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by Tim Beissmann

Earlier this week we brought you images of what we believed to be the revised 2012 Toyota Hybrid Camry, but we can now officially reveal that what you are looking at is the new 2012 Toyota Aurion.

The images reveal a hybrid version of the Aurion, which is sold as a premium Camry in Japan and a number of other Asian countries.

Toyota Australia’s Elise Rennie confirmed the vehicle in the images, from Holiday Auto magazine via Brazilian website Noticias Automotivas, were an accurate representation of the facelifted Aurion, which will be built in Australia from early next year.

“Our Aurion will look very similar to that [car in the images].” Ms Rennie said

“There will be a few slight changes for Australia, as there always is from country to country.”

As the Aurion in the images is a hybrid model, our Aurion will lose Toyota’s traditional hybrid design elements, including the blue badging, unique grille and gaping lower air intake.

Ms Rennie said the 2012 Toyota Aurion would go on sale in Australia late in the first quarter of 2012 (around March).

It will follow the new 2012 Toyota Camry, which is due in the last quarter of this year, and the 2012 Toyota Hybrid Camry, which will hit showrooms earlier in the first quarter of next year.

The Aurion will not be sold as a hybrid in Australia and will continue to be offered with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine. Toyota Australia is yet to confirm whether there will be an improvement to its 200kW/336Nm output, but we expect an improvement to its current 9.9 litres/100km combined cycle fuel consumption rating.

At 4825mm long, 1825mm wide, 1470mm tall and with a 2775mm wheelbase, the new Aurion is expected to be just 5mm wider than the outgoing model, and identical in all other exterior dimensions. Rear legroom will reportedly grow by 46mm.

The interior design will be refreshed with a new dashboard layout, bolder fascia inserts and a remodelled steering wheel.

The exterior styling of the Aurion will be more conservative than the 2012 Camry, which will get more aggressive angular headlights and a broad grille.

Toyota Australia will hope the revisions to the Aurion can help its struggling large car in the showroom.

Disappointing sales of the Ford Falcon in 2011 have drawn attention away from the Aurion, but the big Toyota’s sales haven’t exactly set the world on fire so far this year either.

Toyota Australia sold 4273 in the first half of 2011, down 30 per cent (or 1829 units) compared with the same period in 2010. Its share of the large segment has fallen from 12.5 per cent to 11.6 per cent this year.

Those levels are a long way off the Aurion’s best sales performances. In 2007 (its first full year on sale in Australia), Toyota sold 22,036 for the year, and in 2008, it increased its share of the large car segment to 17.1 per cent.

What do you think of the 2012 Toyota Aurion? Has Toyota done enough with the design, or is it a little too conservative? Let us know in the comments section below.




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