Holden Commodore 2012 review
A big V8 Commodore Sportwagon, an SS V no less, can arrive or depart as noisily as the driver dare...
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Toyota’s all-new Camry and Camry Hybrid are both selling well thanks to being more stylish than the previous models. Now there’s another choice in the range. Though Toyota Australia likes to market this car as the ‘Aurion’ it’s simply a Camry with a V6 engine and slightly different model variants.
If you like the thought of owning a Camry but would love to have the grunt of a 3.5-litre V6 under the bonnet then the latest Aurion should figure high on your short list. It’s a brilliant twin-cam engine, with 200 kW of silky smoothness that puts the sixes of Ford and Holden to shame in the refinement stakes.
Official fuel consumption has been improved to 9.3 litres per hundred kilometres from the 9.9 litres of the superseded Aurion thanks to clever work on the engine, transmission and body. All-new Aurion has dropped 55 kilograms of weight when compared to its immediate predecessor thanks to the use of high-tensile steel. The latter also figuring in the crash safety stakes.
Typically we found ‘our’ Toyota Aurion using seven to eight litres per hundred kilometres during motorway and country running. It was unusual for the consumption to go much over 10 litres per hundred even in heavy traffic.
Aurion has a six-speed automatic transmission with the Sportivo we tested having paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
With the addition of a driver's knee airbag there are now seven airbags for peace of mind. Aurion had achieved a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
The Aurion now has a 60/40 split rear seat that increases the handiness of the already large 515-litre boot. Buttons in the boot release the seats which can then be pushed down almost flat. The boot also houses a full-size matching alloy spare wheel.
There are five Aurion model variants: luxury Presara and Prodigy, sporty Sportivo SX6 and ZR6 and entry-level AT-X. Presara and Prodigy have a chrome grille with horizontal bars as well as chrome adorning the boot. The Sportivo models get a slightly smaller grille done in a sporting egg crate style that’s finished in black.
There are also differences inside the cabin: stitched leather seats and upholstery and woodgrain finishes adorn the Presara and Prodigy, while the Sportivo gets contrasting colour sports seats with added lateral support for firmer cornering.
Aurion's external dimensions have grown a fraction in width and length and there's now more rear seat knee and leg room. The back seat is not quite limousine size, but passengers will not complain about legroom.
The interior feels lighter, brighter and larger with Toyota’s relatively narrow A and B pillars. The latter not only give the car a more spacious feel but also add to its safety.
Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) have been improved through a large number of design improvements. Aurion has what is essentially a double glazed windscreen. Wind flow under the bonnet and the front mudguards has been deflected to reduce noise and new sound-deadening carpets have been added. Double seals have been added to the door glass. The result is a cabin that is whisper quiet even on some of the harsh road surfaces.
Toyota conducted extensive testing in Australia and the suspension has been tuned to local conditions.
We found the ride and handling to be comfortable with little body roll and just a hint of safe understeer on sharp corners at enthusiastic speeds. The car points well with a new, stiffer suspension and more rigid body. There's also a new electric power steering unit similar to that in the Lexus RX series.
Aurion is USB and iPod ready, has Bluetooth and audio streaming with the Sportivo ZR6 we tested having premium digital radios.
Toyota Aurion is well priced to compete with the equivalent models from Ford and Holden and we anticipate a keen battle for sales between the three big boys. Jump in and grab the best deal you can squeeze out of them.
Toyota also provides five routine services at a fixed price of $130 each for the first four years or 75,000 kilometres, something that’s certainly worth factoring into your buying calculations.
AT-X 3.5-litre four-door sedan: $36,490 (automatic)
Prodigo 3.5-litre four-door sedan: $41,490 (automatic)
Sportivo SX6 3.5-litre four-door sedan: $40,990 (automatic)
Sportivo ZR6 3.5-litre four-door sedan: $47,990 (automatic)
Presara 3.5-litre four-door sedan: $49,490 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices
|AT-X||3.5L, ULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$6,000 – 9,240||2012 Toyota Aurion 2012 AT-X Pricing and Specs|
|Presara||3.5L, ULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$10,000 – 15,070||2012 Toyota Aurion 2012 Presara Pricing and Specs|
|Prodigy||3.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$8,000 – 12,430||2012 Toyota Aurion 2012 Prodigy Pricing and Specs|
|Sportivo SX6||3.5L, ULP, 6 SP SEQ AUTO||$6,700 – 10,340||2012 Toyota Aurion 2012 Sportivo SX6 Pricing and Specs|
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