2001 Oldsmobile Aurora (322)


Long ago and far away I was impressed with Olds because dad owned several and it was one of the first cars I test drove. I don’t think dad knew that but it was my duty and part of my education to evaluate the cars of the day.

Dad’s reason for wanting to own Oldsmobile cars was broad, including the fact that he watched them grow from the early days and after more than 100 years of tradition and racing history, they’re still around. Speaking of racing, today the Aurora engine is what powers most of the IRL (Indianapolis Racing League) cars. Price Cobb, my racing friend and co-writer of Point CounterPoint at www.atthewheel.com is one of three or four teams that employ the Nissan Infiniti engine in competition with the Aurora. The majority is not always right and only time will tell if Olds will win out in the test of endurance demanded by engines that routinely run at or over 9,000 rpm.  

Well, I grew up with dad’s many Oldsmobile cars and I suspect that’s why I finally bought one of my own. It was a 1949 Olds 88 hardtop that I bought back in the late 1950’s. It was one of the loves of my life. Dad was right on most things and I agree that Olds makes a quality car. This Aurora is no exception and I truly enjoyed driving this 2001 model.

The exterior, although it has nice lines, it is plain Jane and rather commonplace in design. The interior is a different story and it provides a nice comfy / cozy feeling to settle back for a long and comfortable ride for those of us who simply enjoy driving.

Handling & Performance:

A solid quality ride for luxury performance while not being a road racer. This will appeal more to the sense of comfort and convenience. I’d want to add traction control if I purchased the V6. It’s an option on the V6 but standard on the V8 that I drove.


Clean lines but uninspiring.

Fit and Finish:

As good as most of the competition, but in general, the Japanese cars tend to be better.




Well priced for a luxury car, but then price is always very relative. For those who purchased a home prior to the 1980’s few would have paid more than the price of this Aurora in the year 2000. What a difference 20 years makes, eh?


The most impressive alternatives from the list below are the Mercedes and the Acura TL. The other American competitors are “also ran’s” and your preference in styling or make will determine the winner in a close race. The other foreign options are more expensive, so if the “Badge” is important that may be reason enough to justify your paying the extra dough. You may want to consider the V6 that does about 3 mpg better than this V8 without much loss in performance.

The Competition:

Acura TL $28,550-30,550, Audi A6 $34,400-49,400, BMW 5 Series $35,400-53,900, Buick Park Avenue $32,980- 37,490, Chrysler 300M $29,640, Infiniti I30 $39,465-31,540, Lexus GS 300/400 $37,805-46,305, Lincoln LS $31,665-35,695, Mercedes Benz C-Class $29,950-36,950, Saab 9-5 $33,995-40,175, Volvo S80 $36,000-40,500.

Good News:

Good gas mileage, luxury car feel, roomy interior and trunk, solid ride.

Bad News:

Rear windows roll down only about a third.

Standard Equipment:

4.0 liter V8 engine mated to a 4-speed automatic trans, front and side air bags, 4-wheel anti lock disc brakes, cruise control, remote keyless entry, speed sensitive steering, traction control, leather, power driver seat, burl walnut wood trim, power mirrors, stereo with cassette and CD, climate control, lighted vanity mirrors, moisture sensitive wipers, memory seat and mirror adjustment.

Gas Stats:

17 City and 25 Highway MPG.


MSRP  $34,644.

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