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Daily Edition: Apr. 11, 2006


Saturn Has New Outlook

1999 Chevrolet C/K

1999 Chevrolet C/K

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The Saturn Outlook is a three-row, eight-passenger crossover vehicle that goes into production late this year inMichigan. The Outlook is based on GM's new crossover vehicle platform, Lambda, that will also see a new Buick Enclave wagon and a GMC with the unconfirmed name of Acadia, and a new Opel. Powering the Outlook is the GM 3.6-liter V-6 with variable valve timing. It is rated at an estimated 269 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. Available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the unibody vehicle shares a six-speed automatic transmission that was developed with Ford Motor Company. While transmission components are shared with Ford, application engineering, such as for its calibration, is unique. GM says the when compared with its usual four-speed automatic, the new transmission provides performance improvements of about six to eight percent while improving fuel economy two to four percent. The Aura, Sky Red Line, and Outlook are among five new vehicles joining the Saturn family for the 2007 model year. -Ken Zino

See more Saturn Outlook pictures

Saturn Kisses Sky with Red Line
2006 Saturn Sky

2006 Saturn Sky

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2007 Saturn Sky Red Line

2007 Saturn Sky Red Line

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Usual auto-industry practice is to wait a year or two before introducing derivatives of a new car. This gives companies and dealers something to hawk after the initial sales surge diminishes and the line needs a promotional boost. Not at Saturn nor at Pontiac this time around. The Saturn Sky roadster just now appearing in showrooms starting at $23,690 will be joined this fall by a Red Line version. Red means 260 hp, and 260 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine in place of the base 2.4-liter, 177-hp four-cylinder. This is GM's highest specific output engine ever at 2.1 hp per cubic inch of displacement (130 hp/liter) and the most powerful engine in the Ecotec family. The same powertrain and output numbers apply to the upcoming Pontiac Solstice GXP, the performance version of the Solstice, which starts at $20,490 with less standard equipment than the Sky. The Sky and an upcoming Opel GT version due late this year are based on the same Kappa platform as the Solstice. The turbocharged versions are not priced yet, but look for several thousand dollars to be added, especially if current initial demand remains high. Turbocharged versions should be easily capable of zero-to-60 mph elapsed times of less than six seconds. -Ken Zino

Preview the New York auto show here

Aura Revealed at Saturn

2007 Saturn Aura

2007 Saturn Aura

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One more time with an Opel feeling? The new Saturn Aura is a mid-size sedan, due this summer as the brand's second attempt at expanding into a segment long dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, after the unlamented and cancelled L-Series. The Aura is based on the Epsilon mid-size car platform shared with the Opel Vectra, but built in the U.S. A 3.5-liter V-6 with variable valve timing (VVT) is standard, while there's an optional more powerful 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 with VVTi. The 3.6-liter engine is mated to a new, six-speed automatic transmission - the first GM product to receive what is called a performance-oriented, fuel-saving gearbox. Later in the 2007 model year, an Aura hybrid model will become available. It uses a four-cylinder-based mild hybrid powertrain similar to the Saturn Vue Green Line appearing this summer. The Vue hybrid is predicted to be the lowest-cost hybrid-powered SUV in the market, starting at less than $23,000, and offering fuel economy improvements of about 20 percent in stop-and-go driving estimated by GM at 27 mpg city. It uses a combination electric motor/generator mated to a 2.4-liter VVT four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. Efficiency is increased by engine shut-off at idle, fuel cut-off during deceleration, electric power assist during acceleration, and regenerative braking. -Ken Zino

 
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