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Saturn Hybrid Sedan Saves Little Fuel; Costs More

5885 Views 97 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  gardnet1
Aura a hybrid for those born to be mild; Saturn sedan saves little fuel and costs more
Posted By Jim Kenzie
Brantford Expositor

The Saturn Aura was chosen North American Car of the Year for 2007, and with good reason. (Full disclosure: I voted for it.)

It is a gorgeous car with lots of room, a fine interior, good performance, and excellent ride and handling.

In practice, the Saturn Aura Hybrid is perhaps the least weird-feeling vehicle in the hybrid field.

It looks normal on the outside, apart from subtle badging, and inside it is almost identical to the regular Aura, apart from a couple of unique gauges on the dash.

One of those gauges is the Charge/Assist gauge, which tells you which way electric power is flowing - either to the front wheels or to the battery.

There is also the ECO light (in green, what else?), which glows when the car is operating at its peak efficiency. Part of the fun in driving this car is to keep the gauge pointing at "charge," and the little ECO light glowing cheerfully.

In operation, there is a small shudder as the engine stops and restarts, but there are none of the extra whirrs, wheezes and whines you hear in most hybrids. In the Aura, you turn it on, push the right pedal, and drive.

The main motive source is a 2.4 L twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder - essentially the same as powers the base Aura, but retuned to produce 164 horsepower, 5 less than the conventional car.

It drives the front wheels through a conventional four-speed automatic transmission.

The hybrid operation is virtually seamless, although if you're running at around 80 km/h and want to toe in just a touch of extra power, the car seems reluctant to respond.

Hammer the pedal down and off you go, decently briskly.

Despite being quite large in displacement for a four, this engine runs smoothly and quietly: Saturn has added more sound deadening materials into Aura than most cars in this class.

There is some road noise, at least partly due to the low rolling resistance tires Saturn fits to the Hybrid variant, but it's not objectionable.

The suspension is European-influenced, hence firmer than usual for a domestic car. This translates into a confident ride and stable handling. The electric steering is particularly nice.

Other Aura Hybrid road-testers have commented that the regenerative braking tends to feel unnatural - you just lift and the car starts to decelerate faster than engine braking alone would do.

I can't say I really noticed it, although I did find the brake pedal too hard; it needed quite a shove to get the car stopped.

There's loads of room inside this car, front and back. Even the trunk is decently sized, which is another advantage of the mild hybrid, whose batteries tend to be smaller than those in full hybrids.

The seats are comfortable: I drove down to Detroit and back on consecutive days and arrived at both destinations nicely refreshed. Now, about those financial calculations. Transport Canada's little black book says the Aura Hybrid will cost $1,350 for fuel per year, while the regular four-cylinder Aura runs you $1,476, an annual savings of only $126.

This assumes 20,000 km of driving per year, a mix of 55 per cent city and 45 per cent highway and a price for a litre of fuel of 90 cents - if you find any of that, please let me know.

Applying a more realistic fuel price ($1.10) those numbers become $1,650 and $1,804 respectively.

One hundred and fifty-four bucks a year. Forty-one cents a day. Big deal.

The Hybrid costs $3,355 more than the regular base car ($27,575 versus $24,220). So it will pay for itself in only 21 years!

So, the chances of the Aura Hybrid ever justifying itself on an economic basis are slim to none.

Of course, there are other reasons for buying a hybrid. In the Aura's case you'll emit 336 fewer kilograms of carbon dioxide (3,936 versus 3,600 kg annually) into the atmosphere with the Hybrid. Is that worth three grand?

You may also want to feel you're "doing something for the environment" by boasting about your greenie car. But it's a marginal boon to the environment even so.

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This Bas system is a joke. You can get Altima 4 cylinder or new malibu with 6 speed that get same mpg. Who is stupid to buy this thing. Buy malibu and altima it will drive better and it will cost you less money and you will get same mpg. You really have to be stupid to buy this thing. This aura is like buying lexus LS hybrid its just stupid.
Doesn't the prius take 13 years to break even? Until hybrids and even diesels cost the same as their gas counterparts there's no point in buying one.
how do you figure that prius would take 13 years. IT cost about the same as mid size sedan and prius is mid size car. But it gets much better mpg then any other mid size car. Give credit where credit is due. Just because gm did not produce prius you do not have to say its bad. Find one car in America that will get better MPG then Prius and that you will pay around 23k ? waiting for your answer.

