Other than the Corvette, Sky and Solstice, few GM products have made such a splash upon arriving on the new car scene as the Aura did. In only a few short months, it picked up number of awards including car of the year at the North American International Auto Show. Why all the confetti and party favors? Simple, the Aura is a revolution in GM's line-up of midsize family cars.
At first glance, the Aura looks far more contemporary than the L-Series it replaces. Inside and out, this car is more substantial, refined and better assembled. The cabin features a straight-forward dash layout with a number of thoughtful ideas. My biggest qualm is with the size of some of the buttons, especially those of the steering wheel: they are tiny and difficult to use.
As far as the mechanicals are concerned, I would avoid the 3.5L V6 and 4-speed automatic transmission even though they will most likely prove to the more reliable powertrain. The 3.6L V6 and 6-speed autobox are simply superior is every which other way; it packs more torque and only it can really compete with any of the competition's V6s.
On the road, the Aura provides a congenial mix between handling and comfort. Other than an unpleasant amount of rattles present in my tester and quite nearly terrible brakes, the Aura is a fine cruiser.
GM is onto something with the new Saturn. In fact, Saturn is quickly becoming the brand to watch in GM's extensive portfolio. The new Outlook is very good looking and I am simply dying to take the upcoming Astra for a spin.
Photos: Philippe Champoux
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