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1995 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan

4dr Sedan

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  • $33,065 original MSRP
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Printable Version

1995 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan

Printable Version

1995 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan

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1995 Oldsmobile Aurora

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

It has often been said that the Olds- mobile Aurora is a make-or-break car for Oldsmobile, which is the weakest of General Motors' car and truck divisions. Sales have slid from more than a million cars a year in the 1980s to less than 400,000 in 1993.

The Aurora is an effort to recast the Oldsmobile of old, create a new image and attract younger affluent buyers who otherwise might buy imports. As such, it sets the tone for Oldsmobile for the rest of the decade.

The Aurora is luxurious and expensive-looking. However, it comes in with a very competitive base price of under $32,000. Only a few options are available, so you won't ever have to spend much more than that. Our test model had optional 16-in. Michelin all-season radial tires and went for $32,390.

Walkaround

The Aurora has strayed only slightly from the original tubular shape sketched on paper by Oldsmobile designers developing the new-image car. That early design was reminiscent of the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. In fact, the Aurora, though it is a luxury performance sedan, replaces the Toronado, which was a coupe. The designers' game plan was to create the drama of a coupe in a practical sedan.

The Aurora's tubular shape has allowed for smooth flowing lines on the upper and lower body panels, and the bold design emphasizes the wheels. The Aurora does not sport a conventional grille, which is a clean break from Oldsmobile's tradition of using egg-crate grilles.

Despite its importance to the division, the Aurora presents little exterior evidence to indicate it's an Oldsmobile. The car's nose features a silver script "A" instead of the Oldsmobile rocket logo. This is most likely because consumer research conducted during Aurora development revealed that potential buyers loved the car when it had no Oldsmobile emblem; they were thumbs-down when the rocket was present. Also, references to the Aurora in advertising and print material call it "the Aurora by Oldsmobile."

Those same consumers told Oldsmobile they wanted to buy cars in a new way - more in the Saturn tradition. Oldsmobile has adopted Saturn's no-haggle selling concept, and dealers and their personnel must undergo special training to sell and service Auroras.

In fact, only dealerships who send their managers and employees to Oldsmobile's Vision Center, a school that features a showroom and service area, can sell the Aurora. These dealerships must spend $10,000 to $16,000 for training of two key managers and at least 20 percent of the sales staff, and must agree to stock a certain amount of Aurora parts.

Interior Features

The interior of the Aurora clearly indicates it is designed to be a driver's car, almost to the point of alienating the passenger.

The separate driver and passenger climate controls are a plus, however. Warm or cool air is distributed through large vents in the dash and door panels.

Instruments are large and few in number so they are easy to read at a glance. To supplement the four key gauges, the Aurora's instrument panel has 16 telltale lamps that require the driver's attention only when necessary. The information system, angled toward the driver, is quite discreet.

The interior clearly indicates this a luxury car, outfitted in leather and accented in burl walnut. Surfaces are soft and lines flowing. Fit-and-finish is good, and the quality of materials is high.

The Aurora is equipped with numerous luxury amenities. The steering wheel features touch controls for the climate control and audio systems. An extra power receptacle is located in the front ashtray, and four cupholders are disbursed throughout the vehicle. Also, door-mounted switches are illuminated for use in the dark.

The Aurora accommodates four passengers in comfort. The seats are firm and highly adjustable to varying body styles. The center-rear position, which has a lap belt, can seat the occasional fifth passenger. The Aurora is outfitted with dual airbags in front and 3-point belts for outboard seating positions.

Due to the sweeping exterior lines, the rake of the rear window is steep - so much so that it distorts the vehicles reflected in the rearview mirror. We found it annoying to look into the mirror and see vehicles that all looked like vintage Saabs, with squashed notes and horizontally elongated headlights. Otherwise, the inside rearview mirror dims, and the outside mirrors are heated.

For the size of this car, its trunk is small. However, the rear seat features a pass-through compartment for added cargo-carrying capacity.

The interior is extremely quiet. Oldsmobile engineers did a number of things to make it that way, including special attention to side-glass seals and the location of the climate control equipment. The latter is now inside the car, instead of under the hood, to avoid large openings into the dash.

The Aurora is the first automotive application of the Bose Acoustimass speaker technology. Similar to the Bose AM-5 speaker system for homes, the Bose Acoustimass launches sound into the cabin with a mass of air rather than a vibrating surface such as a speaker cone. The advantage is a purer and increased sound, using just a modest amount of electrical power.

Driving Impressions

The Aurora is more akin to the Cadillac Seville than to any Oldsmobile in terms of ride and drive. The base powerplant, a 250-hp 32-valve V8, is derived from the Cadillac Northstar engine, though it's a 4.0-liter, unlike the 4.6-liter Northstar.

The Aurora V8 delivers smooth power and makes expensive and sporty noises. The powerplant isn't loud or obtrusive, but under full throttle, as the tachometer needle swings upward, the engine note goes from a throaty V8 sound to a rushing, mechanized scream at the redline. In doing so, acceleration is respectable, but not what you would call brisk.

Despite the 250 horses, the Aurora's considerable bulk reigns in the power, resulting in less-than-stunning acceleration. That's not to say the Aurora is slow; it isn't, and there is always power on tap for quick passing on narrow 2-lane roads.

For us, the Aurora's ride was firm and well-controlled, with a decidedly European feel. This was accomplished, in part, because of a very rigid body structure.

The body didn't wallow atop the suspension, but there were times when the suspension felt a step behind the body, as though it didn't react as quickly as it should have and was scrambling to make it up.

In the same vein, the steering reacted with the same sluggishness. The Aurora's magnetic-speed variable-assist steering uses an electronic controller to sense vehicle speed and generate the electrical current that's most appropriate for that speed.

The system works, providing greater assist at low speeds and greater effort during freeway driving, but to us it felt unnaturally heavy at times, such as when cornering at moderate speeds.

In terms of safety, the Aurora is strong with anti-lock brakes and traction control as standard equipment.

Summary

We don't think the Aurora is the answer to Oldsmobile's ills, with production not expecting to exceed 50,000 units a year. However, it should set the tone for the future for GM's struggling division.

For buyers, the Aurora offers the latest, much-talked-about fashion on the block at an extremely attractive price. It is a worthy - and more affordable - alternative to some of the European and Japanese luxury makes that are priced from $45,000 and up.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$31,995
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Price as tested (MSRP)
$32,390
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Printable Version

1995 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

1995 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan

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