A star is torn

With de­mand for big cars in de­cline, do we re­ally need an­other V6? Toy­ota thinks so

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

TECH­NOL­OGY

The vari­abl­e­valve quad-cam V6 has un­changed out­puts of 200kw/336nm (on 91RON fuel) — but fuel con­sump­tion has been re­duced by 6 per cent to 9.3 litres/100km and emis­sions have dropped by al­most 8 per cent to 215g/km.

That’s thanks in part to shed­ding 55kg in weight, but more so thanks to the smarter six-speed au­to­matic and changes to the en­gine in­ter­nals for re­duced fric­tion and the in­take sys­tem.

The Au­rion also uses a new col­umn-mounted elec­tric power steer­ing sys­tem that— along with the sus­pen­sion and sev­eral of the car’s elec­tronic sys­tems— has been tuned by lo­cal Toy­ota en­gi­neer­ing staff to bet­ter suit lo­cal tastes.

DE­SIGN

Not the most ad­ven­tur­ous part of Toy­ota’s reg­i­men, but the new Au­rion is not unattrac­tive — how­ever, it’s no pin-up.

That said, it’s not of­fen­sive ei­ther and hides its di­men­sions — the car doesn’t take up a great deal more road­space but in­te­rior room has been im­proved by bet­ter de­sign fea­tures, scrimp­ing a few mil­lime­tres more head and knee room in the rear. In con­trast to

most new mod­els, Toy­ota has slimmed down the A and B pil­lars, the for­mer be­ing of great value in terms of driver vi­sion. The boot — ex­pand­able by split­fold rear seat back­rests— can swal­low 515 litres of cargo, pip­ping the Ford and Holden.

SAFETY

The Au­rion last won a five-star crash rank­ing from ANCAP. Among the bat­tery of elec­tronic func­tions is re­vers­ing cam­era, auto-dip­ping high­beam (on the up­per mod­els) and a brake-over­ride func­tion that pri­ori­tises the stop­ping sys­tem should brake and ac­cel­er­a­tor ped­als be pressed si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

DRIV­ING

Toy­ota pushes the emo­tional as­pects of the prod­uct.

It’s a tough sell be­cause the styling is unin­spir­ing, although that won’t bother those who must have a V6.

What the ask­ing price gets is a well-equipped, com­fort­able and ca­pa­ble sedan. While the en­gine is un­changed, the clever au­to­matic makes good use of the out­puts. The power de­liv­ery is smooth and lin­ear, but above all else is very quiet — Lexus-like in its level of noise sup­pres­sion— with only wind noise preva­lent at cruis­ing speeds. And plenty of punch on of­fer for over­tak­ing and a bet­ter feel for the road; it sits solidly with no com­pro­mise in ride qual­ity. It’s matched by com­po­sure when be­ing pushed, the elec­tric power steer­ing of­fer­ing rea­son­able weight and as­sis­tance.

The not so unattrac­tive Au­rion Sportivo ZR6 (top), Pre­sara (above), and the SX6 (be­low right)

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