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by Tim Beissmann

The 2012 Toyota Aurion is now on sale in Australia, joining the recently launched Camry and Camry Hybrid to complete the introduction of Toyota’s upgraded range of locally made medium-large sedans.

The price of some models in the new five-variant range is unchanged, while others have increased between $500 and $3500. The entry-level AT-X is now priced from $36,490, while the flagship Presara retains its $49,990 price tag.

The new second-generation Toyota Aurion carries over the 3.5-litre V6 engine from the old model, and continues to produce 200kW of power (at 6200rpm) and 336Nm of torque (at 4700rpm). Despite this, fuel efficiency has improved 6.1 per cent to 9.3 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions are down 7.7 per cent to 215 grams per kilometre.

Toyota Australia says the efficiency gains have been achieved by paying special attention to engine friction and the gearing of the six-speed automatic transmission.

At 4.8m long and up to 1555kg, the new Aurion is slightly larger and lighter than the model it replaces. Rear knee space and foot room has grown 46-50mm, while Toyota says interior quality and quietness have also improved significantly over the previous model.

Toyota also says the car’s ride and handling characteristics have improved in all areas as a result of extensive local development and testing.

All models are equipped with seven airbags (dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee), electronic stability control, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, alloy wheels, 60/40 split-fold rear seats, USB input with iPod connectivity, power driver’s seat with lumbar support and dual exhausts.

The mid-spec Prodigy adds a four-spoke steering wheel, leather upholstery, electrochromatic rear-view mirror, electric rear sunshade, driver’s seat memory, power passenger seat, smart entry and smart start, as well as 17-inch alloys, rain-sensing wipers, front fog lights, front and rear clearance sonar, chrome door handles and free metallic paint.

The range-topping Presara scores a JBL premium audio system with seven-inch display, satellite navigation with live traffic updates, back-guide monitor, digital radio, adaptive front lighting system (AFS) with HID headlamps and auto high beam, blind spot monitor, sunroof and wood-grain trim.

The SX6 and ZR6 models continue as the sports options in the Aurion line-up. Over the AT-X, the SX6 adds 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, front and rear sports bumpers, rear diffuser, front fog lights and metallic paint on the outside, along with paddle shifters, sports pedals, three-spoke steering wheel, sports seats and smart entry and smart start on the inside.

The ZR6 sports flagship scores auto high beam, rain-sensing wipers, HID headlamps with AFS, blind spot monitor, front and rear sonar, sports leather interior, driver’s seat memory, JBL audio system digital radio, sat nav with live updates and back-guide monitor.

Toyota Australia has set its sights on taking a 15 per cent share of the large-car segment with the new Aurion. Last year the local manufacturer sold 8915 Aurions across Australia (down from 11,764 in 2010), giving it a 12.2 per cent share of the market behind the Holden Commodore (40,617 sales, 55.4 per cent share) and the Ford Falcon (18,741 sales, 25.6 per cent share).

Read: Toyota Aurion Review.

2012 Toyota Aurion manufacturer’s list prices (excluding government and dealer charges):

  • AT-X – $36,490 (+$500)
  • Prodigy – $41,490 (unchanged)
  • Sportivo SX6 – $40,990 (+$500)
  • Sportivo ZR6 – $47,990 (+$3500)
  • Presara – $49,990 (unchanged)