The five-seat Aura Green Line features GM's Hybrid System, which consists of an electric motor/generator teamed with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This system is not as advanced as the company's two-mode hybrid system, which is offered in the automaker's full-size SUVs and will be offered later in the Vue, but Saturn says the GM Hybrid System achieves 25 percent better fuel economy than the V-6-powered Aura XE; the Aura Green Line gets a combined 30 mpg city/highway. Competitors include the Nissan Altima Hybrid and Toyota Prius. XM Satellite Radio is standard for 2008.
Like other hybrids, the Aura Green Line is designed to drive like a regular car. It saves gas by shutting off the engine when the car comes to a stop and charges the hybrid battery pack through regenerative braking technology. When more power is needed, the electric motor/generator can supplement the gas engine.
Few styling cues differentiate the Aura Green Line from conventional Auras, which means the stylish, well-proportioned looks carry over. There are hybrid badges on the front doors and trunklid, and the Green Line is fitted with 16-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires.
As on the outside, few details distinguish the Green Line interior from the regular Aura. Instead of an engine temperature gauge, the Aura Green Line's three-pod gauge cluster has a charge/assist meter that shows what the hybrid battery is doing. Besides the traditional numerical increments, the tachometer has an "Auto Stop" indicator for when the engine is shut off by the hybrid system. As a fuel-saving measure, the Aura Green Line's air conditioning system has a hybrid mode in addition to a normal setting.
Under the Hood
The Aura Green Line's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor/generator make a combined 164 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 159 pounds-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Standard features include all-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and an electronic stability system.