Been driving with my Toyota Aurion Sportivo ZR6 for almost a year and a half now. While this may not be an adequate time to judge reliability – does one ever need to worry about the reliability of a Toyota?
On paper, the Aurion is a 3.5L V6 that provides a peak torque of 336Nm at 4700rpm and 200Kw of peak power at 6200rpm all to the front wheels. This engine is the same as that of the Kluger and RAV 4 which demonstrates how much power one will be expecting during a drive.
Before stepping into the car, let’s have a look at the outside. This generation of Aurion first came out in 2012 and was based on the Camry frame that was released at a similar time. It does have many panels and edges in common with the Camry – mostly the sides. The Sportivo ZR6 package like the SX6 package comes with an added body kit on the front and the back as well as a wing on the boot lid. Suspension has also been revised from the normal Aurion. While not all people may agree, I thought it was one of the best looking sedans to date. It may not give it that classy feel that the Aurion badge aims for, but I think it gives it a really sporty look, reminiscent of JDM “Ricer” cars like the Honda Civic and Subaru WRX. The ZR6 also comes packed full of features that I will discuss later.
Inside, the Aurion has 2 toned leather seats which I thought looked neat while giving it that sharp feel. The interior is “very Camry” to quote Alborz. While this resemblance to the Camry may cheapen the deal to some, I personally thought that the interior was very neat, comfortable and practical. There was plenty of space in the front and back seats for 4 fully grown adults. The car is packed with tech – automatic wipers, Bluetooth audio, Sat Nav, blind spot monitor, forward and read sensors, rear sunshade, automatically darkening rear view mirror, headlights that turn, keyless entry, keyless start and the list goes on from there. Sat Nav is not google maps or anything, but it will get you from point A to B ok. The forward and rear sensors are only on the 4 corners of the car. It would be better if they were on the middle-front and middle-back too though. AUX and USB are also supported with one socket for each. Both work well. Boot is very spacious too. The speedometer dial, while also borrowed from the Camry, was not bad looking with a fresh looking cyan needle and Optitron display. While this is clearly no Lexus GS350, there’s that feel of quality and refinement inside the cabin that feels very Lexus…well at least as Lexus as one can get for 40K.
Now for the bit all readers are probably waiting for – the drive. Many reader/drivers would fault the Aurion on the fact that it is FWD. I however am of the opinion that FWD is simply different and needs to be driven differently to RWD or AWD. I believe that FWD can be just as fun to drive. I will admit that AWD and RWD cars will be usually faster round corners, but how many of us actually care about and can afford racing?
The first time I drove the Aurion, I was both impressed and surprised at how much power there is in the lower revs. The front wheels will slip if one plants their foot on the ground when the lights go green. Toyota claims a 0-100 in 6.1 seconds , it’s no supercar, but it’s plenty fast for all your daily needs and you can brag to your friends who bought more expensive cars that are not necessarily faster or loaded with as much gear. The car is quiet and refined on the road and on highways. Gear changes are quick, smart and smooth. I have a combined fuel rating of 9.3L/100km, equal to what Toyota claims. This is not the greatest, but keep in mind that many cars with as many features as this would cost much more, offsetting the money saved on petrol.
Going on a spirited drive on some windy mountain roads that shall remain unnamed is one of my favourite ways to test out a vehicle’s dynamics. When a higher rev range is reached, the once well behaved engine becomes a bit more aggressive, but not intrusively so. There was plenty of power from the engine to use and going up the mountain was just as easy as going down. The Aurion is planted well when the going gets tough and strung together various corners effortlessly. Wheels were reasonably grippy and I had to step on the gas quite hard on corners to get any squeal. Steering is electrically assisted and takes a bit of getting used to. Once I got used to it, it became very intuitive and I could get good feedback from the car. If paddles on the steering wheel are your thing, the Aurion has those. I however usually find the need to personally select gears unnecessary. Again, this is no GS350 (which has a similar engine and size), but it is fun in its own way. Given that the car was FWD, I would say that Toyota has done an excellent job. Overall, I wouldn’t say it is a sports car, but it does live up to its sporty theme that the kit and wing were aiming for.
Servicing is required once a year. Toyota is great and servicing is reasonably priced.
I got mine brand new for 40K including on road costs which I think was a great deal given the features, interior, looks and performance. The Sportivo models came in a colour called “reflex blue” which was the colour that I got as I thought it added to the sporty theme that the car was going for.
A newer generation of Aurion Sportivo has been released, looking quite similar to this one (the kit has been removed). I personally think that the value equation of the new Aurion is nowhere near as good as the 2014 one. Many features such as the blind spot monitor have been taken out. I do like the black wheels on the new Sportivo though.