Saturn Aura Green Line – 2007 Review: There’s a lesson we all learn as adults: If you’re going to be late, you sure as heck better have a good excuse. The culprits are usually traffic, disagreeable kids, or maybe one of those frequent chainsaw accidents. Whatever it is, the offender promises to make up for it by working late, rubbing someone’s feet, or opening up his wallet…wide. Since those approaches aren’t appropriate, Saturn will need to come up its own ideas on how to compensate for the tardy and unimpressive arrival of the 2007 Aura Green Line, a four-cylinder hybrid sedan that offers lower real-world fuel economy than any of its primary competitors.
What We Drove
While shoppers can get a 2007 Saturn AURA Green Line for as little as $22,695, including a $650 destination charge, our Berry Red test car was priced a bit higher. There are only three options for the Green Line, including a power sunroof that goes for $800, an engine heater that’ll set you back $50, and what we found on our example, a $375 Preferred Package. That relatively paltry sum adds an eight-way power driver’s seat, steering wheel controls, and heated mirrors. The grand total of this particular Aura, supplied by Saturn for testing purposes, came to a very reasonable $23,070.
Unlike the Honda Accord Hybrid, the Saturn Aura Green Line has not been designed with blistering performance in mind. The four-cylinder engine, paired with a four-speed automatic transmission, offers barely adequate power and makes this Aura a snooze to drive. In comparison, the base Aura XE pushes 224 horses and weighs only 50 pounds more, though it also offers EPA ratings of 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The Green Line, on the other hand, is rated at 28 city/35 highway. After a week of driving, we averaged only 22.3 mpg, with a peak of 32 mpg during a lengthy highway run.2008
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2007 Saturn Aura Greenline Hybrid – Ride and Handling
Hop behind the wheel and you just might be surprised, not by this hybrid’s razor-sharp handling (it’s not there), but by how well it tackles the road with its 16-inch Uniroyal Tiger Paw tires. This is a comfortable cruiser, doing its best to pave a smooth surface over rough asphalt, offering a pleasant if not overly responsive feel through the steering wheel, keeping the occupants isolated from all the work going on under the skin. Our main complaint focuses on the brakes, which in typical hybrid fashion, are difficult to modulate. The batteries use braking power as one way to recharge, so slowing or stopping can be more abrupt than anticipated.
Fun to Drive
In a “Let’s see how efficient we can be!” sort of way, the Aura Green Line can be fun, at least for some of you out there. We just don’t happen to fall under that category, and guesses are that, realistically, few shoppers will be giddy with the thought of getting 30+ mpg on the highway in a four-cylinder sedan. That’s not much of a stretch, if at all, from many comparable non-hybrid models on the road already, and is quite common for sedans that measure just a bit smaller.
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2007 Saturn Aura Greenline Hybrid – Comfort
Since the Green Line primarily represents powertrain changes, we were not all that surprised to find it was just as comfortable as the regular Aura. The seats are spacious, with nice lower cushions that offer decent bolsters and proper thigh support. The large steering wheel lacks a soft leather wrapping, though it does include telescoping and tilting adjustments. A power driver’s seat, accented by a manual lumbar lever, along with a wide sliding center armrest allow for a personalized fit. Door sills and armrests are rubberized, so while they don’t scream high-end, they’re easy on forearms and elbows. Overall space is plentiful, especially in regard to head room.
Wide-opening doors allow for easy entry and exit into the Aura Green Line, and once seated passengers will enjoy the soft, spacious rear bench. The backrest is set at a comfortable recline angle, the lower cushion is supportive and has a slight bucketed shaped to it, and the door sills and armrests are rubberized. A center armrest is absent, though the lack of that feature makes the center seat more comfortable for a fifth passenger. Foot room is generous, leg room is increased thanks to indented front seatbacks, and head room is sufficient, if not overwhelming.
This is one area in which the Aura Green Line truly impresses. Four-cylinder sedans, especially versions from GM that we’ve driven in the past, have not been shining examples of how to build a quiet interior. Not so with the Aura Green Line. There’s some wind noise at highway speeds, but it’s very well muted, and that four-banger under the hood? Yes, we heard it, but the noise was never excessive, and it was actually refined at high revs. Tire and road noise were also limited to the exterior of the cabin, making the Aura Green Line an enjoyable oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of weekday 9-5 mayhem.
With ample mirrors and long side windows, seeing out of the 2007 Saturn
Aura Green Line is easy. Granted, the sedan’s shape results in a squat greenhouse, but there are no issues with over-the-shoulder viewing and blind spots are minimal. Rearward visibility from the driver’s seat is satisfactory, though the rear outboard head restraints are on the large and obstructive side; the same can be said of the lower A-pillars, which make it difficult to see the double-yellow line when tackling a corner. Then again, that’s something few Green Line pilots will be attempting.