Saturn Aura:

2009 Saturn Aura Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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SatAura_IVA.jpgThe Saturn Aura wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award for the Premium Mid-Size Car segment with a solid showing across the board. “The Aura owners’ ratings show that Aura has been designed to meet and exceed their needs,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “In one of the largest and most important product segments, Aura’s win shows that Saturn targeted the right buyers when developing this car.” Attributes where owners of the Aura concluded it is a clear leader include:
* Exterior Styling
* Ride and Handling
* Exterior Size


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Saturn Aura Wins AutoPacific 2007 Ideal Vehicle Award for Mid-Size Car:

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The new Saturn Aura has won a lot of awards – deservedly so – and it adds the Ideal Mid-Size Car Award for 2007 to its trophy case. The Aura was highly rated for exterior styling, interior lighting, seat firmness, technology level, and power and acceleration. It was rated notably lower than the segment average only for ease of getting in and out. Aura is one of the rarities winning both of AutoPacific’s 2007 Awards – the Vehicle Satisfaction Award and the Ideal Vehicle Award.


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Saturn Aura Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Mid-Size Car

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Saturn Aura Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Mid-Size Car:
“The new Saturn Aura has been well received, and has won a number of awards, but the real test is in how satisfied its owners are not how much journalists like it,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Aura wins in a viciously competitive segment including cars like the Mazda6, Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan. Aura owners rated the all-new Aura highly for a number of attributes, including Exterior and Interior Appearance, Value, Power, Ride, and Handling and Innovative Technology. Pretty impressive for a new entry!”


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Saturn Aura Wins 2007 North American Car of the Year Award

At a press conference on January 7, 2007 kicking off the North American International Auto Show, the Saturn Aura was named the North American Car of the Year. The award is presented annually by a jury of 49 prominent automotive journalists from throughout the United States and Canada.
The Aura had some stiff competition like the all new Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Lincoln MKZ (if you call the MKZ really “new”) in its class. After driving an Aura, VehicleVoice and AutoPacific staffers have to agree it is a fine mid-size sedan European in ambiance, handling and performance. Nice piece.

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The text of Saturn’s press release follows:
“We’re extremely pleased that the Aura has been named the North American Car of the Year,” said Jill Lajdziak, general manager for Saturn. “The Aura is an important step in our ongoing product revitalization plan, and this award is proof that our efforts are paying off.”
The Aura features the design found on all new Saturn vehicles, with a bold chrome-bar grille and sharp lines with flowing surfaces. It also exhibits the brand’s new attention to detail on the interior as well, with tight gaps and improved materials over past Saturn vehicles.
The uplevel Saturn Aura XR marks the first use of the new HydraMatic 6T70 transmission, the first six-speed automatic in a front-wheel-drive vehicle from GM. This transmission is mated to the 3.6L dual overhead cam V6, producing 252 peak horsepower for a sporty driving experience.
In addition to its design and driving character, the panel recognized Aura for its overall value. The Aura XE starts at just $20,995, and comes with a long list of standard features that includes a 224-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine, six airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and GM’s OnStar Safety and Security system.
With its long list of standard safety equipment, the Aura’s safety credentials rate among the best in the industry. It earned five stars – the highest rating possible – in all four metrics from the federal government’s new car assessment program.
In addition to the powertrain upgrade, the XR adds standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and remote vehicle ignition. The XR starts at $24,995.
Saturn will add a Green Line model this spring, featuring a 2.4L, four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor generator. This affordable hybrid will start at under $23,000, and will get a 25% improvement in fuel economy over the Aura XE.
The Aura went on sale at Saturn retailers in August 2006. Saturn sold more than 5,800 Auras in December 2006.


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2007 Chicago Auto Show: Saturn Astra

General Motors’ German Division Helps Out Their Domestic Import-Fighter
Saturn has been working with Opel to develop its latest products. This collaboration is helping to revive the Saturn brand with fresh styling and provide products with a strong, sophisticated personality. The Vue Crossover SUV, which was introduced at the 2007 Detroit show, is an Opel Antara wearing a Saturn badge. And Saturn’s replacement for the much-maligned Ion is an Opel Astra with a Saturn badge. Saturn’s Astra takes different front and rear bumpers, to meet North American bumper standards, but there is little else different between the two cars.
Partly because of this collaboration and the launch of the large Saturn Crossover SUV the Outlook, Saturn has one of the strongest growth prospects among “American” brands for the latter half of the decade.

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The Saturn Astra launches late in 2007, by which time the oldest vehicle in Saturn’s lineup will be the Sky. In a mere twenty months, Saturn will have revamped its entire range, all for the better. The division that had long been starved for product finally has a competitive, modern stable.
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Saturn is taking a bit of a risk with Astra, however, in that it is offered in only three- and five-door hatchback versions. There will be no sedan or quad coupe this time around, but as U.S. consumers have become more accepting of hatchbacks over the past couple of years the danger is less than it would have been earlier this century. The five-door will be offered in two trim levels, XE and XR, with the three-door only in XR trim and geared toward a more “enthusiastic” driver. Astra’s launch powertrain is a 140HP 1.8L four-cylinder, which gets a standard five-speed manual transmission and optional four-speed automatic. This powertrain is nothing special, but should hold its own among other compact cars.
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The Astra gets a terrific interior to go along with its stylish exterior. We got the chance to quickly get in and check out the car immediately after the reveal, and the feel and finish of the switchgear is very satisfying and a clear cut above Astra’s segment. As we’ve noted in other reviews, GM’s interior work and development is finally reaching customers. Saturn’s Astra looks, from our view, poised to be a star.
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2007 Saturn Aura Unveiled

Saturn Just May Have a Winner
At the 2006 New York auto show, Saturn unveiled its upcoming all-new mid-size sedan and one-third of the 2007 product revitalization. Though the Sky will improve Saturn’s image as a fun-car company, Aura’s job is to bring refinement and style to the brand. In large part, Saturn appears to have succeeded. Though we can’t be sure until we’ve driven it and seen regular production models, VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents are impressed so far. By fall 2006, customers will be able to weigh in on the issue in the only way that really matters: with their pocketbooks.

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Saturn is poised to start providing products that people want for the product as well as for the terrific dealer experience the products come with. Three all-new products arrive for 2007, in the Outlook SUV, Sky roadster, and Aura sedan. All show promise of being nice products to own and drive. Leveraging GM’s ownership of Opel in Europe has helped Saturn get a new design language quickly and cost-effectively, a design language that has potential for the kind of image improvements the brand needs and is distinct from American siblings Pontiac and Chevrolet.
According to GM executives around the introduction of the Aura concept, Saturn is being groomed to compete against the likes of Volkswagen and Honda, while Chevrolet takes on Toyota and Pontiac takes on Mazda. The new Saturns are to be refined, sporty, and stylish. While Sky is a no-brainer for delivering on these attributes, Aura may also capture them. The new Saturns, at least on paper and on static displays, are competitive for this market, not just an improvement over Saturn’s past product misses.
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As all GM products are related, the Aura is related to the Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6, and all are derivatives of the Epsilon-based Opel Vectra Signum. With the introduction of new models, Saturn is also revising its trim-level naming structure. Two versions of the Aura will be offered, standard XE and uplevel XR (also true of the Outlook).


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