2012 Toyota Aurion Presara Review

Ian Crawford | 15 Comments

2012 TOYOTA AURION REVIEW

What’s hot: Value-for-money pricing that slots it inside the luxury-car tax threshold, long feature list, and build quality
What’s not: Foot-operated parking brake
X Factor: Lexus-like refinement and luxury without the Lexus price tag

Vehicle style: Large sedan
Price: $49,990

Tested Power/Torque 0-100km/h Fuel Use (claimed)
Presara 200kW/336Nm - 9.3l/100km

Toyota has for years longed to match it with the big boys, the Commodore and the Falcon, in the now shrinking large-car stakes.

It had a crack with the Crown, then the badge-engineered Lexcen (a VN Commodore), and then the Avalon V6 – but none could challenge Holden and Ford for the loyalty of their traditional owners.

Then, in 2006, Toyota launched the Aurion. While basically a Camry with a V6 engine and not seriously challenging the ‘big two’ on the sales charts, it has carved itself a reasonable sales niche.

Last year, Toyota dealers found homes for just under 9000 Aurions. That figure was down on 2010 and way below the 40,000+ Commodores the General sold and the disappointing Falcon figure of just under 19,000 units.

With the 2012 Aurion, Toyota is shooting to lift its 12 percent share to 15 percent of a segment that has fallen from 136,280 units in 2006 when the first-generation Aurion was launched, to just 78,077 last year.

INTERIOR

Quality: Toyota has put a lot of work into improving the interior of the new Aurion. And it shows.

In the top-spec Presara there’s quality leather trim, better-designed and executed seats, a classy dash, soft-touch plastics and a raft of electronic driver aids and information sources.

Like the car’s exterior, internal fit and finish is faultless and extremely precise.

Comfort: Seating front and rear is very comfortable. Front seat-backs are 30mm taller and 20mm has been added to the squab for better lower-body support (although not as heavily bolstered as the front seats in Sportivo models) and rear-seat passengers get more leg and head-room.

For the driver, the steering wheel has height and reach-adjustment; and, with plenty of seat adjustment, setting up the perfect driving position is a breeze.

Ergonomics also are excellent with all switches and controls placed within easy reach.

Equipment: The Presara’s equipment levels put it ahead of its Commodore and Falcon rivals. It includes dual-zone climate-control, USB and iPod connectivity, reversing camera, electric driver’s seat adjustment with lumbar support, a multi-function display, door-mirror indicators, 17-inch alloy wheels and a full-size alloy spare.

Also standard fare is leather upholstery, a multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry and start, automatic wipers, self-dimming interior mirror, electric rear sunblind, driver’s seat and exterior mirror memory, electric adjustment for the front passenger seat, fog lights and a JBL premium audio system with digital radio.

Added to that in the range-topping Presara is satellite-navigation, a seven-inch screen and SUNA traffic updates, proximity display for the parking sensors, adaptive HID headlights with automatic high- beam control, blind-spot monitoring, USB input and iPod connectivity. woodgrain-effect interior trim and a two-way glass sunroof.

It’s an impressive list unmatched by the ‘big two’ large-car-segment players.

Storage: There’s 515litres of boot space enhanced by 60:40 split-folding rear seat-backs.

Inside there are big door pockets with bottle holders, a spacious glove box, centre-console bin, pockets in the backs of the front seats and cupholders front and rear.

Towing capacity is 1600kg with a braked trailer.

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: While punching out a respectable 200kW of power, the 3.5 litre V6's 336Nm of torque is anything but earth-shattering.

That said, power delivery is smooth and strong and the engine works brilliantly with the six-speed sequential sports-shifting automatic transmission. It’s untroubled by hills and will bolt ‘out and around’ when overtaking.

While the Sportivo models get steering-wheel-mounted paddles, sadly they are not included for the Presara.

The new electric rack-and-pinion power steering however is beautifully weighted.

Refinement: The first thing you notice when you set off in the Presara is how eerily quiet it is - it boasts Lexus levels of serene refinement.

The noticeably improved NVH performance has been achieved by better aerodynamics, more sound insulation, acoustic glass and even sound-absorbing carpet.

Suspension: The Anglesea Proving Ground in Victoria, its Fuji counterpart in Japan and thousands of kilometers in Australia and overseas were used to improve greatly the 2012 Aution’s underpinnings.

The front uses a MacPherson-stut set-up while the rear has a revised dual-link system.

For a larger car, it sits noticeably flat even during enthusiastic cornering and remains settled over rougher tarmac.

While the Sportivo’s set-up is firmer and sportier, the Presara’s softer suspension tuning is appropriate for a luxury cruiser.

The new Aurion – across the range – is much more of a driver’s car than its predecessor.

Braking: Braking performance is very good: up front are 296mm ventilated discs and 286mm solids at the rear. ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and other technologies complete the package.

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: 5 Stars

Safety features: There are seven airbags (dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee), electronic stability control, traction control, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist and three-point seatbelts.

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY:

Holden Calais ($48,290): Proven, strong, quiet and effortless on road, but bettered by the Presara’s classy interior and Lexus-like on-road refinement. (see Calais reviews)

Ford Falcon G6E ($46,735): A fine car, one of the best large cars you’ll find anywhere (at the money) and very good buying.

Though no match for the Falcon’s on-road dynamics, the Presara’s interior comfort, features list, fit and finish is superior. (see Falcon reviews)

Skoda Superb Elegance 191FSI ($56,490): Somewhat overlooked by buyers, the Skoda Superb is a real surprise for space, finish, comfort and on-road performance.

