Good Gas Mileage, Capable Handling Make Saturn Aura "Worth a Look"

Mike Hanley from recently took at look at the new-for-2009 2.4L version of the Saturn Aura XR midsize sedan. The Aura XR is still offered with a 3.6L V6, but the new 4-cylinder powerplant gives customers a more fuel efficient option. Regardless of the powerplant you choose you'll get GM's smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission. The "automatic's gearing is well-matched to the four-cylinder," he wrote.

Saturn offers a four-cylinder or V-6 engine in the 2009 Aura, and both of them team with six-speed automatic transmissions. While the good gas mileage of the 169-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder will be appealing to many, the frugal fuel use doesn't come at the expense of acceptable performance, which is what this engine delivers. Choosing the 252-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 gets you a very strong engine that's also quite smooth. It emits a muted growl when accelerating hard and has plenty of power left when traveling at highway speeds. The six-speed automatics for the four-cylinder and V-6 include a clutchless-manual mode that lets the driver change gears using paddles on the steering wheel. I found a number of faults with the Aura's cabin when I first reviewed it, but Saturn appears to have made some improvements in the 2009 model. The driver's door armrest feels more solidly attached; before it felt like it was about to come loose each time you grasped its indentation to pull the door shut. The optional leather front seats are firm but comfortable, and the center dashboard's controls are smartly arranged. The rear seats closest to the doors have comfortable backrests, and there's sufficient legroom, thanks in part to the carved-out backs of the front seats, which create extra room for rear passengers' knees.

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