For 2009, the Saturn Aura midsize sport sedan demonstrates that fuel efficiency-minded customers don’t have to sacrifice uplevel amenities such as a six-speed automatic transmission, leather seating, alloy wheels and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, as a new 2.4L four-cylinder Aura XR model joins the Saturn family.
Saturn also has good news for those seeking to go further on a gallon of gas: Both Aura XE and XR four-cylinder models achieve EPA fuel economy of 33 mpg highway and 26 mpg city/highway combined, the segment’s highest non-hybrid fuel economy.
Other enhancements to the Aura lineup for 2009 include standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control on every model and an efficient six-speed transmission on every model except the Aura Hybrid.
The four Saturn Aura models include: the 2.4L I-4 XE and XR; the 3.6L V-6 XR and the 2.4L I-4 Aura featuring the affordable GM Hybrid system.
“At Saturn, we’ve rethought the sport sedan by making one that gets the best non-hybrid highway fuel economy in its class, but still has all of the room, style and comfort our customers want,” said Jill Lajdziak, Saturn general manager. “Gas station operators might not like the ’09 Aura, but our customers certainly will.”
To further enhance fuel savings and provide a more engaging driving experience, the all-new four-cylinder XR is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission with TAPShift, a feature that allows drivers to manually change gears with steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The Aura is the flagship vehicle in Saturn’s recently revamped car lineup, blending the brand’s European-inspired design language and high levels of refinement with its trademark customer-centric purchase and ownership experience.
Engine choices include a hybrid
Aura XE and XR four-cylinder models feature a 2.4L DOHC Ecotec engine. It is one of the most powerful and efficient four-cylinder engines in its class, incorporating numerous state-of-the-art design features, including lost-foam casting of the aluminum cylinder head and engine block, roller finger follower rocker arms, chain-driven camshafts, twin balance shafts and a very rigid structure.
Aura XE and XR four-cylinder models are rated at 169 horsepower (126 kW) and 160 lb.-ft. (217 Nm) of torque.
The Aura XR V-6 model is equipped with the 3.6L DOHC V-6 with VVT, rated at 252 horsepower (188 kW)* and 251 lb.-ft. of torque (340 Nm)*. It is the only V-6 powerplant available on the Aura, as the 3.5L V-6 is no longer an option on the XE model.
Four-cylinder Aura models except for the Hybrid are equipped with the Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission. The 3.6L V-6 Aura model gets the Hydra-Matic 6T70 automatic transmission. Both six-speed automatic transmissions provide spirited performance combined with strong fuel efficiency.
In addition, the six-speed automatic transmissions provide the added benefit of TAPShift, which enables the driver to manually shift through gears via steering wheel-mounted “paddles.”
The 2.4L Ecotec engine in the Aura Hybrid is mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed automatic transmission, an electronically controlled, automatic overdrive transaxle with an electronically controlled torque converter clutch noted for its low noise, high durability and smooth shifting.
Three out of four Aura models achieve EPA highway fuel economy greater than 30 mpg.
With an EPA-estimated highway fuel economy of 33 mpg, Aura XE and XR four-cylinder models top the segment. Estimated city fuel economy for the XE and XR four-cylinder models is 22 mpg city; combined fuel economy is 26 mpg.
The Aura Hybrid, featuring the affordable GM Hybrid system, is rated at 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. The XR V-6 model achieves 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
The Aura Hybrid is equipped with the affordable GM Hybrid system, which reduces fuel consumption via sophisticated controls and a unique electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4L Ecotec VVT four-cylinder engine and Hydra-Matic 4T45 four-speed transmission.
This innovative hybrid powertrain is rated at 164 horsepower (122 kW)* at 6400 rpm and 159 lb.-ft. (215 Nm)* of peak torque at 5000 rpm. While maintaining the vehicle’s sporty feel, the GM Hybrid system seamlessly reduces fuel consumption by:
- Shutting off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, to minimize idling
- Enabling early fuel shut-off during vehicle deceleration
- Converting vehicle kinetic energy to electrical energy through regenerative braking to charge the advanced nickel metal hydride battery
- Performing intelligent battery charging when it is most efficient
Bold exterior design
The Aura sports bold styling elements that helped establish Saturn’s new design language, including distinctive headlamps and a chrome grille bar.