It’s now a bit dated compared to the fresh new Presara, and not as cosseting on road. (see Superb reviews)

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

It has taken Toyota a few years to get its large-car offering right: we think the 2012 Aurion Presara now ticks most of the boxes for affordable premium large-car transport.

The Presara’s standard-inventory is matched by very few cars - certainly not those below its $49,990 price tag.

It is, without doubt, Lexus-like in terms of quality, trim and features but requires a much smaller cheque than its similar-sized Lexus cousins.

Toyota calls it “attainable luxury” - the Aurion Presara matches that claim.

Pricing

  • 2012 Aurion AT-X - $36,490
  • 2012 Aurion Prodigy - $41,490
  • 2012 Aurion Presara - $49,990
  • 2012 Aurion Sportivo SX6 - $40,990
  • 2012 Aurion Sportivo ZR6 - $47,990

Note: all prices are Manufacturer's List Price and exclude on-road costs.

Filed under: Featured, review, Toyota, petrol, japan, 2012, aurion, toyota Aurion, sedan, automatic, fwd, family, large, Advice, special-featured, 6cyl, 4door, 6a, 2012 aurion, 2012 toyota aurion, 5seat, available

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  • Roger says,
    2 years ago
    2 likes
    Being a fan of the falcons turbo performance that is buyable at $50K regardsless of the sticker price, this car is a much nicer place to be. I was trying to rationalise the lack of Falcon sales, and I think after sitting in the FG, its interior is not good, making the experience lack something regardless of it going like a ballistic missile.
  • Smart us says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    ...well convinced... going to get one...sorry forgot to bring my cardigan... then i'll get one laugh not
  • BH says,
    2 years ago
    What's the go with the Luxury Car Tax LCT, buyer pays?? dealer pays?? Benefits? Claimable through tax??? Anyone with any experience
    • Roger says,
      2 years ago
      I am pretty sure $50K is under the threshold. It also differs on the green rating. The BMW site breaks it all down. so selecting a variety of vehicles between $40-70K will give you an idea. An example is diesels have about half the LCT of the petrols at the same price.
      • Tim O'Brien says,
        2 years ago
        2 likes
        Yo BH,

        All new cars are subject to taxes and charges, some Federal and some State.

        Luxury cars, those with a sticker price more than $57,466 attract a special Federal tax, the Luxury Car Tax or LCT.

        It is calculated as 33% of the GST-exclusive portion of a car's new purchase price over $57,466. It is payable only on the purchase amount exceeding this limit - not the entire purchase price.

        In other words, to calculate the taxable component, subtract $57,466 from the full purchase price of a vehicle (exclusive of GST) and 33% tax applies to the dollar figure remaining. For premium cars above $100k, however, it can seriously add to the cost of the purchase (adding more than $12k to a $100k purchase).

        There is a concession for fuel-efficient vehicles (those achieving better than an average 7.0 l/100km under ADR81 testing), for these cars, diesels in the main, the LCT threshold cuts in at $75,375.

        In addition to the LCT are the state taxes and levies payable (and, of course, the 10% GST).

        Each state has its own stamp duty regime: in NSW it is 3% of the new car price including GST up to $45,000 and $1350 plus 5% for any amount over $45,000; in Victoria the stamp duty payable is 2.5% of the new car price up to $57,466, and 5% of any amount over $57,466.

        Then there are the various registration and no-fault third party insurance charges.

        We get a severe rogering every time we buy a new car; that sore *** you notice when you drive out of the dealership is not from the hard seats.

        Tim
        • Roger says,
          2 years ago
          A couple of years ago I had the benefit of looking over the shoulder of a Toyota dealer doing up a quote on a 200 Series GXL diesel cruiser. The actual cost of the vehicle to me prior to tax and on-roads was $55K.....add on all the rest.....$85K drive away.
  • Lee says,
    2 years ago
    5 likes
    What's wrong with foot operated park brakes?
  • John says,
    2 years ago
    It's a very appealing car, considering it's competition, as well as the luxury car tax. I'd say for a daily drive, I'd love to have a quiet cabin for that peaceful feeling that it can give you, especially after a tiresome day. Although, they should install some alerting system, just in case we fall asleep!
  • David says,
    2 years ago
    5 likes
    I bought a Toyota with a foot operated brake about two years ago. I can't understand why a small number of motoring writers have an issue with them. Once you get used to putting it on and off, it becomes second nature. No awkward lever to get in the way of your left hand to boot. Short of criticising them, I think all cars should adopt it.smile
  • cyclone says,
    2 years ago
    2 things. That wood grain interior. Nice---- not!!! Also, hand or foot park brakes. Decent cars gave electronic, with a button near the gear stick to release
    • sacti says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      Other than that, it looks pretty good - I agree.
  • MattW says,
    2 years ago
    2 likes
    Maybe someone that has only driven automatics doesn't mind the foot parking brake, but the automotive equivalent of drinking warm beer. If you have no other option it can get you by, but if you had the choice there's no way you'd do it bleh

    This must be a fair bit different to the Camry V6 they sell in the US because the reviews I have read from over there were .... let's say "less positive"
  • Peterg says,
    1 year ago
    I took a Aurion Presara for a ride the other day. I just dont like the big round start button. I felt every bump on the road. I have driven earlier model Aurions - with the foot park brake. It is quite amusing watching people getting into an Aurion and wondering why the handbrake is still on!
  • john says,
    25 days ago
    I own a 2008 presara, best car i've ever owned. Quite, smooth and powerful. As david said what is wrong with foot brakes? They are out of the way and you know when its on or off by the dashlite. Nissan also use foot brakes!
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