The five-seat Aura Hybrid 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 Saturn Vue. The Hybrid System, however, provides fuel economy savings of up to 25 percent overall. Saturn's hybrid lineup once carried the moniker Green Line, but that name has been discontinued for 2009. Competitors include the Nissan Altima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid.
New for 2009
The 2009 Aura Hybrid has a recalibrated hybrid system that delivers enhanced overall gas mileage.
Few styling cues differentiate the Aura Hybrid from the conventional Aura, which means the stylish, well-proportioned looks carry over. There are hybrid badges on the front doors and trunklid, and for 2009 hybrid decals are added on the windshield and back glass. The Aura Hybrid measures about 191 inches in length and 70 inches wide, roughly the same as its competitors.
- New 17-inch alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires
- Deck lid badging moves from bright bar to painted surface
- Available all-season package includes molded splash guards
- European-inspired side fender turn signals
As with the exterior, few details distinguish the Aura Hybrid interior from the conventional Aura. Instead of an engine temperature gauge, the Aura Hybrid'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 that shows when the engine has been shut off by the hybrid system. Interior volume comes in at 98 cubic feet — slightly smaller than the passenger compartment of the Camry and Altima — with 13 cubic feet of space in the truck. That's larger than the Altima's but smaller than the Camry's.
- Air conditioning system has a special hybrid mode
- Standard cruise control
- Newly available leather seats
- Newly available Bluetooth phone connectivity
- Available all-season package includes rubber floormats
Under the Hood
The Aura Hybrid gets its name by what's under the hood, which is a gasoline engine mated to an electric motor/generator that assists in acceleration. The car's engine shuts off during idling and uses regenerative braking to recharge the batteries that power the electric motor. The energy management and regenerative braking system have been recalibrated -- delivering an estimated 26/34 mpg city/highway, a slight improvement over the 2008's mileage estimates.
- 164-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder (159 pounds-feet of torque)
- Four-speed automatic
- Electronic power steering
- Four-wheel disc brakes
The Aura Hybrid receives all the same safety amenities as the conventional Aura.
- Front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags
- Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
- Traction control and an electronic stability control
- OnStar comes standard, including a free year of Safe and Sound service, which alerts authorities in the event of a collision and provides crash data