The Saturn With a European Touch

by : Anthony Fontanelle

The Saturn division of General Motors looked like it was overlooked in recent years by the Michigan-based car manufacturer. For the 2007 model year though, GM has increased its attention toward expanding the Saturn division. One concrete example is the Saturn Aura which is being marketed as an upscale midsize sedan. It replaced the highly unsuccessful Saturn L-Series.

For the 2007 model year, the Saturn Aura is designed to have more European car traits like its cousin - the Opel Vectra. While it shares its platform with the Chevy Malibu and the Pontiac G6, it is much closer to the Vectra than the two other American cars.

The Aura borrowed some of its design concepts from its sibling - the Saturn Sky. The headlight configuration which somehow looks oversized, the bulge in the hood, and the distinctly designed fenders bear resemblance to the Sky. These design concepts give the Aura a sporty look that is common on most European cars. The distinct nose is accented by the Saturn badge which complements the grille design.

Inside, the European inclination of the Aura is even more highlighted with its luxurious interior design and features. Saturn offers a "Premium Trim Package" which is consisted of leather seats, a steering wheel rim, and a shift knob. Saturn also offers an "Enhanced Convenience Package" which adds power-adjustable pedals. The combination of these further enhances the luxurious environment inside the Aura. In terms of driver-friendliness, the Aura sports well-lit and easily visible instrument panels. Entertainment is taken cared of an audio system which includes AM, FM and an optional XM Satellite Radio and a six-disc in-dash CD changer.

In terms of safety, the Saturn Aura is designed to have a built-in safety cage. This structure is integrated into the structure of the body of the Aura. Airbags for the front seats are dual-stage offering better protection to both driver and passenger. The Aura is also equipped with the GM Passenger-Sensing System which determines how to deploy the passenger airbags depending on the weight of the passenger which is a good safety feature for small children. It is also equipped with an electronic stability program and four-wheel anti-lock brakes. These safety features complements other components of the Aura like the which ensures that the engine is kept at the right operating temperature.

In terms of engine, the Aura is available with three different engines. The first one is a 2.4-liter belt alternator starter hybrid powertrain which is fitted to the Aura Green Line or the hybrid version of the Aura. The drivetrain produces 164 horsepower and is mated to a four-speed transmission. The second engine choice is a 3.5-liter V6 engine. This engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and can produce as much as 224 horsepower. The third engine choice is a 3.6-liter V6 engine capable of producing 252 horsepower and is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission which allows a manual gear shifting.