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Lacks the design flair of the original, but otherwise a better car in every respect.
Sophisticated powerplants, sumptuous interior, understated style.
Front-wheel drive results in heavy front end, not as exciting to behold as the original, less trunk space, tighter legroom.
Available Aurora Models
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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.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.