What's New for 2001
Oldsmobile has redesigned the Aurora, plopping its flagship sedan onto a more rigid but still front-drive platform. Remaining stylish and contemporary, Aurora is more conventional in appearance but overall, remains an enticing package. Both 3.5 V6 and 4.0 V8 versions are available, each equipped with a full load of luxury accoutrements.
Aurora debuted to the public in 1994, a sensually shaped replacement for the Toronado coupe and a sign of things to come from Oldsmobile. At the time one of the stoutest sedans in the world, the car's delicious styling, smooth-revving overhead-cam V8, and emphasis on composed performance impressed critics.
Now Oldsmobile introduces a completely redesigned 2001 Aurora flagship, in 3.5 and 4.0 versions. Like its predecessor, the new Aurora is quite rigid, providing a solid sense of quality. Unlike the old version, the new model is rather svelte, shedding weight due to a more compact body and the use of aluminum in key parts of the design.
Improved performance should be the translation, especially since the DOHC 4.0-liter V8 engine makes more power while still delivering 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. It sends 250 horsepower to the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. The 3.5-liter twin-cam V6, which first appeared in the lower-priced Intrigue and gets a few additional miles per gallon, makes 215 horses, but is charged with moving 120 fewer pounds.
Four-wheel disc ABS brakes and speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering that provides better feel and feedback are standard, and so are fat tires and attractive spoked aluminum wheels. The 3.5 is shod with 16-inch Goodyears while 4.0 models receive 17-inch Michelins. A precision control system (read: traction and stability control) keeps the 4.0 traveling the straight and narrow when it senses that a loss of control may be imminent.
Since the Aurora is a luxury car, you should know about a few of the goodies. All Auroras are equipped with leather seats and real walnut trim in a two-tone interior. Driver-oriented with a beautifully swept arc of a control panel, the cabin includes a 27-function Driver Information Center. Chrome accents around the gated shifter and gauges lend a touch of class.
Head, shoulder, and hip room have all been increased, but legroom is down slightly. Though the trunk is smaller, it's more accessible thanks to a larger opening and lower liftover height. Side airbags are mounted to the front seats, and two drivers can personalize the remote keyless entry system to their individual tastes.
With a lower price point for the 3.5, Oldsmobile expects to double sales of the Aurora. The car's combination of style, luxury and value should ensure success.