Toyota Launches Aurion V6 Large Car
Motoring Channel Staff - 18/Oct/2006
The Toyota Aurion Sportivo ZR6 gets 17-inch
alloy wheels, stiffer suspension, sports bodykit,
leather interior and parking sensors for $42,500
The entry-level sports model, the Sportivo SX6, is
just as sporty but forgoes the leather and luxury items
in favour of a $4,000 price reduction over the ZR6
Large Lessons Learned
has already tried to crack the large car market in
Australia when the Avalon was released a handful of years ago. It
Miserably. 'Twasn't a particularly bad car, just not what the market
wanted at the time, but some positives can come of the exercise, and
has learned a lesson.
Large car buyers in Australia don't want
something that looks like a lump of quickly-cobbled together metal
and plastic, and the new Aurion certainly has good looks on its side.
But one of the key issues for some buyers may be the front-wheel drive
layout. Though Toyota has learned to make it's new large car look
pretty, has beefed up the V6 power, improved fuel economy and offered
an impressive safety package, it is still a
front-wheel drive vehicle and this could be its Achilles heel. Time will tell.
- Feann Torr, Editor
From a visual standpoint, the new Aurion is a much
better looking vehicle than the Avalon, featuring a more
progressive and dynamic exterior with dual rear exhausts
The interior is similar to the Camry's
Toyota is seriously pumped with the new
Aurion, believing the
vehicle will play a key
role in reinvigorating the local
Melbourne, Australia —
For months now Toyota has been drip feeding the Australian motoring public new information on its
new large car, the Aurion. There's been photos, data and
other tidbits of
information on its new locally-built family car, and though it's
not quite a make-or-break vehicle for Toyota in Australia, the incredibly successful car company would
lose face if the
car failed to give the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon a few bruises in terms of market share,
as the Avalon was Toyota's first effort at usurping the local big sixes, and it
But this new model is an altogether more handsome
large car, with the most powerful naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engine in the class, besting both the
190kW Ford Falcon and the 180kW Holden Commodore
with its 200kW 3.5-litre 6-cylinder engine (using 95 RON or higher
grades of fuel, the Aurion makes slightly more power - 204kW).
With the Toyota Camry now a purely 4-cylinder vehicle, the Aurion is now the Japanese marque's dedicated 6-cylinder model.
one of the only things the Aurion doesn't have that it's Holden and
Ford rivals offer is rear wheel drive. But Toyota doesn't think
customers will mind, and is predicting a surge in sales when it hits
dealers in early November.
Priced from $34,990 for the AT-X
model, all Aurion models get the powerful V6 engine, a 6-speed
automatic transmission plus general features including six airbags
(including side curtain), cruise control, air conditioning and
stability control. In terms of features at least, the Aurion offers
more than its Ford and Holden rivals at a similar price, and in terms
of safety it isnow clearly the class leader.
The Aurion range includes the following models in order from entry to top spec level:
AT-X - $34,990
Sportivo SX6 - $38,500
Prodigy - $39,500
Sportivo ZR6 - $42,500
Presara - $49,990
models from the AT-X up to the luxury Presara feature a strong safety
compliment, including vehicle stability control (VSC), traction control
(TRC), ABS with active braking with intelligence (AB-i), plus brake
assist and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD).
As well as
wider tyres than the Toyota Avalon it replaces, the Aurion gets
larger brakes (296mm x 28mm ventilated front discs, 286mm x 10mm
rear discs) and Aurion AT-X, Prodigy and Sportivo models
get projector-type low beam headlamps, while the high-grade
Presara has adaptive, self-levelling high-intensity discharge
protector-type low-beam headlamps. Prodigy, Sportivo and Presara grades
have front foglamps as well, and all Aurion models get six airbags:
front, front side airbags for front occupants andside curtain-shield airbags for both front and rear occupants.
well as it's strong safety complement, the new Aurion's powerful
3.5-litre V6 is another class-leading aspect of Toyota's new large car.
