Saturn’s Aura Hybrid for 2009 is a stylish, five-passenger sedan that hasn’t quite made it to the big leagues yet, technology-wise. Because the ’09 Aura Hybrid lacks the more advanced “two-mode” hybrid technology common to its Japanese competitors, the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Nissan Altima hybrid, it’s not able to accelerate beyond a glacial 3 mph on electric power alone. The EPA estimates the ’09 Aura Hybrid to get 26/34 mpg. Respectable figures, perhaps, but certainly not award-winning, especially for a hybrid. The Aura Hybrid is priced right, however, allowing drivers to save some green while driving green-ish.
A 2.4-liter, DOHC, variable-valve-timed inline four-cylinder (I4) engine kicks out 164 hp and 159 lb-ft of torque, and a single electric motor, powered by a 36-volt nickel-metal hydride battery, handles both generator and engine-assist duties. Combined, the gas engine and electric motor put out 169 hp. A four-speed automatic transmission directs power to the front wheels to the tune of 0-60 in 11 seconds, significantly slower than the Camry or Altima hybrids. The switch from gas to electric power at a stop is reasonably smooth, and regenerative braking assists in keeping the smallish battery pack charged.
The ’09 Aura Hybrid is not an especially exciting car to drive, in comparison to most, with electrically operated power steering and low-rolling-resistance tires taking a toll on handling capabilities.
Standard convenience, comfort, and appearance features for the 2009 Saturn Aura Hybrid include 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-way powered driver’s seat, remote power door locks, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, the Onstar communications system with a voice-activated phone, a single-CD/MP3 player with six speakers, Bluetooth technology, and a USB connection. Options for the ’09 Aura Hybrid include leather-trimmed seating, heated front seats, and a power sunroof.
With five-star front and side crash-test ratings, the ’09 Aura Hybrid is considered among the safest hybrid vehicles out there. Additionally, the Aura Hybrid is equipped with such standard safety features as four-wheel disc ABS, StabiliTrak traction and stability control, dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, a remote anti-theft alarm system, daytime running lights, and the Onstar post collision safety system.
Owners of the 2009 Saturn Aura Hybrid seem divided as to its fuel savings, but are, for the most part, more than satisfied. Owners rave about the Aura Hybrid’s looks, and quiet, comfortable ride, while a few bemoan its lack of a spare tire and lagging acceleration. Most owners appreciate the ’09 Aura Hybrid for its plain old value for their money.