After about 3 years with my trusty manual 2012 Kia Rio S - which I wrote a review on 2 years ago - and now with a full time job, I decided to satisfy my "Power Craving" and upgraded to a 2010 Toyota Aurion Sportivo ZR6.
I bought my Aurion in March 2019 with 135,000 kilometres, and as of February 2020, it currently has 154000km of faultless, right lane driving. It was finally nice to upgrade from a 1.4-litre 4-cylinder shopping trolley to a silky 3.5 2GR-FE V6 lounge.
It's been on many adventures with my mates up and down the coast of New South Wales and it survived each trip with a full complement of mates and luggage. The seats in my ZR6 are essentially lounges, which to be honest don't really suit a "Sportivo" model as it does not provide any lateral support. However, it is electrically-powered with memory, which is one of the best things I've ever had in a car - granted my last car was very basic when compared to this Sportivo.
Speaking of the interior, my car had the standard aftermarket-looking Toyota head unit with a tiny screen. After connecting my iPhone XS Max, it did not display any music data, and in general, it did not like iOS 12. However, the Bluetooth worked fine but the reconnection each time was a tad slow or did not connect at all. I ended up replacing the stock head unit with a Sony XAV-AX3000 (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), which has improved the interior ambience. It has a full leather interior and has a nice retractable sunshade for those days that the sun burns your neck if you're punished to the back seat for not calling "shotgun" quickly enough. It also has an auto-dimming mirror, push-button start, and in addition to a good reverse camera and parking sensors front and rear, it has a nifty feature when reversing; the side mirrors tilt down to the kerb to aid in reverse parking.
Interior space in the cabin is good for a large sedan with plenty of legroom and headroom for myself and few of my tall mates. Rear seats have a central armrest with cupholders, which is a nice feature. The boot size is also good but the lack of the ability to fold down the seats in a 60/40 matter - Toyota instead electing for a ski-port - was a terrible idea and makes the car not practical to haul long loads. This has resulted in me buying roof racks for longer items.
Moving onto the exterior of the car, the Sportivo adds a body kit and a rear spoiler, which make it look sort of sporty, so to say. However, you cannot look past that it's still a Camry V6 (which I don't mind personally) and that it absolutely loves to bottom out on steep driveways and stop bollards in parking spots. The headlights provide good lighting but the parking lights are an absolute pain in the rear to replace - I ended up pulling the entire front bumper off just to replace a parking light. The rear taillights look great, especially when illuminated in the dark.
Now lets look at the running gear of the Aurion. Powering the Aurion is the well-used 2GR-FE 3.5 V6 that is shared among many Toyota models, producing 201kW. This is driven to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode. This motor is a sweet gem, has plenty of power and is capable of embarrassing an SV6 Commodore, while the transmission is a good unit when left in Drive. If you put it in Sport mode, it's extremely slow at manual shifting and sometimes even reverts back to a standard automatic, which ruins the fun.
However, the engine is let down by Toyota's decision for a front-wheel drive layout, so it struggles to put the power down, torque steering all over the place, possibly making skid marks, and not just on the road if you catch my drift. Even after upgrading my Aurion with Kluger Grande wheels and wider Kumho Ecsta rubber, it cut the wheel-spin down to minimal but the torque steer is still prevalent. However, the engine and transmission will suffice for the majority of buyers.
The suspension is more performance-based, however I sometimes wonder what their definition of Sport suspension is. With the likes of Kia/Hyundai and Holden/Ford having their own takes on sports suspension that balances handling and comfort, I reckon the people at Toyota Australia thought that the stiffest suspension possible equals handling. This can be somewhat true, as its composure around corners is great, but in day-to-day driving (especially on my commute to work on twisty country roads), going over broken road surfaces means your back will start to suffer after a while. The suspension is way too stiff for normal day-to-day commuting.
In concluding, the Toyota Aurion is more than just a faster Right Lane bandit. When fitted with wider/better tyres, it performs well while complementing the power and transmission combo with a spacious interior and the well-known reliability of Toyota and dealer networks. It makes a good option when comparing it to other P-plater specials such as the Falcon XR6 and Commodore SV6. If Toyota went with a rear-wheel drive setup and actually properly-tuned suspension, it would have made such a good package, but in saying that, I'm happy with the purchase of my Right Lane bandit and its trouble-free motoring that can still chop a Commodore SV6.