Toyota Aurion AT-X 2008 Review

Toyota Aurion AT-X 2008 Review

toyota-aurion-at-x-fq

What do you get when you put together 4 friends, camping equipment, 1 chilly bin a few dozen beers, fireworks, sleeping bags and a trip up to Pakiri beach planned? You don’t just have all the means for a great weekend away, you also have the basis for a full test of a large car’s ability. On this mission the Toyota Aurion AT-X was to play the roles of transporter, guardian and entertainer for the journey ahead.

Prior to departure I glanced over the Aurion before the dust and road dirt would steal its city-shine. In styling the Aurion makes little attempt to mask its large proportions. Like a tuxedo-wearing bouncer the Aurion is muscular but well dressed. Built on the Camry platform the Aurion was gifted a new head and tail, and this works well achieving a flat, fluent look throughout. Neutral in stance and clean cut at the front, the rear styling shows more flair; a sloping rear windscreen leads down into a high boot line that houses two wrap-around rear lights a chunky bumper and twin oval exhaust pipes that hint at the Aurion’s performance capabilities. A final check over the 16-inch rims and Dunlop Sport tyres, and we were clear to load the Aurion up.

Fitting all the gear into the Aurion was its first challenge. The boot is voluminous and had a good shape that pushed fairly far into the cabin, however, the opening was quite small with larger items requiring some jiggling to fit through and some old-fashioned interior boot hinges intruded on available space. But the Aurion’s boot was big enough to swallow up our gear leaving the cabin free for passengers only.

The Aurion feels like a large car inside but despite good legroom front and rear, feels like it’s unable to match the Commodores or Falcons. The cabin is basic and smart with dark cloth and thick black plastics. The contrasting bright-silver plastic is relentless climbing up the centre stack and infecting elsewhere. Drivers seat is electronically adjustable – it could use more lateral support, but was wide and comfortable for the journey. The instruments are easily read and illuminate well; the air-con and stereo controls are simple and functional. Interior storage options are bountiful and everyone found prime positions for water bottles, sunglasses and paperbacks.

Time to make tracks and find out if the Aurion has some go to match its show. The 3.5-litre 24-valve V6 is a beastly six-cylinder smacking out 200kW of power and 336 Nm of torque, this is good enough to take the Aurion from standing to 100kmh in mid 7-second territory. Maximum torque isn’t available until 4700rpm so low-down performance can seem lazy, but that’s quickly forgotten once the revs start climbing. With class-leading fuel economy figures of 9.9L/100km and a 70-litre fuel tank I knew no petrol stops would be required. Once we’d left the traffic lights of Auckland behind, the Aurion proved itself as a legit open road gladiator with passing lanes its Colosseum. Power was effortless and smoothly delivered with the growling V6 unafraid of exploring the upper limits of its rev range. It could do all this while still being quiet and comfortable enough to accommodate some rear passenger napping mid-journey.

We made the turn at Warkworth from SH 1 to more twisting roads, for the Aurion’s final test before we reached our destination. Well mannered through the turns the Aurion couldn’t quite mask its size in terms of agility. Grip was solid with the Aurion only showing a hint of understeer when pushed. Steering was precise and even offered some feedback on bumpy corners. The Aurion’s front-wheel drive status is a point of difference with its competitors, but it pulled itself well through the bends despite the heavy motor sitting over the driving wheels. As the roads tightened further and sweeping corners changed into hairpins the Aurion’s gearbox occasionally proved too eager to shift up a gear and had to drop itself back down to keep up momentum. That said, in regular driving situations the gearbox is very good at making the most of the engine with closely spaced ratios. There is also a manual override on the automatic transmission that makes holding the vehicle in a specific gear simple. The final few miles of the trip were done on gravel roads the Aurion’s ride was absorbent and had no issues keeping good grip.

Getting to our destination was a success, but if we encountered any bad luck along the way, the Aurion is guarded with an armoury of safety features. Six airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force and brake assist are included as standard. An impressive equipment list for an entry-level variant.

Aurion means tomorrow in Greek, and as the sun set on Pakiri beach I knew that the next day’s return trip would be easily gobbled up by the large Toyota. Around town, motorways, twisty open roads and even gravel, the Aurion proved itself a capable, comfortable no-nonsense worker far more content with cruising along on straight roads than being thrown through tight corners. With solid Toyota build quality the Aurion should seldom need attention and will fight to the bitter end.

