The 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora has a lot going for it. In its price range it leads for interior material quality and features. The performance seems sound along with the handling. The ride feels smooth although not as comfortable as luxury models. The Aurora does rather well for safety and gets decent fuel economy for the amount of performance offered. The Aurora gives little to complain about on its own; it mostly shows minor shortcomings when compared to the in-class competition from Europe, but it still holds its own.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 4.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Oldsmobile Aurora
For 2003, the Aurora’s final production year, the V-6 has been dropped, making the Aurora one of the few V-8-only sedans on the market. Two new exterior colors, Bordeaux Red and Steel Blue, join the lineup.
The 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora comes in just one base trim. This trim sports exterior gear such as 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear defogger, a sport suspension, front and rear fog lamps, power door mirrors, heated door mirrors, a rear auto-leveling suspension, and MacPherson struts. A power moonroof provides one of the few standalone options.
The body of the Aurora looks less muscular and sporty than in the past and has more of a luxury sedan appearance to broaden appeal. The Aurora serves as a classy-looking car even if it doesn’t quite match the highly styled look of its European rivals.
Even though the Aurora only comes in one trim level it still contains many standard interior features including leather upholstery; an eight-way power driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support; cruise control; remote trunk release; speed-proportional power steering; a tilt steering wheel with audio controls; climate control; wood trim on the center console, dash, and doors; leather trim on steering wheel and shift knob; OnStar telecommunications service; and an audio system with AM/FM and an in-dash CD player. Heated seats and a trunk-mounted 12-CD changer remain optional.
In this price range, drivers find it hard to beat the Aurora for cabin luxury. The material quality seems rather good even if the build quality lags behind more coveted rivals from Europe. The interior feels ergonomic, spacious, and has a pleasant and upscale style to the design. Drivers find every feature expected of a luxury car in the 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora, but it thankfully leaves behind the complicated controls found in many luxury models.
Performance & Handling
The 2003 Aurora only offers one powertrain: a four-liter V-8 engine that produces 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It hooks up to a four-speed automatic transmission. All Auroras use front drive only. The smooth and on-the-spot transmission along with the 250 horses helps the Aurora accelerate well at any speed, and it handles traffic situations rather well.
While the steering provides good feedback, the brakes feel strong and problem-free although a bit firm, and the handling seems precise and smooth with little body roll. Still, the Aurora doesn’t quite match up to European sport sedans that set the standard for athleticism in a luxury car. It seems well-mannered enough for comfortable daily driving duties while offering some performance fun.
The ride seems nice enough for a luxury car except over bumps with the standard 17-inch tires when it gets a little too rough for luxury expectations. The engine sounds as refined as the vaunted European rivals, but wind and road noise are kept to a minimum making for a mostly serene ride.
Standard safety features for the 2003 Aurora include antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, a tire-inflation monitor and side-impact airbags for the front seats. Active front head restraints move up and forward in a collision to reduce the chance of whiplash injury. All five seating positions have three-point lap-and-shoulder seat belts and electronic brake force distribution is also standard as is a remote anti-theft system. In NHTSA testing the Aurora earned four out of five stars for driver, passenger and side-impact rear safety and three stars for side-impact front safety. In the sole IIHS test performed the Aurora received the highest rating of ?good? for frontal offset crash safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
Oldsmobile Aurora: 15/24 mpg city/highway
- Engine power
- Ride comfort
- Luxurious interior for the price
You Won't Like
- Resale value
- Build quality lags behind rivals
Outstanding value of a sedan soon to leave the market.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Lexus IS300
- Lexus GS
- BMW 5 Series
- BMW 3 Series
- Infiniti I35
- Buick Park Avenue