SAN FRANCISCO: They climbed into the back seat and off we drove towards Julius
Castle. "What is this? A Lexus?" Now Ill admit that I thought the Aurora
was a pretty nice car, but here was someone who wasnt versed in car stuff and he
thought it could be a Lexus. Pretty high praise if you ask me. You should have seen the
look on his face when I told him it was an Oldsmobile Aurora. Then he asked how much.
"About 35 Grand " He owns his own business and is doing quite well these days.
The Olds Aurora is now on the short list for his next new car buy.
Ive got to tell you, when I first saw the 2001 Aurora I was a bit under whelmed.
Not that it wasnt a good-looking car; it just didnt stand out the way the
original Aurora did. But the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. It is a handsome
car. Lately Im finding its difficult to find fault with the fit and finish of
todays vehicles. Go ahead and check one out - the cut lines around the doors, hood,
and trunk are uniformly even and tight. First impressions are important, and when you look
at a car and everything looks right the first time, it just gives you a feeling that the
car was put together with care. The Aurora has that look.
I also like cars that have a bit of stealth about them (especially after my notorious
speeding ticket). Flashy cars are nice but for rapid transit, give me one that
doesnt stand out in a crowd. What could be more "part of the pack" than a
medium to large four-door sedan?
And with Oldsmobiles 4.0-liter, DOHC, 32-valve V8 powering the Aurora, stealth
might be a good thing. The V8 sends 250 HP through a 4-speed automatic transmission to the
front wheels. The engine has proven itself in Oldsmobiles for the past few years and
a version of it has powered the winner of the Indy 500. The engine sure sounded right too
- it had a neat DOHC V8 growl from under the hood with a nice rumble out the twin
Inside the Aurora had all the right stuff for a "near" luxury car. Well,
almost. I expected a power moonroof to be part of the package. Other than that there was
leather seating, multi-adjustable power front seats with memory for the driver, burl
walnut trim, automatic climate control with an air filtration system, and a very good Bose
stereo system with cassette and CD players with eight speakers.
The Aurora is equipped with P235/55R17 tires on good looking, chrome plated, aluminum
wheels. Im sure they enhanced the handling. There is a down side though to large rim
size (17") and low profile (55 series) tires. They can be harsh and transmit the
little bumps too readily. I know that Oldsmobile sees the Aurora as a touring car, kind of
a large sports sedan. Thats fine but Id have preferred a tire with a little
more give to it.
Im no suspension engineer but it seems to me that with the rigidity of
todays auto bodies there should be no need to have such inflexible tires (a low
profile tire has very little sidewall flex) in combination with firm suspensions. Either
tune the suspension softer or spec out a tire with a slightly softer ride. Still, the
Aurora is a fine car, especially the V8 version.
Oldsmobile builds two Auroras - the V/8 one tested and one with a 3.5-liter,
DOHC, 24-valve, 215 hp, V6. The V6 is essentially the V8 with two cylinders left off. Not
having driven the V6, I cant really say, but I think Id take the V8 (when
theres more horsepower, Ill always take it). The V8 is rated at 17-mpg city
and 25 highway while the V6 is 19 and 28, not that big a difference. The V6 weighs only
117 pounds less, thats not enough to make up for the 35 horsepower difference in my
book. So what the heck, go for the big block and enjoy life.
The Oldsmobile Aurora with the V8 lists for $34,305 and as tested was $36,670 including
options and destination charge. It seemed to be on par with V/8 cars costing a lot more.
Should be worth a serious look and a nice test drive By Bruce Hotchkiss ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Oldsmobile Home Page
Byline: By Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name: "What is this? A Lexus?"
Topic: 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora
Word Count: 796
Photo Caption: 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora
Photo Credits: Oldsmobile Internet Media
Series #: 2000 - 28
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