Aura XR-4 Kicks Luxury Down a Notch

Earlier this week, Glen Woodcook from profiled the 2009 Saturn Aura XR 4-cylinder. Woodcook liked the Aura's fuel economy, stylish exterior, and refined interior. "The Aura is a nicely thought out sedan," he wrote, "fully deserving of its victory in the 2007 North American Car of the Year competition."

Quickly reacting to the jump in the world price for a barrel of crude oil, and the corresponding leap at the pumps, GM has come out with a four-cylinder version of the upscale Saturn Aura XR that was introduced just last year. Built in Kansas, Aura uses GM's global Epsilon platform, developed by Opel in Germany and Saab in Sweden. Aura is based on the Opel Vectra. you get a well-equipped car with six airbags, power windows/locks/mirrors, air, keyless entry, cruise control, plus an automatic with a "manual" mode and paddle shifters mounted on the fat, leather-wrapped steering wheel that both tilts and telescopes. The pedals can be raised and lowered electrically, so finding your perfect driving position is a cinch, especially with our test car's optional power seat. The generous rear seat has an audio system with a pair of wireless earphones so those riding back there don't have to put up with the driver's choice of music (or he with theirs). Gauges for fuel and temperature, plus a speedometer and tach, are big, round and easy to read in white and orange. Actually, the instrument panel display can get downright colourful when cruise (a green icon) is activated along with the high beams (blue). The clean lines make the car look more expensive than it is and that modern European design is complemented by a well-crafted interior.

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