I think this car compares very favorably to an Audi A6. Long term durability is probably much better and it's defintely less expensive to maintain. Audi and BMW make beautiful cars that run great until they come off warranty. The Aura is still running very strong at just under 100k
The Aura XR has very adequate power in almost all ranges. It does struggle with quick shifting from 3rd to 4th. In bumper to bumper traffic it is best to switch to manual shifting because the shifting can become fairly rough.
The stock tires are fairly marginal. With better tires the car handles as well as almost any touring car on the market.
Quiet as a luxury car. I hear less road noise in this car than almost any car I have ever driven in.
Reliability & durability
I have just under 98k on my Aura XR and it has been in for:
- replacement of both catalytic convertors, one of which was under warranty
- intermediate shaft needed repair
- new struts
- regular maintenance
Past personal experience
This has been an inexpensive car to drive from the maintenance standpoint. I did not like the feel of the car with 18" rims so I switched to 17" and put the extra inch into the tire. Configured like that, it is the best touring car you could get for under 30k or even 40k. An Audi or BMW may be more desireable and out of the gate may perform better, but once they come off warranty, the maintenance costs are outrageous. At 98k+ the Aura is still performing like it did new with very low maintenance needs.
Safety & braking
Brakes are one of the weak points on the car. Upgrading to ceramic brakes helps but an upgrade to larger brakes would be best.
Stock tires are fairly weak
Materials & workmanship
I heard the head of Saturn stopped pre-production and had them upgrade the materials at every touch point in the interior. It is noticeable as every touch point is soft and not hard plastic like so many companies use. On long drives those soft touch points make a big difference.
I would recommend this car. I have heard of electrical problems with some so anyone looking at a used one, would want to make sure everything electrical works without any glitches.
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