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Old 09-09-2006, 02:50 PM   #1
GR898SL2
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Default Finally! Some wheel time with the Aura!

After putting it off for what seemed like an eternity, I went to test drive both the XE and XR trims of Aura. My impressions:

XE. My base level tester was in Techno Grey and had cloth interior and the five spoke wheels that are similar to the G6. It also had the brushed aluminum trim. The XE was roomy in the front and back. I had no problem finding a good driving position, but then again, I'm on the short side, at 5' 8" or so. I noticed the door-pull issues that most people are having. I don't know whether to call it cheap or flimsy, but it puts a slight damper on what is otherwise a top notch interior, though it's not a deal breaker. The 3.5L feels strong at launch and there's not the kind of exhaust growl that is normally associated with Chevy and Pontiac. I'll chalk it up to insulation. All in all, the XE is a good value that can go toe to toe with V6 versions of the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan.

XR. I haven't seen a black interior in a white car since the days when GM ruled the automotive universe. The Aura did it tastefully. Simply stated, this is going to be the car that brings GM back from the brink. Where do I begin? I guess I'll start with the 3.6L v6 that delivered the goods. The plood broke up the black interior with leather seats and looked better in person than pictures. Or the XM Radio which is a bargain at $200 when Honda wants nearly three times as much from Accord owners. For me, the verdict is still out on the four-panel panoramic roof, but it lends a feeling of openness to the cabin. I'd probably opt for the traditional sunroof, though. The 3.6L in the XR moves the Aura with authority and the handling, though no BMW, is respectable for the class of vehicle. Glory be to StabiliTrak. Once again I had no trouble finding a comfortable seating position and adjustable foot pedals were a welcome addition.

Bottom line, the Aura, especially in XR guise, is CamCord worthy. Give it a fighting chance.


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Old 09-09-2006, 03:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Finally! Some wheel time with the Aura!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GR898SL2
The 3.6L in the XR moves the Aura with authority and the handling, though no BMW, is respectable for the class of vehicle. Glory be to StabiliTrak.
Leave the BMW fighting to Cadillac...

The 3.6L is quite a piece of work. I'm surprised that the Cadillac CTS doesn't have this engine standard. They have a 2.8L 210hp engine standard. Average selling price around $27,800 for the base model.

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Old 09-09-2006, 04:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Finally! Some wheel time with the Aura!

You'll have to look long and hard to find a CTS with the 2.8. The great majority have the 3.6. They do this to advertise a low base price, and to parallel Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.

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Old 09-09-2006, 07:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Finally! Some wheel time with the Aura!

Quote:
Bottom line, the Aura, especially in XR guise, is CamCord worthy. Give it a fighting chance.
Aura has the chance to be THE GOLD STANDARD midsize sedan in its price class if GM is patient with it and they continue to improve it year after year. Sincerely listening to customer feedback (such as improving the interior arm rests and door handles and things) will allow the car to become a perfectly refined machine and give GM some valuable R&D points.

I think they have the performance, styling, and features down pat. What they need to make triple sure of is reliability. If the Aura gets a reputation as a car that will burn up in 3 years, people will lose interest. That's something GM simply cannot afford. GM also needs more aggressive marketing tbh. I haven't seen a SINGLE television ad for the Aura up here in New Hampshire. Granted GM has to budget its advertising dollars nation-wide, but there's no excuse for not bringing the car to more people's attention.

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Old 09-09-2006, 09:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Finally! Some wheel time with the Aura!

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Originally Posted by AgmLauncher
GM also needs more aggressive marketing tbh. I haven't seen a SINGLE television ad for the Aura up here in New Hampshire. Granted GM has to budget its advertising dollars nation-wide, but there's no excuse for not bringing the car to more people's attention.
From what I've read, the Aura technically isn't available until the Fall which is still about 2 weeks away. Saturn is suppose to do a marketing blitz to promote the Aura once the fall hits. My guess is there is limited or no advertising at the moment because Saturn wants to fill retailer lots with a decent amount of Auras before the customers start pouring in responding to advertising. I don't think it would be a good PR move to advertise a vehicle that you can only find 2 or three on the lot like they currently are.

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Old 09-10-2006, 02:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Finally! Some wheel time with the Aura!

Quote:
Originally Posted by comcardi
From what I've read, the Aura technically isn't available until the Fall which is still about 2 weeks away. Saturn is suppose to do a marketing blitz to promote the Aura once the fall hits. My guess is there is limited or no advertising at the moment because Saturn wants to fill retailer lots with a decent amount of Auras before the customers start pouring in responding to advertising. I don't think it would be a good PR move to advertise a vehicle that you can only find 2 or three on the lot like they currently are.
You mean kinda like they did with the Sky/Solstice? Yeah, you still are lucky to see more than one on a lot! But, I think your theory is probably correct. When my sales guy called me Friday and said he had 3 Skys and 4 Auras on the lot, I thought to myself "Auras? They aren't even out yet, I thought?"... explains that eh?

I agree with the sentiment about reliability. The competition is pretty fierce in this market. I know most HonYota CamCord buyers want their cars to perform like their refrigerator -- silently and reliably for 10 years or better. But now GM has the 10 year, 100k warranty, so that should help assuage fears of the car crumbling in 37 months.

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Old 09-10-2006, 08:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Finally! Some wheel time with the Aura!

GM really needs to stop showing the same few Chevy commercials and show some more Saturn ones in the Chicagoland area.

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