1 Apr 2012
The second-generation, Australian-built Toyota Aurion sedan expanded on the original's formula, differentiating itself from locally-built rivals by majoring on “attainable luxury”, build quality and interior quietness.
Australian designers and engineers played a large role in redeveloping the Aurion, helping devise the lighter, stiffer body structure, tuning the suspension for local road conditions, penning the tail-light clusters and unique bodykit for Sportivo variants.
The Australian team was also responsible for developing the Aurion to cope with climate and road conditions for global markets including Thailand, Russia and China.
Standard equipment firsts included a driver’s knee bag – bringing the airbag count to seven – 60/40 split-fold rear seats and an indicator that informed drivers when driving economically.
A more spacious interior with more head and legroom for rear occupants and larger, more supportive seats helped Toyota achieve its aim of better meeting the requirements of buyers, who it says “do not see the need to enter the market above the luxury car tax threshold, but who still want distinctive luxury features”.
The steering column got an extra 10mm of adjustment in both height and reach and the front seats were 30mm taller for improved back support, with 20mm more thigh support, and offered up to 60mm of height adjustment.
Standard across the five-variant Aurion line-up were seatbelt reminders for all five seats, electronic stability control plus a brake override feature that prioritised the brakes and reduces throttle input if both pedals are pressed at once, reducing the chance of unintended acceleration.
It all added up to a five-star ANCAP safety rating, and the crash-test authority hailed the Aurion as a "benchmark" product.
Interior features across the range included standard dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning, audio system with colour display, USB and iPod connectivity, a reversing camera, electric driver’s seat adjustment with lumbar support, and instrument panel-mounted multi-function display.
Next up from the base AT-X variant, the Prodigy added an upgraded four-spoke steering wheel, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery with upgraded door trims, automatic wipers, self-dimming interior mirror, electric rear sun blind, driver’s seat and exterior mirror memory, and electric adjustment for the front passenger seat.
The top-spec Presara gained a JBL premium audio system with digital radio, satellite-navigation with seven-inch screen and SUNA traffic updates, proximity display for the parking sensors, adaptive HID headlights with automatic high beam, blind-spot monitoring, woodgrain-effect interior trim and a sunroof.
Sportivo models were fitted with sports suspension, 17-inch alloys, a body kit (including unique front and rear bumpers, a rear spoiler and diffuser), front fog lights, standard metallic or mica paint, three-spoke sports steering wheel (with paddle-shifters for the auto transmission), sports seats and keyless entry and start.
The upper-spec Sportivo ZR6 moved upmarket, with a $4500 price rise to match, and gained much of the luxurious Presara's equipment in a sportier package.
All Aurion variants came with the same 200kW/336Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine as before, but which consumed 6.1 per cent less fuel than before at 9.3 litres per 100 kilometres and emitted 7.7 per cent less CO2, down to 215 grams per kilometre.
Toyota achieved the eco improvements by cutting 55kg over the old model, adding lower-rolling-resistance tyres and reducing internal engine friction by changing the oil viscosity.
In addition to fuel saving benefits, the adoption of electric power steering – mounted to the steering column to improve feel – enabled Toyota to reduce parking steering effort while providing a heavier, more direct feel when travelling at speed.
When it was new