Saturn Aura Hybrid

The 2009 Saturn Aura is offered in four different trims, each well equipped but with its own distinct features. At the low end of the price range is the Aura XE, which comes with a fuel-efficient 169-hp 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and new-for-2009 6-speed automatic transmission. The Aura XR 4-cylinder makes use of the same powertrain, but features much of the same interior equipment of the XR V6. The most luxurious model in the range is that XR V6, which features a 3.6L V6 with variable valve timing. It produces 252 hp and is fitted to a 6-speed automatic. TAPShift paddle shifters come standard on all XE and XR Auras.

For eco-conscious buyers, there's the Green Line model, which combines a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine rated at 164 hp and a motor/generator hybrid system. The Aura Green Line utilizes a 4-speed automatic transmission. The Green Line model's hybrid system is a so-called "mild hybrid" system, which means it can't propel the vehicle on electric power alone, but the electric motor system helps the gasoline engine to operate more efficiently by boosting power and allowing it to shut off when idling and decelerating. The hybrid system saves energy lost in braking by storing it in an advanced nickel-metal-hydride battery.

With the 4-cylinder engine, the Aura XE achieves 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway in the EPA cycle; the Green Line does even better, with an estimated 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway.

The Aura has a distinct appearance inside and out, with LED taillamps that allow extra visibility and safety, detailed, jewel-like headlamps, and a radio antenna built into the rear window. With a relatively long wheelbase and stiff chassis, the Aura provides a roomy interior and features a crisp, sporty handling suspension without sacrificing ride comfort.

Inside, too, the Aura is better detailed than would be expected from a value-priced, mid-size sedan. The gauge cluster uses amber-glow LEDs for instrument-panel lighting and a warm tone. All models include a Driver Information Center, with real-time fuel economy and other important vehicle status updates.

The Aura includes a long list of standard safety features, including four-wheel antilock disc brakes, front seat-mounted thorax air bags, and head-curtain side-impact air bags. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard on all Auras. One year of OnStar service and a three-month trial service to XM satellite radio are included across the Aura lineup.

The XE model comes with tilt/telescoping steering with audio controls, a 60/40 split folding back seat, cruise control, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and a 6-speaker CD/MP3 sound system.

The 4-cylinder XR adds many luxury features, including Bluetooth hands-free access, front heated seats, a power driver's seat and leather trim. The XR V6 adds automatic climate control, a universal garage door opener, fog lamps, and heated outside mirrors.

Options on the XE include the Preferred Package, which includes an 8-way power driver seat and Bluetooth phone integration. The Convenience Package includes remote start, heated front seats and heated power mirrors.

On the XR trim, the Convenience Package, includes remote start, heated front seats and heated power mirrors. The Saturn Advanced Audio system is an audiophile upgrade to the standard stereo, and it includes 8 speakers as well as a 240-watt amplifier. A power front passenger seat and premium floor mats are also available.