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Monday, 20 August 2007

Aurion TRD seems designed to rebut the assessment of Drive reviewer David Poland that the Aurion has "got no soul". TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, drawing on the auto maker's F1 expertise as it has always done with the Aurion.

The Toyota Web site says a lot comes from the racing element. The dashboard, for example, is "a reflection of the race cars that have inspired its design and technology". Details of the mechanicals don't point that way, but the car's 200kW output is compelling evidence of a lot of thought, trial-and-error, and track-tested development.

Poland's 6 February video review now has a defined response. But Toyota Australia executives are coy about any idea the new car is aimed at drawing rev-heads away from high-performance models long offered by the two main 6-cylinder brands here.

“It wasn’t really surprising to learn that the Toyota brand was strong in terms of quality, durability, reliability, affordability, safety and the environment,” says Toyota Australia divisional manager of the product management division Peter McGregor. “But missing were attributes such as style, colour, the ability to turn heads, performance, vision and excitement.”

I'm not convinced, and neither is Drive's reviewer Toby Hagon. Unfortunately, as he notes in his piece, a trial vehicle wasn't available, so we must content ourselves with a prefabricated video release from the manufacturer.

Which is not enough to satisfy a dedicated Toyota freak like me. The company wants the car to “stand out from the crowd without looking like a hoon”, which is perfectly on-pitch and perfectly within the scope of the company's traditional image as a supplier of long-lasting and dependable cars.

Spokespeople say the car is aiming, rather, at competition with premier European and Japanese models. "Toyota says it is working on a family of TRD vehicles designed to inject some spark and excitement into the brand," notes Hagon.

How about a TRD version of the Yaris?

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