Click through to the next page for a full list of specifications

Price: from $43,990

What we like:

  • Safety features
  • Raw power
  • Balanced and comfortable ride
  • Good economy for engine size

What we don’t like:

  • Interior colour scheme
  • Premature gearbox up-shifts

Words Adam Mamo Photos Darren Cottingham

Toyota Aurion AT-X (2008) – Specifications

Engine

Brief Description V6, 24 Valve, DOHC, Chain Drive with Dual VVT-i
Aspiration Normal
Location Front
Capacity 3456 cc
Engine Size 3.5 litre
Bore 94.0 mm
Stroke 83.0 mm
Compression Ratio 10.8 1
Number of Cylinders 6
Number of Valves 24
Max. Power 204 kW
Max. Power Max. 6200 rpm
Max. Torque 346 Nm
Max. Torque Max. 4700 rpm

Fuel System

Induction Type Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
Fuel Type Petrol
Tank Capacity 70 Litres
Octane Rating 91 Unleaded
Emission Control Standard Euro IV
Fuel Consumption – ADR 81/01 (Combined) 9.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions – ADR 81/01 233 g/km

Suspension

Front MacPherson struts and stabiliser bar;  Front suspension tower brace
Rear Dual link strut and hollow stabiliser bar

Steering

Description Engine speed sensitive power-assisted rack and pinion steering
Ratio Max. 16.0
Min. Turning Circle (Tyre) 11 m
Turns Lock to Lock 3.2

Wheels and Tyres

Wheels 6.5JJ x 16″ Alloy Wheels
Tyres 215/60 R16 steel belted radial ply tyres
Spare Wheel 6.5JJ x 16″ Steel Wheel
Tyre Brand Dunlop: SP Sport 300 E Michelin

Dimensions

Overall Length 4825 mm
Overall Width 1820 mm
Overall Height – Max. 1470 mm
Wheelbase 2775 mm
Track – Front 1575 mm
Track – Rear 1565 mm
Overhang – Front 965 mm
Overhang – Rear 1085 mm
Minimum Running Ground Clearance 150 mm
Interior Length 2130 mm
Interior Width 1525 mm
Interior Height 1200 mm
Seating Capacity 5
Luggage Capacity (VDA) 504 L
Gross Vehicle Weight 2110 kg
Kerb Weight 1585-1590 kg
Max. Towing Capacity Braked 1600 kg
Max. Towing Capacity Unbraked 500 kg
Max. Download on Towball 160 kg

toyota-aurion-at-x-fq

What do you get when you put together 4 friends, camping equipment, 1 chilly bin a few dozen beers, fireworks, sleeping bags and a trip up to Pakiri beach planned? You don’t just have all the means for a great weekend away, you also have the basis for a full test of a large car’s ability. On this mission the Toyota Aurion AT-X was to play the roles of transporter, guardian and entertainer for the journey ahead.

Prior to departure I glanced over the Aurion before the dust and road dirt would steal its city-shine. In styling the Aurion makes little attempt to mask its large proportions. Like a tuxedo-wearing bouncer the Aurion is muscular but well dressed. Built on the Camry platform the Aurion was gifted a new head and tail, and this works well achieving a flat, fluent look throughout. Neutral in stance and clean cut at the front, the rear styling shows more flair; a sloping rear windscreen leads down into a high boot line that houses two wrap-around rear lights a chunky bumper and twin oval exhaust pipes that hint at the Aurion’s performance capabilities. A final check over the 16-inch rims and Dunlop Sport tyres, and we were clear to load the Aurion up.

Fitting all the gear into the Aurion was its first challenge. The boot is voluminous and had a good shape that pushed fairly far into the cabin, however, the opening was quite small with larger items requiring some jiggling to fit through and some old-fashioned interior boot hinges intruded on available space. But the Aurion’s boot was big enough to swallow up our gear leaving the cabin free for passengers only.

The Aurion feels like a large car inside but despite good legroom front and rear, feels like it’s unable to match the Commodores or Falcons. The cabin is basic and smart with dark cloth and thick black plastics. The contrasting bright-silver plastic is relentless climbing up the centre stack and infecting elsewhere. Drivers seat is electronically adjustable – it could use more lateral support, but was wide and comfortable for the journey. The instruments are easily read and illuminate well; the air-con and stereo controls are simple and functional. Interior storage options are bountiful and everyone found prime positions for water bottles, sunglasses and paperbacks.

