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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Overview

Going Out in Style

This is the end of the line for the Aurora; the last car will roll off the assembly line sometime in mid-2003. Oldsmobile will even offer a special edition, limited to 500 copies, to commemorate the Aurora's final production run. If you are in the market for a well-made American performance sedan, you really ought to give the Aurora a good hard look. Not only is it one of the nicest V8 powered sedans to come out of GM in a long, long time, it is probably destined to become a collectible, should you keep it that long.

The Aurora was supposed to be the car that saved Oldsmobile. Its styling, engineering and performance were light years above the kind of cars Olds was producing in the late 1980s and its concept was completely inline with the kind of cars Oldsmobile had been building since its inception: dynamic, cutting-edge, sophisticated machinery. From the very first Curved Dash--that's a car, not a thing—to the Rocket V8 to the front-wheel drive Toronado, Oldsmobile has always been one of GM's leading divisions; the Aurora is just one more example of what the company stands for, and an excellent example it is. It's hard for many to understand why Oldsmobile is going away, but whatever the reason, the company is not going out with a whimper and the Aurora is proof positive of that.

The Aurora is a handsome sedan. It embodies many of the striking styling cues that so charmed the public six years ago when the original Aurora hit the street. Clean sheet metal, crisp lines and a complete lack of body cladding give the Aurora an almost European feel. The V6 model has been retired leaving only one trim level. The Aurora now features standard 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear fog lights and two new colors for its final season: Bordeaux Red and Steel Blue.

Oldsmobile's attention to detail does not stop with the Aurora's exterior. Seat yourself inside the Aurora and you instantly feel what makes this car so special. The glass area and a lower belt-line help increase outward visibility and the power seats can be adjusted so that even the tallest or shortest person can sit in this car and come away with the same opinion of the Aurora's commanding driver's position. All controls are within easy reach of the driver and the steering wheel hub houses buttons that operate the radio and cruise control. The main gauges feature white lettering on black faces and are outlined by chrome trim rings. The design is easy to read, day or night, as are the audio and heating controls that reside to the driver's right.

The standard leather seats are marvelously contoured to fit your body and feel great; driver and passenger comfort is further enhanced by the seat-mounted shoulder belts that avoid cutting across your neck when buckled. Rear seat passengers will find they have plenty of room to stretch out, though taller occupants may find the Aurora's tapered roofline somewhat limits headroom. The Aurora also has a fairly deep trunk with a nice low-liftover that makes loading and unloading much less awkward.

At the heart of the Aurora is a wonderful 4.0-liter V8 power plant. Capable of developing 250 horsepower, the Aurora's V8 moves the big sedan with only the slightest input from the throttle. Push the gas pedal all the way to the floor, and the Aurora launches from its position with a smooth, linear acceleration that is the trademark of a good V8. Its front-wheel drive layout suffers from some torque steer, causing the car to pull a bit to one side before the electronic Precision Control System steps in to bring the car back into alignment. Of course, the Aurora's sophisticated suspension is the perfect companion to the car's big V8 engine. Though tuned more for performance driving, the Aurora's suspension does not punish you when driving over harsh or uneven pavement. The steering is nicely weighted, if not a bit over-assisted for really fast maneuvers, but good enough to compete with such makes as the Lexus ES300 and Acura RL.

Oldsmobile has loaded the Aurora with so many standard features that there is little to choose from in the way of stand-alone options. All Auroras feature automatic air conditioning, anti-lock front and rear disc brakes, the OnStar system, power windows, power door locks, wood trim on the console and doors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD, front side-impact airbags, leather seats, cruise control, tire-inflation monitor, traction control and alloy wheels. Options include a power package that adds a six-way power passenger seat and power lumbar support, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power moonroof, heated seats, an onboard navigation system and Bose audio system.

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