in 2009 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,065 - $10,065
Original MSRP: $26,325 - $26,325
MPG: 26 City / 34 Hwy
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2009 Saturn Aura Hybrid Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The performance of the 2009 Saturn Aura lags significantly behind the rest of the midsize class, as well as other hybrid cars. It shares some of the fun handling characteristics of its conventionally-powered sibling, but its acceleration is among the worst seen at this price. The EPA estimates that the Aura Hybrid should get 26 mpg in the city and 34 mg on the highway, which is not much better than the four-cylinder Aura's 22/33 mpg rating.

  • "Not only is the Aura Hybrid less fuel-efficient than its rivals, it also makes them look like sports cars at the drag strip." -- Edmunds
  • "Anemic-feeling gasoline-electric hybrid power and lackluster fuel economy vis-à-vis its Japanese competitors." -- MSN

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Aura Hybrid is a mild hybrid -- meaning that it has an electric motor that assists the gasoline engine in moving the car, but it is incapable of running on electric power alone. Its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 164 horsepower, and most test drivers categorize it as sluggish.

  • "If you're looking for a car with pep, this isn't the model for you. Even assuming that most people shopping for a budget hybrid sedan aren't lead foots, this car is quite slow." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The second you release the brake pedal from a stop, the inline four wakes up from its idle-stop slumber with all the subtlety of a boot to the backside." -- Automobile.com
  • "Its punchless power plant makes freeway merging more of an adventure than it should be." -- Edmunds
  • "Hybrids are slower than other Auras, but they cope reasonably well with traffic." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

The conventional Aura is a sharp-handling car, but some testers say those driving dynamics haven't carried over well to the hybrid version of the car. Its handling is competitive with the middle of the midsize class, but not near the top, like its sibling.

  • "I enjoyed the comfortable ride and easy handling nature of the Aura." -- MSN
  • "Unfortunately, the non-hybrid Aura's above-average handling capabilities have been edited out of the Hybrid, thanks largely to its low-rolling-resistance tires." -- Edmunds
  • "The Aura Hybrid's steering and suspension have a tight, European feel to them." -- Business Week

Next Steps: 2009 Saturn Aura Hybrid

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