The TRD Aurion is expected to cost more than the Ford XR-6 Turbo and Holden's SS Commodore but less than the HSV/FPV cars, so the question is simple, would you buy a Toyota TRD Aurion (poll at the end of article).
So whilst Toyota Australia continues to deny that the Aurion is a direct competitor to any HSV/FPV car, its obvious that Toyota's reasoning is due to the fear that the TD Aurion will not live up to the standards of HSV/FPV cars. Firstly, its not a V8, and whilst that is no longer an issue with the 6 Cylinder Turbo-charged FPV Typhoons putting the majority of HSVs stable (and V8 offerings from FPV themselves) to shame, the biggest issue is the Front-Wheel-Drive factor.
However, one aspect that needs to be questioned is Toyota's entry into the "aussie performance car" market. Both Holden and Ford have been doing this for decades and whilst Toyota as a brand has a huge and rich motorsport history, as far as Australian bred performance cars go, its not exactly a household name.
Essentially the Aurion follows the same principle as the other two big name manufacturers, take your standard family sedan, put some performance parts in it and call it a performance car. For Holden & Ford this works wonders, but whether or not it will work for Toyota is another story.
"We don't want Toyota drivers to think it's too loud, but Toyota buyers must think it's more sporty. The key to attracting people to the Toyota brand is to have something different." TRD corporate manager Greg Gardner.
So what do you get? a Supercharged V6 engine putting out around 235kW of power (not yet official), six-speed auto box (no manual), bigger wheels and tyres, improved brakes, upgraded seats & interior, and a sports body kit to give the car a mean and aggressive look.
Toyota has been working hard for the last two years to get this car to the showroom, initially starting with a supercharged Camry and then moving onto the Aurion. No doubt that TRD has taken note of the success of Fords XR-6 Turbo range and realized that the Australian buyer is no longer just after raw V8 power, that there is now a market for force fed six-cylinder engines in the performance sector.
The whole idea of the TRD Aurion isn't really to make money, the idea is to create a halo car that will help increase sales of the basic car. In saying that, TRD hopes to sell around 1,000 cars in the first 12 months.
"I will be happy if a TRD car brings someone into a Toyota dealership and they buy something else in the range." Mr Gardner said.
Pricing for the TRD Aurion has not been finalized but there are some clues to what we might expect :
"It's going to be more expensive than a Falcon XR6 Turbo ($44,000) or a Commodore SV8 ($45,000) ... but it won't be as expensive as an HSV or FPV car. It will not be priced against the Falcon XR6 turbo, though. It's a lot more than just an engine upgrade." Mr Gardner said.
From that we can gather that, one, Mr Gardner hasn't realized the Holden have dropped the SV8 model from its lineup (there is the SS and SS V now), and two, that the Aurion is going to cost around $47 - 50,000.
So if we just simply compare the SS commodore and the XR-6 Turbo to the TRD Aurion (which is more expensive) this is what we get.
Ford XR-6 Turbo : Power 245kW Torque 480Nm @ 2000rpm-4500rpm - $44,000
Holden VE SS Commodore : Power 270kW Torque 530Nm @ 4400rpm - $45,000
Toyota TRD Aurion : Power 235kW Torque unconfirmed - ~$47-50,000
So will we buy a TRD Aurion? Its not an easy question to answer before we get our hands on the car. But as far as spending around $50,000 on an aussie performance car goes, its hard to look past choices from the big two established brands!
The TRD Aurion will be on sale from August 13th.
If you haven't voted already: