The name Aurion is derived from the Greek word ‘Tomorrow’ and the latest Toyota large car will not date like its predecessor Avalon, it will still look good tomorrow.
The large car segment which has been dominated in Australia by Holden and Ford since the beginning of time has had numerous competitor brands throwing their version of a Large car at the blue oval and furious lion.
Buyers of Large cars are downsizing to smaller segments, however Toyota Australia is still putting up a fight and have a 17% market share* of the Large car segment, to put this in perspective Holden’s Commodore is at 41% and the Ford Falcon is at 25%.
The Toyota Aurion is built on the locally manufactured platform that bodies the current Camry, with cosmetic changes to both the interior and exterior. The most significant difference is the Aurion plays ball with a V6 whilst the Camry has a 2.4 litre 4 cylinder.
The interior provides a quality fit and finish but we don’t expect anything less from Toyota these days, however the cabin space is a little tighter than the current VE Commodore and FG Falcon.
Towing the boat, driving through urban streets, attempting Melbourne’s three-point turns, dropping the 2.2 kids off to school before breakfast with the other school mums, yes the Toyota Aurion will do all of this just fine. However on the weekends and after 4000 rpm, this car gets the testosterone flowing.
The car tested was the Sportivo ZR6 variant; it sports a class leading 200 kW engine, via a 6 speed semi-automatic transmission which is more responsive than other vehicle we have tested with similar technology.
What’s more impressive is the Aurion’s fuel economy, Toyota’s claimed figures are 9.9 litres per 100km. Equivalent Falcon XR6 10.2 Commodore SV6 11.2
I don’t think there has ever been a locally manufactured Toyota vehicle as confident as this one, front on the car looks like its moving even when at standstill, the rear body sports a subtle spoiler and its modern styling and design is contemporary and would be appealing to many new car buyers.
Approaching the car it senses that the keys are within close proximity and unlocks the doors for you, a feature suitable for Gen Ys. Don’t spend too long looking for the ignition key hole because you won’t find anything, the Sportivo ZR6 grade also senses that you are sitting in the vehicle and when the brake pedal is depressed, push the START button and the engine fires up, the instrument cluster illuminates, the satellite navigation (optional) turns on and the best hits of Kamahl is played through the six-disc, six speaker sound system.
When the Aurion is in a gear higher than the fourth, knock the gear lever right into the semi-automatic ‘sport’ mode and the transmission drops down to fourth and it will accelerate as fast as a tortoise on Prozac.
The ZR6 receives a sportier suspension set-up which offers a firmer ride, however not as unyielding as the TRD Aurion variant. At lower speeds during cornering the Aurion holds the road confidently-when dry, and when the speed creeps up or there’s an ounce of dribble; the front understeers out of the corner. However the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) which is Toyota’s version of ESP kicks in and put the Aurion back in line.
The Sportivo ZR6 as tested has many creature comforts, including sporty leather trimmed seats with electric adjustment, matching leather steering wheel and gear shifter. The automatic climate control is a breeze to use however the audio system is a bit complex when the satellite navigation option is selected.
Because the Aurion is a front wheel driven vehicle this negates the rear diff tunnel allowing for a lower boot floor meaning a larger luggage capacity of 504 litres. An impressing figure for a vehicle of this size compared with the Commodore at 496 litres.
The Aurion Sportivo ZR6 with the satellite navigation and sunroof option pack as tested is priced at $45,990 plus on-road costs at the time of the road test. In our opinion the Aurion provides a different perspective of the Australian manufactured large car vehicles, design, performance, quality and value for money.
* Market share = year to date sales to August 2008.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Ford Falcon XR6
Holden Commodore SV6
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