Though peak torque isn't quite as hefty as found in Ford's 4.0-litre
Falcon, it leads on power output, developing 200kW of power @ 6200rpm,
while peak torque is 336Nm @ 4700rpm. Here's how it stacks up with the
Holden Commodore - 180kW, 330Nm
Ford Falcon - 190kW, 383Nm
Mitsubishi 380 - 175kW, 343Nm
Toyota Aurion - 200kW, 336Nm
is confident that the new Aurion V6 will have the best fuel
economy of the naturally aspirated Aussie big-six family cars, as well
as the highest power output. Though the V6 engine drives the front
wheels, unlike Falcon and Commodore which are rear wheel driven, yet it
is the most powerful vehicle ever sold by Toyota in Australia.
Aurion's advanced 3.5-litre V6 engine delivers 200kW of power using
regular unleaded petrol (ULP) and when using premium unleaded petrol
(PULP) will produce even more power, lifting maximum output to 204kW.
It is also the most fuel-efficient 6-cylinder car in the large-car
segment, consuming just 9.9 litres/100km on the combined cycle
according to Toyota. It has a large 70 litre fuel tank for a
theoretical range of around 700km per tank (click here for fuel consumption comparisons between the four Aussie large cars).
its 1590kg kerb weight, the entry-level Aurion's 200kW V6 engine
propels it from zero to 100km/h in 7.4 seconds with a top
228km/h, which makes it a bit slower than the Falcon in the sprint
times, but is slightly faster than the Commodore.
quad camshafts (DOHC per cylinder bank), the new V6 engine (designated
the 2GR-FE) gets dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i)
and an intelligent electronic throttle (ETCS-i). In technical terms,
the dual VVT-i system can independently vary inlet
timing across a range of 40 degrees (relative to crankshaft angle) and
independently vary exhaust timing over a range of 35 degrees. On the
road, this dual VVT-i system can reduce fuel consumption at low revs,
while still boosting power output when engine speeds increase.
cubic centimetres, the 3.5-litre V6 has a compression ratio is 10.8:1
and features 4-valves per cylinder, for a total of 24. Dual main
mufflers are fitted to reduce exhaust back-pressure and hence boost
performance, and Toyota adds that it has increased reliability and
serviceability by adopting chain camshaft
drive and a replaceable
element oil filter among other things. All told, the Aurion's 2GR-FE
engine has a service weight of 163kg.
Buttner, the big chief of sales and marketing at Toyota Australia had
plenty to say about the Aurion: "This is the automotive equivalent
of breaking the three-minute mile," Mr Buttner said, highlighting the
fact that the new V6 can achieve these impressive levels of
power and economy.
"Aurion is the first Australian-built
production car to achieve this power and economy double - a rare feat
previously only possible with a small number of imported vehicles, such
as those with hybrid drivetrains. Aurion is the performance leader
among non-turbo Aussie 6-cylinder family cars, delivering the power
demanded by Australia's large-car buyers. At the same time, it
achieves fuel efficiency that is not matched by the six-cylinder
competitors in its [large] class."
touched on the "non-turbo Aussie 6-cylinder family" and it should be
noted that Toyota has plans to release a supercharged version of the
Aurion V6 half-way through 2007, which may well match the Falcon
XR6 Turbo's power output (but probably not torque). Putting the
Aurion's 200 kilowatts of power to the front wheels is a 6-speed
automatic transmission, which is standard across the range. There is no
Toyota says that the Aurion's new six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission
has artificial intelligence and a sequential-style manual gear select
new 6-speed automatic transmission, codenamed the U660E, features
electronic control software that includes new fuel-saving features,
including increased range of low-speed torque-converter lock-up control
and flexible lock-up control.
transmission ECU provides three functions:
basic shift control pattern, road condition support control and driver
intention support control. The AI shift can adjust the shift pattern
to suit different drivers and provide engine braking for hill descents and it also reduces 'gear hunting' when going uphill.
