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Toyota Avalon not as good as our Aurion

Toyota’s new large, front-drive sedan is not for Australians, and that's a good thing.

Toyota USA took the wraps off the 2013 Toyota Avalon at this week’s New York Auto Show. Toyota USA spokesman Bob Carter said the new Avalon is more refined, more spacious, more technically advanced and more dynamically competent than the seven-year old model it replaces.

But, before Toyota-philes get too excited, we should tell you up front that the fourth-generation Avalon will not come to Australia. Even though Toyota did build the (second-gen) Avalon in Port Melbourne from 2000 to 2006, Toyota Australia abandoned the Avalon program to develop the Aurion large sedan off the Camry platform.

But still, we thought you’d like a look at the Avalon we ‘could’ have had, although any suggestion we’d be better off with this one is a long bow to draw, especially in light of the Avalon’s struggles in the USA. Sales of the third generation model which this one replaces have dropped from a first year high of 95,318 in 2005 to just 28,925 in 2011.

By comparison Toyota Australia sold 9,815 Aurions locally in 2011. That’s just one-third the volume in a market one-fifteenth the size of America. It’s some consolation to Toyota USA that they have the best selling passenger car in the country in Camry, which sits in second overall behind the Ford F-Series utility truck. Where Avalon does 28,000 a year, Camry does around 42,000 a month.

The American Avalon and Australian Aurion siblings may be similar insofar as they both are large front-drive sedans with the same 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine up front, but the American car is significantly larger overall — some 14cm longer and 2cm wider, thought it roofline sits 1cm lower — and therefore heavier.

Last time I sat in an Aurion, I’m pretty sure it had loads of legroom. So, anyone who wants 14cm more is just being greedy. So, now you know. Ours is better than theirs.