Glenn Reynolds saw a Saturn Aura…

One of the top political bloggers, Glenn Reynolds, says he was impressed by seeing a Saturn Aura.

I have one, and it’s a great car. I love mine. I even choose to drive it over Maryam’s new BMW quite a bit, which is a testament to how good a car it is (it’s a better freeway car than the BMW and the back seat has a LOT more room). Today, though, I picked the BMW cause it’s more fun to drive on a sunny Saturday on Half Moon Bay’s curvy roads.

Funny story? The parking attendant at San Francisco’s Mark Hopkins hotel told me he thought it looked “hot.” No, not stolen. But, that was a great compliment coming from him cause he sees tons of Mercedes and BMWs every day (that’s one of the most expensive hotels in SF).

That said, there are some things that aren’t well thought out. The trunk lid, for instance, could use a grip for your hand. The BMW’s cruise control is FAR superior, too (it’s a lot more responsive than the Saturn). Also, the BMW’s headlights and corner handling are far superior (the BMW’s lights actually turn which makes them much more effective on the curvy road I drive into work).

But, when you consider the BMW costs us $800 a month and the Saturn is $400, this is an awesome car. Now we’ll have to see if it can get a decent quality rating in Consumer Reports. So far I haven’t had a single defect and I’ve put 3,500 miles on mine so far.

Comments

  1. I have one question! What response does cruise control have? The setting of it it or hand operated acceleration?

  2. I have one question! What response does cruise control have? The setting of it it or hand operated acceleration?

  3. Jeff: it’s merely OK. Compared to the BMW it accelerates and brakes far slower.

    So, I’m forced to use my feet to do either operation. Once set, though, it works fine. It’s just that I do a LOT of freeway driving and, so, it is unsatisfying, especially since I know how good the BMW one is (the BWM one is a stick, which lets you do variable acceleration and braking — the Saturn one is a pair of buttons for that).

  4. Jeff: it’s merely OK. Compared to the BMW it accelerates and brakes far slower.

    So, I’m forced to use my feet to do either operation. Once set, though, it works fine. It’s just that I do a LOT of freeway driving and, so, it is unsatisfying, especially since I know how good the BMW one is (the BWM one is a stick, which lets you do variable acceleration and braking — the Saturn one is a pair of buttons for that).

  5. Regarding the $400 and $800/month costs – is that lease or purchase repayments? I’m starting to see more people (individuals rather than companies) going the lease route rather than purchase these days thou I’m sure if the benefits outway the extra costs of leasing.

  6. Regarding the $400 and $800/month costs – is that lease or purchase repayments? I’m starting to see more people (individuals rather than companies) going the lease route rather than purchase these days thou I’m sure if the benefits outway the extra costs of leasing.

  7. I’m getting a new car not available in the US yet to test drive next month for two weeks.

    What’s strange about that you ask? The agreement doesn’t allow me to talk about it while I’m driving it. Quite strange…

  8. I’m getting a new car not available in the US yet to test drive next month for two weeks.

    What’s strange about that you ask? The agreement doesn’t allow me to talk about it while I’m driving it. Quite strange…

  9. Ah, I thought I recognised it. The Aura is basically the same as the Vauxhall Vectra that we have over here in the UK. Hasn’t done very well sales-wise; people are too busy buying mini-SUVs, MPVs or, well, just about anything that doesn’t remind them of the old company car their dad used to drive.

  10. Ah, I thought I recognised it. The Aura is basically the same as the Vauxhall Vectra that we have over here in the UK. Hasn’t done very well sales-wise; people are too busy buying mini-SUVs, MPVs or, well, just about anything that doesn’t remind them of the old company car their dad used to drive.

  11. Robert, you comparing cars that are designed for different purposses,Your Saturn is designed to be a very good family car in the vain of the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, and that it does very well, in comparisons the Aura has been rated higher than the Camry, very good news indeed concidering the limited time the car has been on the market.

    If yo want to compare apples to apples,The Infinity G35 sedan or Cadillac CTS is the competion to your BMW,you’ll find them competitative or supperior to your wifes car if that’s what your really looking for.

  12. Robert, you comparing cars that are designed for different purposses,Your Saturn is designed to be a very good family car in the vain of the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, and that it does very well, in comparisons the Aura has been rated higher than the Camry, very good news indeed concidering the limited time the car has been on the market.

    If yo want to compare apples to apples,The Infinity G35 sedan or Cadillac CTS is the competion to your BMW,you’ll find them competitative or supperior to your wifes car if that’s what your really looking for.

  13. My bought a 2000 Saturn LS, first year for that model. First strike. The interior after six months wasn’t in great shape, but 4 kids probably had more to do with that. My new Hyundai is almost a year old, and while not immaculate, it certainly is still in better shape. But that’s with two kids. :/ Not a strike, but an observation. My old ’90 Grand Marquis had a similar destruction of it’s interior once I moved in.

