IN 2015 Toyota gave the Aurion model range a freshen up. They rejigged the product offering to include a 200kW new look Sportivo, bringing with it 18-inch alloy wheels and style all of its own.
That model has continued into 2016, and will in effect become the 2017 Toyota Aurion as well, representing the final incarnation of the V6 model to be produced out of its Australian Altona plant in Victoria.
Aside from the cool black wheels, it comes bundled with sports suspension, a subtle sports body kit, front sports seats, a premium steering wheel, the now almost standard paddle shifters and sports pedals.
When it launched, the advertising campaign for the 200kW power plant, which generates 336Nm of torque and is butted up against a six speed auto gearbox, touted 200 killer wasps – an advertising slogan that will stay with most people with even a remote attention span for car ads, forever.
Fuel consumption stands at 9.3L/100km which is not bad for a car of this size, but it’s nothing to rave about. Push it hard and that number blows out very quickly (12.9L/100km for us in testing), but the power from the engine is very good, impressive actually for a 3.5L V6, and the car delivers it well.
But up against the bigger, and more recognised Holden Commodore SV6 and Ford Falcon XR6, the Aurion gets pummeled on the ride and handling front, with both the ‘Aussie’ brands offering a superior driving experience, with the Commodore also offering a significantly better interior.
The Sportivo also comes with low profile tyres, which add to the feeling of sportiness but don’t help the steering, which is a little on the ordinary side. With a fair bit of play in the steering, it just seems cumbersome to drive for a car in 2016.
Inside, there’s a 6.1-inch touch screen which is easy to use, but a little on the small side, SatNav (an optional extra resplendent with the SUNA Traffic Channel – with the annoying disabling of features when moving that seems to be becoming standard), and multi-function dash display that carries a unique blue look, and heaps of information choices available between the dials.
The interior in our test vehicle was two-tone black and mocha and not that pretty but the car is incredibly spacious inside, particularly in the rear seating, and has a massive 515 litre boot. Seating comfort is great in the front, but a little flat in the back, but otherwise makes for a great physical driving experience from a comfort perspective.
Key-less entry and start round out the interior that includes seven SRS air bags. Safety is a big factor here, as Toyota is renowned for building safe and reliable cars, in fact it’s what trust in their brand is build in.
The Sportivo is good, but not great in this department too, with lane departure and rear cross traffic alerts, and 360 degree blind spot monitoring standard across the Aurion range. Let’s face it, Toyota build solid cars, and this car feels solid and while it definitely feels safe to drive, some of its rivals (the Subaru Liberty 3.6R for example) have better safety specs.
You can drive a 2016 Aurion Sportivo out of the showroom for a little over $45,000 drive-away. It comes in six colour choices including Diamond White, Silver Pearl, Graphite, Eclipse Black, Wildfire and the colour we tested it in; Indigo.
Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Aurion Sportivo, contact your local Toyota dealer.
Pros – Great engine; great gearbox; plenty of space.
Cons – low equipment levels; average steering, looks boring.