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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Toyota Aurion: In Depth (AU)

Aurion has two Sportivo models

Toyota's new Aurion range has two sports models - both with locally inspired suspension calibration, sports front seats, 17-inch alloy wheels with Michelin tyres, body kit and large rear wing spoiler fitted as standard equipment. Aurion Sportivo SX6 and ZR6 have a full body kit, consisting of front bumper/spoiler, side skirts, rear skirt and rear-wing spoiler. Sportivo's suspension tuning is designed for optimum handling while maintaining ride quality.

The unique chassis package includes 17-inch alloy wheels with premium Michelin tyres, additional underbody bracing and additional underbody aerodynamic features. Sportivo's rear dampers have TMC-developed rebound springs inside to optimise body control, along with a solid rear stabiliser bar.

Both Sportivo models have Optitron instruments, sports front seats, front and rear 'Sportivo' logo alloy-look scuff plates, alloy-look pedals, three-spoke leather-bound steering wheel, black interior trim and an alloy spare wheel. ZR6's higher feature levels, over SR6, include leather seat trim, dual-zone air conditioning, smart entry and smart start, and front clearance and rear parking sonars.

Chassis tuned for Australian conditions

Toyota Aurion's sure-footed chassis dynamics are based on the new vehicle's high body rigidity, low centre of gravity and large footprint on the road in relation to its overall dimensions. Aurion also has anti-vibration sub-frames front and rear. The new body includes a reinforcing cowl front panel to increase rigidity across the front suspension towers and a large V-shaped rear brace behind the rear seat, linking the rear suspension towers and the floor.

Aurion has the highest body rigidity ever achieved in a built-in-Australia Toyota model. Aurion's high body rigidity provides a stable platform for the suspension, in addition to its passive safety, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and vehicle durability benefits.

Aurion has a coil-over suspension package with MacPherson struts all round and wide-based L-shaped lower arms at the front and dual transverse links at the rear. Aurion's suspension has a range of advanced features, including multi-leaf type linear control piston valves in the dampers and a visco-elastic oil seal at the top of the damper body. The multi-leaf linear control valves enable the damper to generate more linear responses than correctional changes, thereby improving body control, road holding and steering feel.

Aurion has sealed, low-pressure gas-filled dampers front and rear. The nitrogen gas in the dampers minimises cavitation of the damper fluid.

In addition, Aurion has Nachlauf steering geometry, which means the kingpin axis is located ahead of the axle centre - to optimise straight-line stability and steering feel. Aurion Sportivo SX6 and ZR6 have the additional feature of in-built rebound springs in their rear damper units, to provide a flatter ride during cornering.

The rebound spring restrains elongation of the entire suspension unit during rebound, eliminating harsh top-out. In normal driving, when the suspension stroke is small, it is controlled by the main coil spring to provide a comfortable ride. However, during cornering, the inner wheels are subject to more rebound - so the rebound coil spring and the main coil spring combine to reduce elongation and improve manoeuvrability and stability.

Chassis aimed at driving enthusiast

Toyota Australia has adopted a suspension calibration for the new Aurion Sportivo different to that used on the other Aurion models. Designed to suit the tastes of driving enthusiasts, the suspension calibration takes advantage of the inherent stability of Aurion's high body rigidity and large footprint on the road. Aurion Sportivo ZR6 and SX6 are differentiated from AT-X, Prodigy and Presara models by their additional body bracing and underbody aerodynamics, as well as unique suspension hardware. All Aurion models have a substantial V-shaped rear brace behind the rear seat - linking the rear strut towers and the floor. Aurion Sportivo has the additional feature of underbody stabilising braces at the rear, ensuring rigidity.

Aurion Sportivo's additional aerodynamic parts include the rear-floor undercover - which creates more downforce on the rear section of the vehicle, hence reducing the likelihood of oversteer - and a fuel tank undercover which helps speed up air flow as it moves from the front underbody section towards the rear floor cover. It has unique spring, damper and rear stabiliser bar settings, as well as 17-inch wheels and Michelin sports tyres. The Sportivo rear dampers have the added feature of internal rebound springs, which increase body control and therefore create a flat ride posture during cornering.

Smart entry and smart start

Toyota's new Aurion Presara and Sportivo ZR6 are the first Australian-built Toyota models with Smart Entry and Smart Start. The Smart Entry and Start System means the driver can lock or unlock doors and start the engine by simply carrying the key and pressing the 'start' button.

