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What it is
Saturn Aura Green Line – 2007 Preview: The Saturn Aura Green Line joins a product lineup that eschews Saturn’s traditional dent-resistant body panels in favor of European styling and sophistication. With the addition of the Green Line, the Aura expands to three models and is also the first hybrid sedan from GM (the rest have been trucks or SUVs). The Aura Green Line will be out-powered by the base model, but Saturn hopes its improved fuel economy and hybrid cachet will outweigh that shortcoming. The price difference is also offset with a higher level of content, splitting the difference between the XE and the XL. Most important is price, as it will be one of the largest and least expensive hybrid sedans on the market.
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Why it matters
GM has drawn fire for its line of full-size and thirsty SUVs. The 2007 Aura Green Line is one of 12 hybrids the company is rolling out over the next several months to enhance its “green” image, showcase its hybrid technology, and obviously draw fuel economy-minded customers to its showrooms that otherwise wouldn’t consider a GM vehicle. Saturn’s stated goal is to offer affordable hybrid technology. At a base price under $23,000, the Aura Green Line should be among the more affordable hybrids on the market.
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What’s under the hood
The 2007 Aura Green Line slots between the Aura XE and XL on price, and offers a 164 horsepower hybrid powertrain based on GM’s 2.4-liter Ecotec engine. It’s the same drivetrain that powers the Vue Green Line, which delivers 27 mph in the city and 32 on the highway. The Aura’s aerodynamics are considerably better than the Vue, but it weighs more, so we suspect fuel economy will be roughly on par with the Vue. Saturn claims it will have 25 percent better economy than the base XE. The only transmission available is a 4-speed automatic driving the front wheels.
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What it looks like
The 2007 Aura Green Line looks just like every other Aura, which is a good thing. The Aura is one of the most attractive midsize sedans on the market today, drawing heavily on the European styling of the Opel Vectra, which shares the same platform. The only obvious differences are the Green Line and Hybrid badges sprinkled on the exterior.
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The interior of the 2007 Saturn AURA Green Line is virtually identical to the rest of the Aura lineup. While the layout, ergonomics and switchgear is excellent, we wish that Saturn had spent a bit more on some of the materials used, and fit and finish could be better. Regardless, it’s leaps and bounds better than GM family sedans of the past.
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What Saturn Thinks
Saturn is trumpeting the Aura Greenline as the next in its line of affordable hybrids, as well as a harbinger of things to come in terms of alternative mobility, and the next cog in an all-new and sophisticated lineup, sure to wow import buyers.
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What we think
When the Aura debuted, many were surprised that there was no four-cylinder model, especially considering that the car’s primary competitors offer one. The 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line fills that void, promising good fuel economy at a modest price premium. While we wish the Aura lineup offered more refined interiors, we like the car’s styling, handling and performance. The Aura Green Line adds to an already strong product lineup for Saturn.
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry, General Motors
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