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We recently spent a week with Saturn's latest addition to the stable, the Aura Green Line, which afforded us the opportunity to size it up relative to its Aura XR sibling that we tested last year. The Aura XR was impressive, with attractive styling, some real pop underhood courtesy of the 3.6L V6, and a nicely-rounded, comfortable driving experience. A lot of he same basic good stuff carries forward to the Aura Green Line. Autoblog's Aura Hybrid also looked pretty sharp and comported itself well overall. Follow the jump for a brief rundown of some of our observations of the Green Line compared to the XR, and keep an eye on AutoblogGreen in the coming days, as our colleague, Sam Abuelsamid, will be posting a complete full-length review of the car.


2007 Saturn Aura Green LineThe Aura Green Line combines the the same mild hybrid system and 2.4L Ecotec engine used in the Vue Green Line that we reviewed last year. Good for 164 horsepower, it's paired with a 4-speed auto (the paddle-shifted six-speed would be nice here, General) and moves the Aura around ably. When warranted, the car gets an electric boost to help out with acceleration. It's no match for the XR's 3.6L V6, which is smoother, quieter, and much more powerful, but that said, the Green Line powertrain lets the car perform well both locally and on the interstate. The little green "eco" light appears quite readily and will remain illuminated as long as you keep your right foot light on the throttle. It becomes a bit of a game while driving to see how long you can keep it going, and unlike the '07 Vue Green Line, the Aura GL has an info center display in the gauge cluster that shows you both instant and average fuel economy. This means you can really keep tabs on how you're doing, and see a number to correspond with the light on the instrument panel.



The EPA rates the Aura Green Line at 28/35 city/highway, and over the week, we averaged right around 25 mpg -- just like we did with the Vue Green Line. The lowish number is probably attributable to yours truly's hellish 30-mile-each-way commute in mostly stop-and-go traffic. While it really puts the stop/start system to work, it otherwise doesn't play up to the Aura's strength as an economical highway cruiser. That trait that became apparent when I used the car as my transportation to and from the Greenwich Concours last weekend. In contrast to my weekday commute, the 60-mile round trip each weekend day was a breeze, and over the two days, the car's average fuel economy increased pretty quickly.

2007 Saturn Aura green LineOur tester was equipped with the Preferred Package, which adds a power driver's seat, wheel-mounted radio controls, and heated electric outside mirrors. The cloth seating surfaces are fairly generic-looking, but the seats themselves are very comfortable and supportive. Parents who'd like a leather seating option (it's easier to keep clean) are out of luck: hides aren't available in the Aura Green Line -- a surprising omission, if you ask us. We also have to say that we found the light gray interior color to be on the boring side -- this is a matter of personal taste, of course, but it just didn't jibe well with the car's attractive Berry Red exterior, in our opinion. The available tan fabric and trim is far more complimentary, and is what we'd choose if we were buying.

2007 Saturn Aura Green Line

2007 Saturn Aura Green LineA passenger commented on the car's backseat legroom and noted that the dugouts in the front seatbacks really make a difference in this respect. Trunk space remains ample, but some is sacrificed to make room for the car's battery pack. One thing we mentioned when reviewing the XR is that the center storage bin's lid and latches felt exceptionally flimsy, and we expressed concern over their ability to survive daily use. After driving the Aura Green Line, we can affirm that the bin's lid really is an egregious piece of crap. The latch on this particular tester had become off-kilter and didn't work properly. It's this kind of thing that detracts from what is otherwise a perfectly good car that we genuinely like. Fix it.

2007 Saturn Aura Green LineYou'll find other hybrid sedans that top the Aura Green Line in terms of available equipment and fuel economy (think Altima and Camry), but the Saturn wins big in the window sticker competition, checking in at just $23,070 as tested. Throw in the $1300 federal tax credit it's eligible for, and once again, you have a very appealing value package in a car wearing the square Green Line badge.

Stay tuned for much more on the Aura Green Line from AutoblogGreen.

UPDATE: The full In the AutoblogGreen Garage review has now been posted.



2007 Saturn Aura Green Line


All photos Copyright ©2007 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I appreciate the effort...rather than waiting two more years (or whatever) for the full two-mode hybrid, Saturn opted to bring SOME kind of hybrid as soon as possible. It's more of a teensy preview of things to come than a copycat. That said, I'd prefer an Aura diesel option to a complex hybrid system. It IS an Opel...and a European car without a diesel option is like a Chihuahua without the shivers.
        • 7 Years Ago
        bmoredlj,

        It's not an Opel. Ues, it uses Opel design cues, but this is not the same car that Europe has. The next-gen Vectra/Aura will be the same thing, though. This is built on the line next to the Malibu, which is basically its mechanical twin. new Malibu's going to get the green Line powertrain, too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "...is like a Chihuahua without the shivers..."

      I'm gonna have to use that. Sometime, somewhere. But I will use it.

      Cheers!

      • 7 Years Ago
      This car is a bit on the heavy side for one reason or another. With that said though, its a great car and if you are looking for a new car in this segment then you should definitely check it out. Its MPG ratings are not up to par with competitors hybrid offerings, but it is much cheaper then the average hybrid. Considering that you can get a Aura GL for the price of most of its competitors gas engines, that alone should be reason enough to check it out. Let’s not forget the Aura has won several awards in both overall car and interior design. It is more then a match for a Camry or an accord with its standard V6 and is a great value, because even with the added weight the base Aura is much faster then a base camry.