Three antennae on the vehicle exterior, two in the interior and one in the boot provide actuation areas for the system of approximately 0.7 to 1.0 metre in radius. When the key receives a signal from one of the antennae, it responds with the ID code for the vehicle.

Vehicle unlock simply requires carrying the key within range of an outside front door handle and touching the inner surface of the door handle. Locking the vehicle involves pressing the external lock switch on the driver or front passenger's door while the key is within activation range. The vehicle can also be unlocked or locked by pressing the unlock/lock buttons on the smart key. Similarly, pressing the boot open switch while the key is within range of the boot antenna will open the boot.

Smart Start provides push-button engine start and stop. It operates when the key is within range of the internal antennae. The vehicle can also be started by pressing the smart key's Toyota logo near the smart start button, even if the smart key battery is low. The engine will only start when transmission is in park or neutral and the brake pedal is depressed.

Priced to attract fleet and private buyers

Outstanding value for money will be a strong plus for the new Aurion V6 sedan when potential customers compare it against major rivals. Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said Aurion's unique combination of sharp pricing and high equipment levels made a compelling case for both private and fleet customers. "We have equipped and priced the entire Aurion line-up to offer what we consider better value than the leading competitors in the large-six segment," Mr Buttner said.

Aurion starts at just $34,990 RRP* for the AT-X - which includes a powerful 200kW V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, excellent fuel economy, front, side and curtain airbags and Euro IV emissions compliance. It also comes standard with ABS with Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, air conditioning, cruise control, twin exhausts, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat and a full-size spare wheel.

"A similarly strong value proposition attaches to the other four models in the Aurion range - Prodigy, Presara and the two Sportivo models SX6 and ZR6," Mr Buttner said. "We believe Aurion's features and pricing represent outstanding value for money in the competitive large-car segment. It is a clear message about just how seriously we regard the growth potential in what has traditionally been the biggest segment of the market."

Prodigy, with an RRP* of $39,500, gains dual-zone air conditioning, leather trim, leather steering wheel and gearshift knob, front foglamps, 16-inch alloys, six-disc in-dash CD player, power-operated front passenger seat, trip computer, woodgrain trim and front and rear parking sonars.

The luxury Presara is priced at $49,990 RRP*. It is the technology bearer with a reverse camera, smart entry/start, 17-inch alloys with Michelin tyres, self-levelling high-intensity discharge headlamps with the ability to light around corners, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers, driver-seat memory, Satellite Navigation with Bluetooth®, a moonroof and rear power sunshade. Presara is also fitted with Toyota Link** - the system that provides assistance at the push of a button and can track down your car if it is stolen.

Mr Buttner said the two Sportivo models, SX6 and ZR6, were important models in a market where people demanded a sporty ride and family car in one vehicle.

In addition to the Aurion AT-X standard features, SX6 gains sports suspension, 17-inch alloys with Michelin tyres, aero kit including rear spoiler, sports seats, front foglamps, unique headlamps and tail-lamps and a six-disc in-dash CD player - all for $38,500 RRP*. The ZR6, priced at $42,500 RRP*, has all the features of the SX6 plus dual-zone air conditioning, smart entry/start, front and rear parking sonars and leather trim. Mr Buttner said Aurion's compelling value equation would gain sales among both fleet and private buyers.

"We understand the challenge for Toyota as sales in the large-six segment are traditionally around 80 per cent fleet and 20 per cent private," he said. "Our plan is to capture a mix of 65 per cent mix fleet and 35 per cent retail. Aurion's price and feature advantages, along with Toyota's reputation for world-class quality and high resale value, give us confidence. We expect Aurion's whole-of-life costs will be a telling factor with both fleet and private consumers."

Aurion pricing

Aurion model




Sportivo SX6




Sportivo ZR6




Aurion options:

  • Metallic paint (AT-X, Prodigy, SX6) - $300 extra
  • Moonroof (Prodigy, SX6, ZR6) - $1650 extra
  • 16-inch alloy wheels (AT-X) - $650 extra
  • 16-inch alloy wheels and rear spoiler (AT-X) - $1150 extra
  • Moonroof and satellite navigation (ZR6) - $4850 extra

*Recommended retail price, unless otherwise stated, excludes dealer delivery and statutory charges.
**Toyota Link services will not be available when your vehicle is outside GSM mobile phone operating range and are dependent on the availability of GPS location information. Please refer to or your Toyota dealer for full details of Toyota Link limitations.

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Related entries:

Toyota TRD Aurion and HiLux at Melbourne
Toyota Aurion Sports Concept Unveiled (AU)
Toyota Aurion V6 Joins Police (AU)


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