We like the feel of the rubberized material covering the top of the dashboard. The glossy plastic faux-wood accents are passable, used in many other cars, but plastic panels designed to look like stitched leather on the doors are atrocious.
The head unit module is similar to what we saw in the Buick Lucerne. In the Aura, it includes an MP3-friendly six-CD changer. The display does a decent job of showing ID3 tag information. Navigation and in-car telephony are available only through OnStar.
The variable-valve-timed V-6 turning the front wheels of the Aura XE is so powerful that it easily overcomes the traction control. The less-expensive XR trim-level Aura uses a 3.5-liter V-6 that is less technically advanced, along with a four-speed automatic.