A Different Kind Of Car Thread - The 2007 Saturn Aura

Andrew

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I've promised this one a while, a direct continuation from Should I Even Bother Trying To Fix This? - the story of how my '07 Fusion met such an untimely (ok no it was right on time actually) end.

I picked up an '07 Saturn Aura XE from my stepdad's boss and lemme tell you: it is a joy, all around.

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While I've got the XE instead of the XR (Saturn's higher tier trim for their final generation of vehicles) this thing still packs a hell of a punch. It's rockin' a 225HP 3.5 V6 engine, which sounds gorgeous during standard acceleration and reminds you that this car is related to the Pontiac G6 when you decide to floor it. It's a smooth and luxurious ride, that feeling of luxury backed up by a classy interior that screams "we really wanted to copy Mercedes-Benz!".

...and you know what? I'm glad they did.

aura-interior.jpg

It's hard for me to capture it in a single image (esp. one that fits here!) but I've got that nice n comfy tri-tone grey -> woodgrain -> tan, which I've only ever seen before in a 2000 MB S-Class. I believe a few Cadillac models from this era have something similar as an option as well, and it's my favorite interior color option available in a car. It's luxurious and well made, even if I have a few minor defects in my dash that simply come with having a 17 year old car. The only thing I really have a problem with is my steering wheel, which is a classic example of the General Motors parts bin: it was designed for the Corvette, then brought over to the Pontiac G6, Saturn Aura, and Chevy Malibu. It is gigantic. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The Saab 9-3 somehow dodged what you are about to see. God bless the Swedes.)

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I love it and I hate it in equal measure. It's kinda cool (and I like getting to make the 'vette connection!) but it is unwieldly and leaves basically no room for my knees. If I drive this car for as long as I want to I will eventually have holes in my jeans at the exact point where they intercept this monster of a steering wheel. It's probably the only thing I dislike about this car - steering in general is hefty. Actual highway driving is no big deal, I'm not joking when I say that you can go any direction you want as long as it's either forward or some variation of... but parking this thing is tough. I really did think that I had a power steering problem until I looked into it some more, as far as I can tell this is just an issue with this generation of Saturn cars, the Saturn Sky gets the exact same complaint too.

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This car is the most fun I've ever had with a motor vehicle, and I say that with certainty - it's a quirky vehicle with character that fits my own. I won't call it the best I've ever driven on an objective level, but it's the first car I've ever owned/regularly driven that really suits my personality. My stepdad was joking with me when I went to pick up the car and said "man, it's gonna fit you perfectly - that is an old man car, 100%". I can't contest that, but I'd also argue that it's deeper than that.

One of my favorite things about cars is their interiors, and it's something I am exceptionally picky about. Whenever you get into a car next, think about how you're getting into a mobile room that is designed around the aesthetics of not just its era but also the archetype of the individual most likely to purchase it. My own modus operandi has always been to live the life of yesterday's old money on a budget of today's young broke, and this tracks with that. It's an executive class bullet that was meant as the last hope of a 'different kind of car company' before they got killed off during the great recession. Everything was riding on this until it just didn't matter anymore. That speaks to me for a reason I can't put into words.

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But hey, at the end of the day... I'm just glad that it gets to be my executive class bullet.

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