Gear ratios are:
Final drive ratio: 3.685:1.
Toyota has not released any performance figures, such as top speed, it
has revealed that - along with power output and safety features - it
also leads the large car class in terms of weight. The entry-level
Aurion AT-X weighs 1590kg. Here's the comparison with its rivals:
Holden Commodore - 1622kg (Omega model)
Ford Falcon - 1694kg (XT model)
Mitsubishi 380 - 1625kg (ES model)
Toyota Aurion - 1590kg (AT-X model)
much has already been said about the Aurion's exterior appearance, it
is much easier to regard than the ugly Avalon ever was. An Australian
stylist was the central point of the international design team for the
new Aurion V6, Nick Hogios. "Australia is a unique nation," Mr Hogios
said. "We tend to like American-sized sedans with European style. We
know our market, and for the first time we've had a big say in the
design of our own vehicle from inception. For this unique
exercise, so important and deservedly so Australian, simultaneous clay
models were produced in Japan and Australia and developments were
paralleled," said Mr Hogios.
"Some cars are overly balanced with
predictably constructed design elements. These cars may have immediate
appeal, but the design does not stand up to the passing of time," Nick
Hogios continued. "Other cars attempt to create excitement by being
overly imbalanced. They have an immediate impact because of their odd
shapes, but they have limited market appeal. Aurion achieves
perfect imbalance - the best of both worlds.
"It has design
features which deliberately provide a counter-point to others, and are
therefore both interesting and appealing. Due to the proportions and
character in the car, people will like it from the start, yet won't
grow tired of it," surmised Mr Hogios.
"To balance the hood, it
has a lower bumper which cradles it," he said. "That led to the unique
tagline for this car: double concave architecture, which is the
signature of the front end. Conventionally designed cars have
architecture that is primarily horizontal - lamps, grille and bumper
surface breaks are placed in a horizontal line. Aurion tries to create
more drama and interest with vertically sculpted features balanced by
lamps that are placed quite wide. This gives the car a very distinctive
Nick Hogios, the chief of design for the new Aurion,
also added that the rear end has been given some sharp styling cues:
"Detail styling cues at the rear include the after-burner LED tail-lamp
clusters and the dual exhaust pipes, signifying power. For the
first time, turn indicators are located in each wing mirror - an
upmarket feature typical of the attention to detail in Aurion that will
surprise and delight customers," concluded Mr Hogios.
the Aurion goes on sale in early November, it will be launched in five
model grades. The entry-level AT-X model will feature the 3.5-litre V6,
6-speed auto, six airbags, VSC, power driver's seat (slide,
recline, height and lumbar support adjustment), steering
wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, power windows and
mirrors, remote central locking, air conditioning, and an MP3/WMA
CD audio system.
After the AT-X model is the Prodigy, and like
all models hereafter gets everything the AT-X gets plus things
like dual-zone auto air conditioning, 16-inch alloy
wheels, front foglamps, leather seat and door trim, 6-CD
in-dash multi-changer, 6-way power-adjustable front-passenger seatsplus a clearance and rear reversing sonar system.
two Sportivo models - SX6 and ZR6 - get stiffer sports suspension with
additional rear bracing, plus 17-inch alloy wheels with Michelin tyres
for more assertive handling. They also get bodykits comprising of
sports headlamps and rear combination lamps, sports radiator
grille, front foglamps, a rear wing spoiler plus front and
rear aprons and side skirts. Alloy-look sports pedals also make the
Sportivo grades, as do 3-spoke leather-bound steering wheels. The top
spec sports model, Sportivo ZR6, gets luxury extras like dual-zone
auto air conditioning, black leather seat trim, two
front and four rear clearance and reversing sonars, smart entry
(including boot release) and engine push button start.
range-topping Presara model, which will compete with the Holden Calais
and Ford Fairmont Ghia, gets everything the Prodigy model receives, but
adds things like 17-inch alloy wheels, HVAC and Bluetooth
controls on the steering wheel, lots of chrome accents inside and on
the car's exterior, telematics with three-year service
subscription, electro chromatic interior rear-view
mirror, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, a reversing
camera, auto-tilt exterior mirrors on reverse, smart entry
(including boot release) and push button start, AVN satellite
navigation with Bluetooth, power rear sunshade, auto-levelling HID
headlamps with washers, Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) and
even a moonroof.
