2001 Oldsmobile Aurora 3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
Perhaps I should say that everything about this car is ordinary. That is if you're comparing it to a BRAND NEW Japanese Luxury Sport Sedan! It seems like every new Maxima, Accura, Camry, Infinity, and even BMW is trying to BE this car! This does have the negative effect of driving a classic while looking like everything else out there. That's how far ahead of it's time it was. It's BIG. Not as wide as most full-size luxury sedans, but that's actually an advantage. It has a big car ride, but doesn't give a big car driving experience. You know... boring. With it's speed-sensitive steering, it feels more like a Firebird on the open road. You know... exciting! It's a real solid build. Simply stated, check out Wikipedia, who says that it broke GM's frame-crush tester. Then go online and look at some pix. See how much rust, and how many dents you see on these classics. And with that solid build, you're nearly guaranteed a quiet interior. Let's talk about that quiet interior. The first time I got into mine, if I had gone in blindfolded, when it was removed, I would have thought I was in a European exotic. Most comfortable driver's seat I've ever parked my butt in. High-backed leather bucket. Look at the pix again. See how many cracked seats, dashboards, and door panels you see. Mine doesn't have any. The instrumentation has an understated elegance. The cockpit is completely driver oriented, with a split dashboard that cries out, "Hands off my controls!" As a matter of fact, the ashtray is actually quite inconvenient for the front passenger, who actually needs to do a 'reach-around'. CONSIDERING it's size, the gas mileage is GREAT! Out on the highway at 65, I get THIRTY-TWO miles to a gallon. A/C or not. With the unspeakably comfortable climate control off, I get around 23 in ordinary conditions. And, (groan) about 15 if I do run the EIGHT speed blower fan. But it is absolutely the best A/C I've ever seen in a car. Those are deadly accurate readings. It has a Driver Information Center that tells you virtually EVERY stat you would want to know about fuel. You know... just like a new car. But it does have it's limits! Once it reads that you have a fuel range of 45 miles, it says 'low fuel', and it won't let you reset it. It's like it's saying, "Look, a-hole, I said you're REAL low! You ain't holding me to a critical prediction!" All this, while cranking 215 hp out of a 3.5 V6. Now the bad. I'm a member of the Aurora Club of North America, which is a good thing, for a BAD reason. Some mechanics refuse to work on these. There are no Chilton's or Haynes manual available. There are very few in the junk yards, some small parts are non-existent, (in my case, window retaining clips), and they don't generally match up with other GM cars. You-Tube videos showing guys doing repairs on them are non-existent as well. The trunk tends to leak, and the window switches are not switches at all, they are 'triggers', and every time you touch one, you're playing Russian Roulette. You WILL spend some time messing with windows. My driver's window goes about 3/4 of the way down IF you help guide it both up and down. It operates on zip-ties, despite the fact that we did everything we could to get a better fix. I've owned 20 cars in my life, and I've only truly loved three of them. This one, is my all-time favorite. Let's wrap it all up like this. If you asked me to trade my Aurora, for ANY other car, and I couldn't sell it, I could only drive it.... I'd tell you to shove your Jaguar!
Well, they asked me to update my review. A 1995 Chevy Suburban plowed into my rear at 40 MPH, with their foot on the gas instead of the brake, while I was stopped at a stop sign. It pushed the trunk in, and destroyed the bumper cowling and fog-lights. Not a BIT of damage to the frame or quarter panels. It didn't even move the car, or give me a jolt. The only reason I knew I had been tagged was because I heard the crash. This is important, because a smaller car would have been pushed into the intersection, where it would have been T-boned by the right of way traffic. Drove it like that for 10 months with a bungee holding down the trunk lid. So their insurance gave me double what I paid for it, 1/1/2 months after I bought it. Bought a $400 parts car, paid $750 to a frame shop to pull the trunk, and switched out the doors, because all the windows in my parts car were working. I guess I should add that I drove that parts car 175 miles back home, with a slipping transmission that wouldn't hold any fluid. Even that was a more enjoyable ride than most cars.
I have now owned the car for 14 months, and have kicked out for a crank sensor, and a brake line. Had to drop the starter to change the sensor, but was still a relatively cheap and easy repair. When the sensor went, it didn't leave me sitting. The 'check engine' light came on, and I had to pump the gas to get it going. For a 15 year old car with over 100K, that is GREAT reliability and value.
2001 Oldsmobile Aurora 3.5 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
I was an auto broker for many years and I recommended this car to numerous people. Is there a car made that doesn't have problems, of course not, there will never be a "one and done" but if you are looking at one of these get it checked out by a mechanic first and then be glad you bought it. The gas mileage for a car of this size is wonderful, the ride is really good. It's roomy front and back and has a massive trunk. The trunk is so big I put a 12" sub woofer in a box and mounted it in the trunk and I can still get the spare tire out. When you are driving it doesn't feel as big as it is. I have a 2001 with 108,000 miles and it doesn't even let in much road noise at all. I do a ton of driving and the only thing I have done to the car in a year and a half is add an after market stereo. I honestly don't have anything negative to say. To get really nit-picky I'm 5'11" tall and the seats don't go back as far as i would like. If you are my height or taller you definitely want to check that out first. I guess you get what you pay for and in my case I got so much more because I paid hardly anything for mine. Even though Oldsmobile isn't being made anymore quite a few different GM products used the same parts. This being said, parts are not hard to find and this isn't a high maintenance car to keep up.
*Update I've been commuting now for the past nine months and I'm averaging over 400 miles per tank of gas. The air shocks are great for long drives and this car takes a beating. I have put 27,000 miles on it in the past 9 months and its running strong.