dedicated off-shoot exclusively on the sale of such efforts. While GM is not separate from revenue statistics for Saturn sub-brand, it suffices to say sales suck. This bodes poorly for the latest green Saturn engine: the 2008 Aura Green Line. Is the hybrid version of last year's North American Car of the Year deserve a chance?

Now that the Accord Hybrid has evaporated, the Aura Green Line splashes into a shallow pool competitive. The Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry Hybrid are the only direct competitor. Like his mid opponent inherits the hybridized Aura, a four-cylinder gas engine from its base model stablemate. In the aura of the case, there is a 2.4-liter, 164 horsepower Ecotec. But comparisons get more difficult from there. The aura is based on GM crispy "high value strategy." As a result of playing the Saturn hybrid system Encino Man to Toyota Einstein.

Namely: The green line five horsepower electric motor is little more than an overgrown alternator, unable own motivation to his aura. It primarily serves the gas engine after restarting stoplight system shutdowns. Olde Tyme a four-speed automatic chews (slowly) on the resulting output. Do you want to monitor your fuel savings? Squint to spot a "eco" light idiot. The Green Line is based on a faulty premise: that people buy hybrids to pinch pennies especially.

Sun Saturn mileage Queen begins on a low, low MSRP of $ 22,695. For that price you get the rudimentary hybrid system detailed above, plus automatic climate control, six airbags, an iPod dock and an EPA estimate of 24/32 MPG. Combined, which is about two mpg more than a four-cylinder Camry or Altima and six MPG less than either car-hybrid version.

You also get three large, chrome-green 'hybrid' badges: one for the front of each fender and trunklid. One could argue that these brilliant proclamations of economy are misleading because the Green Line of the EPA Air Pollution Score no better than the Aura XE. Never mind. Badges aside, the aura styling equal treatment for something in the family-car class. It provides a clean, clear and anonymous grace.

Until you step in, that is. While the aura of the low hood and slim fit inside dimensions contribute to a lean, breezy ride environment, its interiors are not exactly high-bred. A band of padded polymer comprises upper dash, with a pronounced "lip" division of the rock-hard, rental-grade stuff to the teachings and center console. Similarly give the aura of the armrests and seat cushions little substance to a fixed-finger. Heck, you do not even have a spare tire in the trunk, just a compressor and a bottle of sealant.

Yes, this is a hair-shirt hybrid, nowhere more so than in its performance class. The aura of hand-me-down Ecotec is not a bad egg: It smoothly idle drones and dispassionate in motion. But. With only four Sequoia tall gears, about his 159 pounds / ft of torque spread, rolling throttle response is often empty and hesitant Zero to 60 mph takes about 10 seconds, about the same as a $ 20,950, 45 mpg Prius.

Ah, but the aura of the handling is at a level above the Prius'. While the Saturn chassis feels like sterile, with few signs of life reaching the seat or pedals, it's tight and tied down in a very un-Toyota-like. Its electric power steering, stiff and boring after the first acquaintance, proves an invaluable Interstate allies: it naturally centers with a vengeance, locks on the horizon like a remora on a manta ray. Leadership is vital in the twisties, even though the green line early in the squeally Uniroyal Call Off The chase.

Other attractions include the aura simply parts-bin switchgear, its large trunk (a few cubes larger than a hybrid Camry or Altima s) and Saturn dealers haggle free soft sell. Plus, there's that Kmart price.

But here's the catch: all of the above also applies to the base model Aura XE. You want to talk pinched pennies? The model slides the door for a cool $ 19,745. And all you lose is automatic climate control, a few mpgs and the green line, the inability to breathe A / C in the car when you are parked at a red light. The gasp you hear is the wind going out of the green line of revenue sailing.

In fact, if it's a marketing gimmick or a serious attempt is carving a niche, shows Saturn Aura Hybrid is a fundamental misunderstanding of the public. Hybrid buyers are again not for bargain hunters. Seen demographically, they are loaded. They are willing to pay a premium for an interesting, unusual vehicle that reflects their beliefs.

GM can still reach gas-electric illumination. It can even happen soon. One suspects, however, that the Aura Green Line is long enough to experience it live.