Time to make tracks and find out if the Aurion has some go to match its show. The 3.5-litre 24-valve V6 is a beastly six-cylinder smacking out 200kW of power and 336 Nm of torque, this is good enough to take the Aurion from standing to 100kmh in mid 7-second territory. Maximum torque isn’t available until 4700rpm so low-down performance can seem lazy, but that’s quickly forgotten once the revs start climbing. With class-leading fuel economy figures of 9.9L/100km and a 70-litre fuel tank I knew no petrol stops would be required. Once we’d left the traffic lights of Auckland behind, the Aurion proved itself as a legit open road gladiator with passing lanes its Colosseum. Power was effortless and smoothly delivered with the growling V6 unafraid of exploring the upper limits of its rev range. It could do all this while still being quiet and comfortable enough to accommodate some rear passenger napping mid-journey.

We made the turn at Warkworth from SH 1 to more twisting roads, for the Aurion’s final test before we reached our destination. Well mannered through the turns the Aurion couldn’t quite mask its size in terms of agility. Grip was solid with the Aurion only showing a hint of understeer when pushed. Steering was precise and even offered some feedback on bumpy corners. The Aurion’s front-wheel drive status is a point of difference with its competitors, but it pulled itself well through the bends despite the heavy motor sitting over the driving wheels. As the roads tightened further and sweeping corners changed into hairpins the Aurion’s gearbox occasionally proved too eager to shift up a gear and had to drop itself back down to keep up momentum. That said, in regular driving situations the gearbox is very good at making the most of the engine with closely spaced ratios. There is also a manual override on the automatic transmission that makes holding the vehicle in a specific gear simple. The final few miles of the trip were done on gravel roads the Aurion’s ride was absorbent and had no issues keeping good grip.

Getting to our destination was a success, but if we encountered any bad luck along the way, the Aurion is guarded with an armoury of safety features. Six airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force and brake assist are included as standard. An impressive equipment list for an entry-level variant.

Aurion means tomorrow in Greek, and as the sun set on Pakiri beach I knew that the next day’s return trip would be easily gobbled up by the large Toyota. Around town, motorways, twisty open roads and even gravel, the Aurion proved itself a capable, comfortable no-nonsense worker far more content with cruising along on straight roads than being thrown through tight corners. With solid Toyota build quality the Aurion should seldom need attention and will fight to the bitter end.

Click through to the next page for a full list of specifications

Price: from $43,990

What we like:

  • Safety features
  • Raw power
  • Balanced and comfortable ride
  • Good economy for engine size

What we don’t like:

  • Interior colour scheme
  • Premature gearbox up-shifts

Words Adam Mamo Photos Darren Cottingham

Toyota Aurion AT-X (2008) – Specifications

Engine

Brief Description V6, 24 Valve, DOHC, Chain Drive with Dual VVT-i
Aspiration Normal
Location Front
Capacity 3456 cc
Engine Size 3.5 litre
Bore 94.0 mm
Stroke 83.0 mm
Compression Ratio 10.8 1
Number of Cylinders 6
Number of Valves 24
Max. Power 204 kW
Max. Power Max. 6200 rpm
Max. Torque 346 Nm
Max. Torque Max. 4700 rpm

Fuel System

Induction Type Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
Fuel Type Petrol
Tank Capacity 70 Litres
Octane Rating 91 Unleaded
Emission Control Standard Euro IV
Fuel Consumption – ADR 81/01 (Combined) 9.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions – ADR 81/01 233 g/km

Suspension

Front MacPherson struts and stabiliser bar;  Front suspension tower brace
Rear Dual link strut and hollow stabiliser bar

Steering

Description Engine speed sensitive power-assisted rack and pinion steering
Ratio Max. 16.0
Min. Turning Circle (Tyre) 11 m
Turns Lock to Lock 3.2

Wheels and Tyres

Wheels 6.5JJ x 16″ Alloy Wheels
Tyres 215/60 R16 steel belted radial ply tyres
Spare Wheel 6.5JJ x 16″ Steel Wheel
Tyre Brand Dunlop: SP Sport 300 E Michelin

Dimensions

Overall Length 4825 mm
Overall Width 1820 mm
Overall Height – Max. 1470 mm
Wheelbase 2775 mm
Track – Front 1575 mm
Track – Rear 1565 mm
Overhang – Front 965 mm
Overhang – Rear 1085 mm
Minimum Running Ground Clearance 150 mm
Interior Length 2130 mm
Interior Width 1525 mm
Interior Height 1200 mm
Seating Capacity 5
Luggage Capacity (VDA) 504 L
Gross Vehicle Weight 2110 kg
Kerb Weight 1585-1590 kg
Max. Towing Capacity Braked 1600 kg
Max. Towing Capacity Unbraked 500 kg
Max. Download on Towball 160 kg

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