Toyota Australia's senior executive director of sales and marketing, David
Buttner, said the Melbourne-built Aurion defines Toyota's view of the future for Australian
six-cylinder cars: "Aurion is a value-for-money Aussie car that is better priced and
better equipped than its major VFACTS large passenger car class
competitors," Mr Buttner said.
"It has more power than the naturally aspirated 6-cylinder rivals in
its class and better fuel economy than any of the large-six competitors
in its class. It is styled for Australian tastes, tuned for Australian driving
preferences, and has the power and comfort required for driving vast
distances. At the same time, it is endowed with technology that ensures excellent
fuel economy, with high levels of active and passive safety features as
standard equipment on all models."
to reach Toyota showrooms in early November, the Australian-designed
Aurion V6 is priced between $34,990 and $49,990, and size-wise it's a
fairly close match for its rivals. Here's the breakdown:
the Aurion is a class leader in terms of engine power and standard
safety features, it's clear that the Toyota Aurion is not quite as
roomy as its rivals, being the shortest and narrowest in the large car
class (see table above), but it comes close to most of its rivals,
and is larger than its precursor the Avalon. Surprisingly however,
it has the equal best-in-class boot space, sharing that honour with the
Toyota is very positive that it's new car, together
with its multi-million dollars advertising campaigns, will be enough to
alter the balance of power in the locally-built large car market, which
for the last three decades has been a Holden versus Ford event. The
Mitsubishi 380 will be the Aurion's first target, and if it can eclipse
380 sales, then the Ford Falcon will come next. However, the Falcon has
a huge history in Australia and may a tough nut to crack, as will be
the case with the all-new VE Commodore. But Toyota has put a very
tempting vehicle up for sale, and when it hits showrooms in November,
we'll get a better idea of its initial take-up rate.
Toyota is so
positive of the Aurion's success, it believes the vehicle will
play a key role in "reinvigorating" the Australian large-car market,
according to David Buttner. "It is a serious contender - a modern
alternative that will also take sales from the traditional large
6-cylinder models," said the head of marketing and sales for Toyota
The large-car segment peaked at 211,791 sales in
2003, but its share of the total market has been in long-term decline
since, which is linked primarily to rising fuel prices. "In 1996 ...
large cars made up 43.4 per cent of those [passenger car] sales," Mr
Buttner said, "But, by 2005 ... large cars were just 27.5 per cent...".
of the reasons the large car segment has dipped in the last decade is
the rising price of petroleum. The bigger your engine and the heavier
your car, the more it needs to work, and hence the petrol consumption
will rise, and this is one of the areas that the Aurion hopes to claw
back some market share from the Commodore and Falcon models. As the
tabular data highlights, the Toyota Aurion is now the class leader,
followed by Falcon and then Commodore:
Holden V6 Commodore
Ford L6 Falcon
Mitsubishi 380 V6
Toyota Aurion V6
Buttner says that the Aurion will be an ideal solution for many
one-time large car buyers who may have opted for a smaller model in
recent years, and who may be tempted back to the large car fold with
this new Toyota: "They're looking for a solution - and we've developed
the Aurion to deliver to their needs."
The new Toyota Aurion is
manufactured at Toyota's Altona plant, alongside the 4-cylinder Camry
models, both of which will sold to international markets as well as in
- Toyota Aurion Revealed
- Toyota Aurion & Camry: Factory Partners