Whilst the 2006 best car of the year awards held by drive and carsguide gave their top award to the Audi TT and the Holden VE Calais respectively (albeit drive gave the best large car award to Aurion as well), perhaps a more impartial award from Australia's influential auto clubs have crowned Toyota's new Aurion V6 the best large car in Australia.
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The judges of the 2006 Australia's Best Cars awards have rated the Toyota Aurion AT-X ahead of rivals including the Holden Commodore Omega, Ford Falcon XT and Mitsubishi 380 ES. They said Aurion rated highest or equal highest in its class for safety, the environment, performance, ergonomics, build and finish quality, smoothness and comfort, ride and braking.

Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said the Best Cars Australia award for Aurion was important because of the auto clubs' strong influence with consumers.

"The auto clubs are telling Australian motorists that Aurion is the best choice in the market if they're looking for a large car," Mr Buttner said."The ability to develop and produce the award-winning Aurion shows that Toyota has truly come of age in Australia."

Best Cars Australia chief judge Ernest Litera praised Aurion's high-tech 200kW 3.5-litre engine, six-speed automatic transmission and extensive safety equipment.

"It's a terrific well-rounded package of technology and refinement," Mr Litera said."This big Toyota handles capably and predictably, even on gravel roads. It offers nicely weighted steering, high grip levels and benign balance. Overall, it is well rounded, quiet and suitably ocker in personality."

Mr Litera also said Toyota had not adopted "cynical marketing measures" to withhold key features from the car's standard equipment list.

"Entry-model buyers especially will benefit from life-saving technology such as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and six airbags," he said.

So if your wondering why I think the Australia's Best Cars awards are worth more than Drive and CarsGuide (or even our own car of the year award if we had one) then let me explain. These awards are decided by judges from the auto clubs

  • NRMA,
  • RACV,
  • RACQ,
  • RAA,
  • RACWA,
  • RACT
  • and AANT -

who represent almost seven million members across Australia.
Mr Buttner said the award would be shared by everyone at Toyota including staff at the Altona manufacturing plant in Melbourne, designers and engineers and the dealer network.

"Aurion, which has been on sale for just over a month, will contribute to Toyota's all-time sales record this year of at least 210,000 vehicles - the highest by any company," Mr Buttner said."Toyota is well-placed to win the triple crown in 2006 - overall market leadership and number one in both car sales and commercial-vehicle sales."If that happens, it will be the first time Toyota has achieved the trifecta - and the first time in close to 30 years that any other company has done it," he said.