    After the warranty ran out, things started going bad. A/C compressor blew, requiring a replacement. Due to cost, we didn’t go with the factory compressor, nor with the dealer. Problem was, there were three different parts for the one part that did have to come from the dealer, with absolutely no way of determining which one it was. Yep, it took three tries (and each one the dealer had to order) to get the right part. Strike two. If you have to engineer three different parts for apparently no reason (I really don’t want to know why), then I certainly have my qualms.

    Various recalls, including the last one where the back lights have to be replaced because when you turn the lights on, the brake lights behave irregularly. We reported this problem three years before they finally decided to do the recall.

    It’s a manual transmission. Currently it’s fine around town, but driving it on the Interstate is a problem because the clutch refuses to engage (evidently because it’s too hot) when trying to exit the highway. It may (or may not) be an issue with the slave cylinder for the clutch. 14 hours of time to tear apart, fix if possible, and then put back together, over $1000 just to maybe fix that. Strike three.

    I really wanted to replace the Saturn before I replaced the Grand Marquis, even though it had 100,000 more miles on it. But the A/C compressor was shot in it, and it had developed it’s second short, the first of which the person who thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, finally broke down and just rewired the problem wire.

    So we donated it, and bought a new Hyundai, based on others reports of others who rented them on a regular basis, and more research on the web. We’ve been extremely happy with it. It is a fun car to drive, but not as fun I’m sure as your BMW. I used to drive a Merkur Scorpio, and that was a fun thing to drive, especially on the curves.

    Good luck with the Saturn.

  14. My bought a 2000 Saturn LS, first year for that model. First strike. The interior after six months wasn’t in great shape, but 4 kids probably had more to do with that. My new Hyundai is almost a year old, and while not immaculate, it certainly is still in better shape. But that’s with two kids. :/ Not a strike, but an observation. My old ’90 Grand Marquis had a similar destruction of it’s interior once I moved in.

    After the warranty ran out, things started going bad. A/C compressor blew, requiring a replacement. Due to cost, we didn’t go with the factory compressor, nor with the dealer. Problem was, there were three different parts for the one part that did have to come from the dealer, with absolutely no way of determining which one it was. Yep, it took three tries (and each one the dealer had to order) to get the right part. Strike two. If you have to engineer three different parts for apparently no reason (I really don’t want to know why), then I certainly have my qualms.

    Various recalls, including the last one where the back lights have to be replaced because when you turn the lights on, the brake lights behave irregularly. We reported this problem three years before they finally decided to do the recall.

    It’s a manual transmission. Currently it’s fine around town, but driving it on the Interstate is a problem because the clutch refuses to engage (evidently because it’s too hot) when trying to exit the highway. It may (or may not) be an issue with the slave cylinder for the clutch. 14 hours of time to tear apart, fix if possible, and then put back together, over $1000 just to maybe fix that. Strike three.

    I really wanted to replace the Saturn before I replaced the Grand Marquis, even though it had 100,000 more miles on it. But the A/C compressor was shot in it, and it had developed it’s second short, the first of which the person who thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, finally broke down and just rewired the problem wire.

    So we donated it, and bought a new Hyundai, based on others reports of others who rented them on a regular basis, and more research on the web. We’ve been extremely happy with it. It is a fun car to drive, but not as fun I’m sure as your BMW. I used to drive a Merkur Scorpio, and that was a fun thing to drive, especially on the curves.

    Good luck with the Saturn.

  15. Robert, what do you mean when you say the Saturn is a better freeway car compared to the BMW?

  16. Robert, what do you mean when you say the Saturn is a better freeway car compared to the BMW?

  17. Throwing money away on a lease? Its a investment that depreciates! Both are going to be worth $0.00 in 25 years. Buy the cheapest car you can afford and drive it into the ground

  18. Throwing money away on a lease? Its a investment that depreciates! Both are going to be worth $0.00 in 25 years. Buy the cheapest car you can afford and drive it into the ground

  19. I’m driving around in a Saturn Ion with 50,000 miles on it. A really boring car, but it does what I ask of it. The only things that’s broken is the radio, which was replaced under warranty.

    Re: leasing — If you’re certain you’ll take good care of it and keep total miles under the allottment, and if you are resigned to always making car payments, leasing can be OK. Rent something, drive it for two years, turn it in and lease something else. Remember, a lease is a loan, too, so don’t shy away from trying to get better terms. But, the real way to reduce auto expenses is to buy a reliable used car with cash, drive it forever, and by another. When you run up against an $800 repair bill, weigh that against the monthly payments you’d be making otherwise. Scoble’s BMW costs him $4800 a year, even if it just sits in the garage.

