All-new for 2007, the Aura is Saturn’s midsize sedan and is based on a 2006 concept car bearing the same name.

The Aura comes in three trim lines: the XE with 3.5-litre V6; the XR, with 3.6-litre V6; and the Green Line, GM’s first hybrid passenger car, which uses the 2.4-litre Ecotec-based hybrid system currently found on the Saturn Vue Green Line.

The Aura shares many of the company’s new trademark design cues, including wraparound headlight housings, chrome grille bar, LED taillights and integrated radio antennae.

The XE includes 17-inch steel wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, traction control, air conditioning, cruise control, floor mats, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, driver’s seat power height adjuster, 60/40 folding rear seat, fold-flat front passenger seat, CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, six airbags, and OnStar.

The XR adds 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, StabiliTrak stability control program, automatic climate control, eight-way power driver’s seat, heated cloth seats, remote starter, fog lights, rear spoiler, and six-CD/MP3 player with XM Satellite Radio.

Features on the Hybrid include 16-inch alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires, air conditioning, automatic headlamps, power mirrors, speed-sensitive variable intermittent wipers, cargo net, cruise control, auto-stop and fuel economy meter, floor mats, tilt and telescopic wheel, power driver’s seat height adjustment, 60/40 split folding rear seat, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, and OnStar.

Available options on the Aura include power-adjustable pedals, power passenger seat, leather interior and four-panel panoramic sunroof.

The Aura represents a new benchmark for Saturn, with a lovely interior, excellent panel fit (due mostly to its steel body; there are no dent-resistant polymer panels here), elegant styling and a solid, hefty feel to the doors and trunk.

The two six-cylinder engines are close in displacement and both offer both power; the XR’s sport-tuned chassis, stronger powerplant and better rubber makes for a premium driving experience for the price, and the six-speed automatic includes wheel-mounted paddles for sequential shifting. The Green Line’s hybrid powertrain shuts off the engine during deceleration and idling, and offers superb fuel mileage in a comfortable midsize package.

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