      IMO, this car looks much better then the camry (especially the front end styling), and is much more modern looking than the accord (even the new accord, what a mess that is).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Why pray would I buy this car over an Altima 2.5S or Accord SE I4?

        It appears all Saturn has done is build an absurdly sluggish car (a 9.4sec 0-60 time is not something that tickles me between me trousers), sacrificed performance, and really not achieved any extraordinary goals with regard to mileage!

        The Accord I4 (5M) will give you comparable mileage, and is 1.3sec quicker from 0-60!

        The Altima 2.5S (6M) bases under 20K, 0-60 in 7.4sec (a full 2secs quicker than the Aura), and has similar MPG figures:

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008seleeng2f.jsp?year=2007&make=Saturn&model=Aura%20Hybrid

        IMHO, based on the reviews I've read so far, this "mild" hybrid will be a tough sell for Saturn.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Advertising for this car here in Los Angeles includes enormous billoboards where the entire left half of the sign is taken up by a "HYBRID" logo. The Aura may be GM's stalking horse, to "feel out" the market surrounding that keyword.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The 2007 Aura was just named the best interior design in it's class. I have driven this vehicle over 6000 miles and have average just over 31 MPG. It is smooth and quite, for the money it is a great value.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I just can't look a this car and not wonder about the waiting for a flood AWD SUV sized gaps above the tires. s this an offroader? Screwed up a perfectly good euro design.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ive studied the greenline hybrids, they have their place as a cheap interim until a better solution is available that is cost effective. The Horsepower ratings for this engine do not take in account the BAS ability to help in acceleration, and it does aid so it is stronger then most think.
      Also, I think GM 4 cylinders are looking better right now than toyota's (a first in awhile). Take a look at toyotas new 2.4L they are putting in all their cars. It has only 160HP in the best situation, yet GM manages 170+ in all applications. Why Is toyota messing around with such a large displacement when they almost had those numbers with much smaller engines?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Toyota's 2.4L is not new. There have been mules running around presumably testing a new one. The 2.4 has been tweaked a few times, but it has been used for years. Toyota has been upgrading their V-6s, their 1.8 is up next, then likely the 2.4.

        What I would like to know is if the new GM 4-banger is so good, why not just use that as the base model, make it SULEV or PZEV, and forego the hybrid altogether? The Camry 2.4 gets arguably better mileage and definitely better performance than the Aura hybrid.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @marc
        I dont see were you get your logic about the toyota 2.4L being better "performance" when the Ecotec 2.4 has a higher horsepower rating and is much cleaner then most other engines in its class, it was able to pass emissions standards without the use of EGR or air injection. I also don't think that its that bad as far as performance in the Aura GL despite its weight (only 200 pounds, basically another person), the axle ratio is 3, much higher then a Camry, so that really helps in straight line acceleration. One more point to make is that the BAS hybrid system HELPS in straight line acceleration, speeding up the car.

        You ask why GM doesn't do something, yet you back it up by saying "toyota is working on something". Well guess what? GM is working just as hard. Soon the 2.4L will be revamped with Direct injection, promising a HP and fuel economy jump. My problem with toyota is that they are replacing all their smaller fuel effecient motors with the 2.4. For example, the new Scion xB, instead of upgrading the 1.5L to a slightly larger more optimized engine, they just dumped the camry 2.4L engine into and rated it at a lowly 158HP! Does this sound right for a car that was just redesigned with a 2.4L engine?
      • 7 Years Ago
      That interior doesn't look good at all. I remember it was looking better before with all the wood and leather on the top model. I feel bad for the people buy the base Aura as the interior will probably be dark and plasticky.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hey Viv isn't there a playerhaters ball you should be attending?

        The Saturn's interior is nice, but you can't say, "they seem to operate on the belief that people will buy their cars no matter what."

        http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=109710

        hate, hate, hate, hate, hate...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Much better to look at than what japan is trotting out these days. They seem to operate on the belief that people will buy their cars no matter what.
      • 7 Years Ago
      'Screwed up a perfectly good euro design.'

      'Screw up' and 'Euro' is a given. This whole carbon, green and warming stuff is the scam of scams. Now carbon taxes? Friggin liberals
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think the GreenLine is not really meant to be a head on competitor with other Hybrids in it's class (That is what the upcomign Dual Mode is for). Rather, it's a substancially cheaper hybrid with decent fuel economy. I don't really see what is so God Awful about that. Of course Hybrids are going to be slower (well except the Accord). If you want speed get the 3.6. Its not that much worse than the Hybrid and it gets great performance. Sheesh, I bet if this was a Camry everyone would praise if for it's technology and affordability, not it's plastic interior (go figure) or it's AWFUL fuel economy. Please.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The General puts a Malibu in german looking cloths and people go crazy. LOL.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The BAS light-hybrid approach is finally making sense because they're not charging a premium for it (versus its non-hybrid competitors.)

      AURA GL: $21,395 (w/ tax credit) - 28/35 mpg
      Camry LE auto: $21,595 - 24/33 mpg
      Accord LX auto: $21,520 - 24/34 mpg

      Alloys and stability control, both of which are aren't available on 4-banger LX Accords (and extra-cost options on 4-banger LE Camrys), are standard. Not exactly breathtaking, but it's pretty compelling in the lower-end midsize family segment.
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