The local large car landscape is dominated by Holden and Ford, but Toyota’s V6 Aurion has proved a far more worthy and successful competitor than its predecessor, Avalon.
To see it as ‘only a V6 Camry’ is far too dismissive given its virtues.
In fact, Aurion has been good enough to grab multiple class wins in Australia’s Best Cars and it’s got plenty to offer used buyers. All models include six airbags, vehicle stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist as standard. In ANCAP crash tests it rates four stars until August 2009 when intelligent seatbelt reminders for the front passenger also were added, delivering a five-star result.
The model range includes the base AT-X, two sporty variants -the Sportivo SX6 and better equipped Sportivo ZR6, Prodigy and the ritzy Presara. A 3.5-litre V6 producing 200kW and 336Nm and mated to a six-speed auto driving the front wheels is the only powertrain (TRD models excluded).
With healthy outputs and its Lexus heritage, the sophisticated V6 churns out strong and refined performance, albeit with more revs on board than the lazy low-speed muscle of other local sixes. The auto’s shifts are creamy and decisive.
Aurion rides and handles well with little to betray its front drive layout other than some tug on the steering on harder launches. Interior layout is user friendly and spacious too. The foot operated park brake and a ski port only are annoyances.
Cars in this class are often chosen for towing duty, but Aurion will be found wanting in this regard compared to its Ford and Holden rivals.
Aurion is well built with little to blot its reliability records, however a professional pre-purchase inspection is still recommended. Avoid cars that haven’t been serviced as scheduled. Dash creaks and rattles have been reported by a number of owners. Steering intermediate shafts can produce a slight knocking noise from the splines – we believe there’s a revised part to cure this. Cars driven hard are likely to suffer short tyre life.
Aurion will use between 7.6 litres and 14.2 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
Buying Price Range
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to CD's online car price guide or our Car review Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.
Mitsubishi 380 2005 – 2008
Much under-rated large car, front wheel drive, smooth strong performing 3.8-litre V6, five-speed auto or manual. Sound reliability. Lower resales than rivals means potential bargain used buys.
Ford Falcon 2005 – 2010
Year range spans BF series and from 2008 current FG series. Rear wheel drive, effortless performance from 4.0-litre straight six, FG models get five star ANCAP rating, superior towing to Aurion.
Holden Commodore VE 2006 - 2010
Perennially popular local. Good dynamics, rear drive, standard stability control, 3.6 or 3.0- litre V6 depending on year/model. Omega base models get lower output engine compared to mid and high spec cars. Lacks powertrain refinement of Aurion. Four, five and six speed autos or six-speed manual, model and year dependent.