Sayonara Aurion

Toyota’s Aussie gamble will end with Altona shutdown in 2017


THE closure of Toyota’s Australian manufacturing facilities in late 2017 spells the end of the uniqueto- Australia Aurion nameplate.

Created in 2007 to topple the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon dominance of the local six-cylinder market, the Aurion took the V6 Camry and gave it a new nose and tail for the indigenous moniker.

Toyota insiders have told Wheels that the nameplate will be dumped as Australia reverts to the same Camry V6 as the rest of the globe once local production winds up in 2017.

Yet the Aurion is gearing up for a swansong with a mid-year facelift to coincide with the p ion biggest ever mid-life update to its Camry stablemate.

The Aurion’s final act won’t carry the new sheetmetal that transforms the look of Toyota’s best-selling sedan (third overall), instead getting a minor design tweak to grilles and bumpers.

Toyota will continue with two distinct Aurion looks – the more formal luxury aesthetic and the more aggressive Sportivo versions.

The chrome-clad base and luxury grades will be given revised bumpers and a new chrome grille with bolder horizontal bars.

But it’s the Sportivos that will get the bulk of the visual changes.

New bumpers front and rear will make the faux air vents look more integrated and give the Aurion a more cohesive look.

Inside, too, the visual changes will be minor, but Toyota will inject more tech into the Aurion.

Digital radio will flow through to all models, joining the Falcon as the only large cars with DAB.

There’s also driver assistance safety technology to build on the blind-spot monitor and lane-departure warning systems already offered.

Under the skin, the Aurion’s familiar 200kW/336Nm 3.5-litre V6 will carry on unchanged, as it has since 2007, though there will suspension tweaks.

Six and out

TOYOTA six-cylinder sedans have never taken off in Australia, although some have had a loyal following.

The last of the rear-drivers, the Cressida (pictured below), is still missed and loved by many. The Lexcen – a rebadged version of the VN-VR Commodore – was as forgetful as the McRib burger and New Coke. Then there was the Avalon, a crudely styled Camry that missed the mark, yet it became the forerunner to the more accomplished Aurion.