Avg. Price Paid:$7,361 - $9,103
Original MSRP: $20,045 - $25,675
MPG: 22 City / 30 Hwy
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2008 Saturn Aura Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Saturn Aura was new.

The Aura has pleasing power and handling. "It has a taut feel with good steering quality and an overall feeling that the brakes, suspension and powertrain are in agreement with each other," says New Car Test Drive.

"The handling and steering feel were good overall but would benefit greatly from a more performance-oriented set of tires," says Road and Track. "The feedback from the brake pedal is good, but the braking system's decent stopping power could be a little better." Kelley Blue Book says the powertrain is "more than adequate and downright competitive."

Acceleration and Power

The Saturn Aura is available in three models, each featuring a different engine: the Aura XE I-4, Aura XE V6 and the Aura XR. "One dimension of this eye-catching sedan that we wholeheartedly salute is the powertrain," says Road and Track. The base model is equipped with a 2.4-liter engine with 169 horsepower, the XE V6 has a 3.5-liter, V6 engine with 219 horsepower and the Aura XR features a 3.6-liter, V6 engine with 252 horsepower. "Opt for the latter if you can," says U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman. "It's fiery and quiet, with plenty of acceleration."

Acceleration was generally praised, but was another 'almost perfect' aspect of the Saturn Aura. "Although slower than the Altima, the XE V6 Aura was still 7.7 seconds lickety-split to 60 mph," reports Car and Driver. Fuel economy estimates are average for the XE and XR models. The EPA estimates the Aura XE I-4 should achieve 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 on highways. The XE's 3.5-liter V6 should earn 18 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. Meanwhile, Aura XR estimates are 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Handling and Braking

Aura XE and XR models come with power rack-and-pinion steering. "The rack-and-pinion steering offers some good feedback from the road, but it's communicating in whispers," says Edmunds. "For one thing, the Aura's firm, accurate hydraulic-boosted power steering feels better and is more precise than the electric power steering assist in the base Malibu," says MSN.

Several reviewers tested two or all of the Aura models. "The XE has good handling, but the XR is more responsive," says MSN. "Some may go for the XE's slightly softer ride. But the XR's tauter suspension isn't uncomfortable, even on poorly paved roads." Others did not notice changes with the suspension. "Little difference in suspension tuning between XE, XR, and Green Line," says Consumer Guide. "All have firm but agreeable ride. Body control generally good, though our testers noted some jiggle and body drumming on rippled surfaces." All Aura models feature an independent McPherson-strut front suspension with a hollow stabilizer bar and a four-link independent rear suspension with a solid stabilizer bar. "The fully independent suspension splits the difference between ride quality and handling, both of which are quite good," says New Car Test Drive. All Auras come standard with four-wheel disc, anti-lock brakes and dynamic rear proportioning.

Review Last Updated: 3/10/09

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