Premium design cues include halogen headlamps covered in clear housings that wrap upward and around the corners of the vehicle, adding a sense of motion to the vehicle. At the rear of the vehicle, LED taillamps enhance Aura’s technical ethic and provide extra visibility.
Notable exterior changes for 2009 include moving the Aura name and powertrain badging from the decklid bright bar to the painted surface for more visibility; and chrome body moldings are removed from all models for a more streamlined look. The Aura Hybrid adds “Hybrid” decals to the windshield and the backglass.
Seventeen-inch steel wheels and tires are standard on the four-cylinder XE, while the new four-cylinder XR sports alloy wheels. V-6-equiped XR models come with 18-inch alloy wheels and performance tires. New for 2009, the Aura Hybrid rides on larger 17-inch alloy wheels with low rolling-resistance tires.
New exterior colors for 2009 include Quicksilver, Polar White, Urban Moss and Gold Mist Metallic.
A major attribute of the Aura’s design is its refined interior. Premium materials with low-gloss appearance and tight tolerances throughout exhibit excellent fit and finish, while unique color combinations for the trim and upholstery convey contemporary style.
For 2009, both four-cylinder and V-6 XR models get standard leather-appointed heated seats; the Ebony/Morocco Brown interior leather is available on both the four-cylinder and V-6 XR. Additionally, redundant audio controls are standard on all models except the hybrid.
Bluetooth hands-free phone technology is standard on Aura XR models and available on XE and hybrid when the Preferred Package is ordered.
Lighting is a key element of the Aura’s premium interior feel. The gauge cluster uses LED-lit analog instruments, as well as LEDs projecting an amber glow from the overhead lamp and front door release pockets to give the vehicle a warm, upscale character. Self-dimming theater lighting enhances the premium feel and provides added convenience at night.
GM’s family of premium radios provides a wide range of audio entertainment choices. A six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system is standard and includes an auxiliary input jack for portable audio players. For 2009, the standard XM Satellite Radio includes an enhanced radio display featuring the artist and song title displayed simultaneously. All Aura models feature roof mounted and rear glass mounted antennas.
Saturn’s advanced audio system is available on XR. It includes an AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio with eight-speaker sound, a 240-watt amplifier and rear-seat audio controls with two wireless headphones.
Safe and secure
The Saturn Aura is designed for strong safety performance in all measurements, with a comprehensive roster of standard features that helps protect occupants before, during and after a crash. Aura’s standard safety features include:
Dual-stage frontal air bags with GM passenger sensing system: The system works with the front passenger seat and differentiates between adults and small children or child seats to enable or disable air bag deployment, which can help reduce the risk of air bag-induced injuries.
Head curtain side-impact air bags: These air bags offer a level of head protection during side-impact crashes for all outboard, front and rear passengers.
Front seat-mounted thorax protection air bags: These air bags provide an additional level of protection to the thoracic region for the driver and front seat passenger during side-impact crashes.
Front safety belt pretensioners: Deploying at the same time as the frontal air bags, they take up slack in the safety belt webbing to minimize occupant movement during a crash.
LATCH child safety seat anchors: Two lower anchors and a top tether anchor secure the child seat to the vehicle seat structure for proper installation of compatible child safety seats.
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS: Large, 11.65-inch (296 mm) vented front and 10.63-inch (270 mm) rear rotors help provide smooth, quick and assured stopping capability. Four-channel ABS is standard on all models.
StabiliTrak electronic stability control system (all models): Partnered with the ABS system, StabiliTrak provides more precise, controlled stops, as well as enhanced traction/yaw stability during emergency maneuvers.
Traction control (all models): Wheel-slip sensors convey signals to an electronic control module, which alters the torque output of the engine and applies brake pressure to find optimal traction in slippery conditions.
All Aura models feature the OnStar safety and security system, including an enhanced Turn-by-Turn Navigation capability that offers review/repeat/destination tabs. Turn-by-Turn allows consumers to talk to a live advisor, who in turn sends complete step-by-step directions to customers’ vehicles through their OnStar system. These audio directions automatically play through the vehicle’s stereo as needed, triggered by the OnStar system’s GPS capabilities. This enables drivers to find a destination while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.