  20. I’m driving around in a Saturn Ion with 50,000 miles on it. A really boring car, but it does what I ask of it. The only things that’s broken is the radio, which was replaced under warranty.

    Re: leasing — If you’re certain you’ll take good care of it and keep total miles under the allottment, and if you are resigned to always making car payments, leasing can be OK. Rent something, drive it for two years, turn it in and lease something else. Remember, a lease is a loan, too, so don’t shy away from trying to get better terms. But, the real way to reduce auto expenses is to buy a reliable used car with cash, drive it forever, and by another. When you run up against an $800 repair bill, weigh that against the monthly payments you’d be making otherwise. Scoble’s BMW costs him $4800 a year, even if it just sits in the garage.

  21. This post makes me miss my 325i. The lease on it expired almost a year ago. It was a great car with excellent handling (I didn’t realize until I read an article a few months ago that except for AWD, they’ve all got RWD) and good acceleration, plus the styling on the last gen was my favorite of all the beamers.

  22. This post makes me miss my 325i. The lease on it expired almost a year ago. It was a great car with excellent handling (I didn’t realize until I read an article a few months ago that except for AWD, they’ve all got RWD) and good acceleration, plus the styling on the last gen was my favorite of all the beamers.

  23. BTW: The absolute best thing about it -> zero maintenance for four years. That means every oil change, brake pad change, tuneup, and battery change (they drove to my house and replaced it for me) is completely free. You basically pay for gas and car washes (and they wash your car at the dealership, but more than luxury places are doing that nowadays)

  24. BTW: The absolute best thing about it -> zero maintenance for four years. That means every oil change, brake pad change, tuneup, and battery change (they drove to my house and replaced it for me) is completely free. You basically pay for gas and car washes (and they wash your car at the dealership, but more than luxury places are doing that nowadays)

  25. The lowest-end Saturn Aura is actually more expensive than $400 per month when financed by Saturn.

    At 2.9% APR, which is the lowest interest rate offered by Saturn, the lowest end Aura is costs $20,595.00. That’s $454.95 per month for the standard 48-month loan (interest costs total $1,242.60.)

    Even if you paid cash over 48 months, that still works out to $429.06.

  26. The lowest-end Saturn Aura is actually more expensive than $400 per month when financed by Saturn.

    At 2.9% APR, which is the lowest interest rate offered by Saturn, the lowest end Aura is costs $20,595.00. That’s $454.95 per month for the standard 48-month loan (interest costs total $1,242.60.)

    Even if you paid cash over 48 months, that still works out to $429.06.

  27. I am another 2000 Saturn LS victim. Manual transmission had a bad clutch slave around 20k miles and was replaced under warranty. Actually, had about $4000 worth of work done under warranty. Right now, I am waiting to have the rear springs replaced as the bottom spring supports broke off around 80k miles. I certainly don’t drive the car hard, and the parts were obviously defective. Basically though, this car was my first, and most likely, my last new car. Saturn definitely soured me on GM. I hope you have better luck with your Aura, though you do need to remember that an aura usually precedes a migrain.

  28. I am another 2000 Saturn LS victim. Manual transmission had a bad clutch slave around 20k miles and was replaced under warranty. Actually, had about $4000 worth of work done under warranty. Right now, I am waiting to have the rear springs replaced as the bottom spring supports broke off around 80k miles. I certainly don’t drive the car hard, and the parts were obviously defective. Basically though, this car was my first, and most likely, my last new car. Saturn definitely soured me on GM. I hope you have better luck with your Aura, though you do need to remember that an aura usually precedes a migrain.

  29. I like GM’s take on hybrids. By making them more inexpensive, you can get a greater market penetration. When you look at monthly payments, the difference is minimal. This will make it easier to recover the cost in gasoline loke the cost of saturn wiper blade. If you can get these mild hybrids to become ubiquitous, you’ll make a much larger impact than having 1-2% of the market driving the more efficient (and more expensive) models. This means less money wasted on gasoline, less oil imports, and cleaner air. Now all we have to do is see if the strategy works.

  30. I like GM’s take on hybrids. By making them more inexpensive, you can get a greater market penetration. When you look at monthly payments, the difference is minimal. This will make it easier to recover the cost in gasoline loke the cost of saturn wiper blade. If you can get these mild hybrids to become ubiquitous, you’ll make a much larger impact than having 1-2% of the market driving the more efficient (and more expensive) models. This means less money wasted on gasoline, less oil imports, and cleaner air. Now all we have to do is see if the strategy works.

  31. How do I get to the brake light to change the bulb on a 2000 Saturn LS. I have the bulb, but now I don’t know how to get to it.

  32. How do I get to the brake light to change the bulb on a 2000 Saturn LS. I have the bulb, but now I don’t know how to get to it.