The six-cylinder, 3.5-litre Aurion drives beautifully and is the most powerful car in its class. Compare it to the 1.3-litre Echo I'm using now and you'll understand how excited I am by the purchase, which I'll complete on Thursday week with pick-up after work.
Australian Car Advice says June demonstrated an "improved large car segment" so I'm part of a trend. Toyota was the top-selling brand in July with 19,047 sales. Next came Holden with 12,343. But Holden's Commodore is the best-selling large car, says GoAuto, with 5134 sales. Aurion sold only 1925, with "sales of 13,199 year-to-date to July" according to Toyota's Web site.
"We had a record month [in June], quarter and six months for our locally manufactured cars - Aurion V6 and the four-cylinder Camry," [Toyota senior executive director of sales and marketing David] Buttner said.
The car will include some add-ons (I wavered a bit and they were eager to sell): alloy wheels, reverse-parking proximity sensors, 'weathershields' on the front windows (strips of perspex running across the tops of the windows), and two floor mats. The Echo's mats, post-purchase, were $70.
Aurion is manufactured in Melbourne, where Toyota has had a plant since 1963. It also makes the Camry there. The car's designer, Nick "Hogios claims that the Toyota Aurion follows the traits of current Australian styling, with a tendency to look towards European designs for inspiration". It was introduced in 2006.
Toyota and Hogios claim 'vibrant clarity' for the design. This catch-phrase is best described by the designer and more details are available on the Web site:
"Some cars are overly balanced with predictably constructed design elements. These cars may have immediate appeal, but the design does not stand up to the passing of time," Nick Hogios continued. "Other cars attempt to create excitement by being overly imbalanced. They have an immediate impact because of their odd shapes, but they have limited market appeal. Aurion achieves perfect imbalance - the best of both worlds.
"It has design features which deliberately provide a counter-point to others, and are therefore both interesting and appealing. Due to the proportions and character in the car, people will like it from the start, yet won't grow tired of it," surmised Mr Hogios.
With trade-in I paid $25,000 cash to Pennant Hills Toyota, with the listed extras thrown in. I guess that's pretty standard and the figure tallies with published list prices. The Echo as trade-in was worth $10,000.
A big difference is the analogue instrumentation. The Echo's instrument pod is centrally-positioned with a large, easy-to-read digital display. In the Aurion, I'll need to be more careful about speeding.
The photo clip shows my chosen colour: beige mica metallic. The interior is dark grey. A "PHT Mechanical Protection Plan" means I can get service done cheaply.