Even with upcoming Volt They are saying that they will try to keep it below 40k. Prius is a 23k car that most people can afford. How many people do you think will be able to afford volt if its 40k?
Oh here were go again...the great sage-like wisdom of VCDJ. Oy. The main reason hybrids exist is not to save money on gasoline but to lower CO2 emissions. Besides, when the Aura Hybrid came out, it had the highest EPA fuel economy rating of all the Epsilons and the 6-speed was in the 3.6L DOHC V6 models only. NOW you can get the 6sp with the 2.4, but until a few weeks ago, the Hybrid was the best for fuel economy. This is a Canadian article too, so the prices are going to be different (read: higher). Motor Trend did a test with the Aura Hybrid, the Camry Hybrid and the Altima-with-borrowed-Toyota-HSD and the Aura was the only one to actually save money on fuel, the others didn't. Again, look up some facts before you spout off a bunch of anti-GM crap, okay?
No matter how you put it. This hybrid is worthless just like that Lexus ls hybrid. Everybody here criticizes that car but here is aura hybrid. Same as lexus ls. You pay more and you get nothing in return. You get slower acceleration. Same as LS. Just admit it its crap. I know you love saturn but this is just stupid.
A 2002 VW Jetta wagon, diesel 1.9L with 5sp manual. 45 Highway, for less than $23K.

2000 Honda Insight. 49C/61H. You can get one for about $15K.
I asked right now? not five years ago. Can i buy jetta diesel now or Insight?
No i can not. SO you can not find any car that you can buy now that will get better mpg then prius.
How do you figure that ?

At $3.60 a gallon, 12,000 miles per year, the Prius will cost you about $960.
Other mid-size cars get about 25mpg, and will cost you about $1,728 per year in gas. So, if I'm doing my math right, the Prius is saving you about $768 per year - and that's assuming gas never goes up again... And the Prius cost about the same as most other mid-size cars, so there is no price differential to make up.

While GM is telling us that they have a "hybrid" Malibu/Aura (with their embarrasing 2 mpg increase) which no dealers near me have ever even seen, Toyota is selling the Prius faster than they can build them - and at full price too ! No wonder everybody on this site hates Toyota...
Thank you for not being afraid to say the truth. LOL you will be called stupid and ignorant. Everybody will tell you that you have no clue what you are talking about. But truth must be told. LOL and it does not even get 2 mpg better. Malibu with 6 speeds get same mpg. That is how embarrasing that aura and malibu hybrids are..
Last time I checked, Diesel was about $1.00 more per gallon than gasoline. There goes the big savings...
Plus you can not buy one right now. Because VW does not sell them currently so he has no argument. I do not know how can people say that prius is bad and then say Aura hybrid is great.
No offense...but you embarrass yourself with answers like this.

Neither one of these cars are even currently on the market. You might as well just point out imaginary cars that get 1,000 mpg...
hahhah thats a good one.
The Prius is not a mid-size car. Interior volume is a piss-poor determination for vehicle class. Just about every dimension is comparable to a compact car. Is the Corolla mid-size? No. So compare it accordingly - to other compact cars with mid-30mpg efficiency.
In your mind prius can be what ever you want it to be. But it is classified as a mid size car. So you can say what ever you want. You will just be wrong. You can hate prius all you want but you know you wish that gm did not call that car a joke and made them self. Now gm would see their market share increase but no we get that crapy bas system that nobody wants to buy. Just to let you know that prius outsell every gm car, if you look at retail sale. GM has one car that outsells prius that is impala but as you know it. that car is a fleet King.
I found several on never said they had to be brand-new cars, so yes...I can buy them right now.
Just admit it. That aura hybrid is crap. Why do you have to further embarrass your self?
What are you talking about? Both of those cars are on the market, the used market. All non current model cars are not crushed every year. How you can even begin to compare an imaginary car to a used car is laughable (and embarrassing on your part).
If we are comparing new prius we are going to compare it to new car. Not some ten year old car or volt that does not even exist yet. Why is that so hard for you to understand. You can not discredit prius no matte what you try.
It isn't worthless, neither is the Lexus LS600h...which I think is what you are refering to. I've never criticized either car. I won't admit it's crap, why should I? Your opinion is that it's crap, mine is that it's a pretty cool-looking car that might save me a few dollars here and there on gasoline and we all now that when saving money that it adds up.:D

Sure, it isn't as fuel efficient as a Prius. So what? It also isn't as ugly as one, as uninspiring to drive nor is it as complicated. What other way to put it is there besides the fact that hybrids were designed to reduce pollution and not necessarily to save fuel? Toyota didn't set out to design a fuel efficient car with the Prius, they set out to build something that cut down on CO2 emissions, mainly for EPA air-quality mandates. The fuel efficiency was just a by-product.

You have it in for GM, you don't really even belong here. All you do is troll, start arguments, post meaningless opinions in a bad accent and try to pass them off as fact. If someone wants to buy an Aura hybrid, why should it bother you? Are you paying for it? No? Well, whoever buys one obviously feels justified in doing so - for whatever reason - and they shouldn't have to explain themselves to you or anyone else. That's the way it is with people who buy Hummers, that's the way it is for people who buy Prius', that's the way it should be for people who want to buy an Aura hybrid.

NO car makes economic sense if you spin it whatever way you want to to get the outcome that fits your argument. No car. They are ALL a waste of money, resources and time. But damn they're cool and fun! Get a grip, comrade.

That is fine if they want to buy it. Their problem. I am still waiting for your answer. If i want to buy a new car. What car will get better mpg then prius. Lol and prius cost about the same as aura so called hybrid. LIke you said if i want to produce less CO2. Prius is the way to go. If i want to save on gas prius is the way to go. So how can you say that aura hybrid is not crap when it can not even beat malibu with 6 speed. That is just embarrassing no matter how you put it.
Funny, I posted about a week ago that I was considering buying a Prius. I don't think I've ever tried to discredit that car. It is a wonderful piece of engineering, an appliance in the best sense. I wish GM had been more on the ball, yes. I just don't think the Aura is that bad of a car to bear all this hostility that you are throwing at it. If someone out there likes a car, than it isn't crap to them and it's rude to sit here an say it is over and over and over again simply because it can't compare directly to another car. It's called overkill. You've made your point. Move on. No need to keep repeating yourself simply to 'hear yourself talk'. Now that you've said you want to know what new car can get mileage better (or at least equal) to the Prius, I'll answer that: none. Never said one could. I was just trying to make a joke when I mentioned the Insight and the Jetta diesel...apparently that went over your head. Oh well.
LoL we finally agree on something. Aura is not crap. Its a good car. Just So called hybrid version is. But i am glad we agree on something.
Ready for this one...the world must be coming to an end...

I agree 100%. The BAS system shouldn't be marketed as a hybrid at all - all it does is give ammunition to the competition, it barely offers any PR value. That been said it BAS should be offered as an option on virtually all cars (no hybrid marketing though). It could go a long way to getting GM to the 2015 CAFE standards.
WOW I have two people agreeing with me today. World must be coming to an end. lol
Now that I can get behind. It should simply be standard on the 4 cylinder cars.
I AGREE 100% . And it should not be marketed as hybrid like someone else said.
Or the Chevy Cobalt that beats the Corolla in mpg.;)
Not in quality and Resale value. So for one mpg that you get in cobalt, you get not so good quality that is proven in every study and horrible resale value. NOt a good choice.
Wrong. GM sells more trucks and SUVs.

Car is not a truck or suv. Car is a car. SO you are wrong again.
I went back and checked. It was an article on about VCDJ replacing Lutz as product czar...
hahahha maybe i should lol
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