Sunday, May 7, 2017

Hit For Six

The irony of most non-Australians not understanding the title of this article is not lost on me, nor is that irony misplaced.

Hitting a cricket ball out on the full is worth six runs, kind of like a home run.

The term, just like "home run", is regional and not necessarily appreciated by Canadians or Fijians, both of which have terrible international cricket teams.

Meanwhile, ask me which sport involves face dodging or butt caps and I'll head straight to google (It's Lacrosse apparently which also includes ground balls, D cuts and a poke check).

Many moons ago, cars were equally diverse and regional. Globalisation is technically kind of new and most vehicles went where they belonged (eg, British cars followed the British empire).

It's the proliferation of trade that has allowed new and amazing cars to become available anywhere in the world. For example, the Holden Commodore has been sold in every continent on Earth and is currently sold as a niche model in the United States. 

Likewise, the most ubiquitous mid sized car on Earth, is currently built in Australia for supply to Middle East, Pacific Islands and New Zealand. Our Camry engines are even delivered into Asia (surprising considering the density of manufacturing in that region). In fact the Camry is the most exported car from our sun burnt shores. 

That popularity is replicated in the domestic market with a top 6 finish last year, beating long time representative of Australian blokiness, the Holden Commodore. 

In return, our puny market has a ridiculous amount of competitors all vying for our cash. A borderline ridiculous 65 manufacturers! 

I've never hidden my preference for Commodores. Having owned seven and reviewed quite a number of them on, I appreciate their mile eating capability and in particular, engines that give credence to their associated stereotypes.

Never once have I attempted a donut, nor have I sought to impress a young lady with a line locky.

I do, however, indulge in other Commodore-esque activities like perfect exploitation of round-a-bouts, steering with the loud pedal and night flying excursions on long country sweepers.

Now feel free to call me biased, but I can't seem to ween myself off rorty 6 cylinder normally aspirated motors. That seems to be a major problem, because V6s are right up there with sugar, on societies hit list of things that must die. 

Currently, down my end of the market, the gruntier choice is typically a turbo or gasp, a turbo diesel (!). 

I've been behind the wheel of some of Europes decent oil burners (thanks Jaguar and Volvo for the opportunity) and been left mildly amused. No doubt both instances ultimately could wind up and carry enough speed to vanish in to the distance, using barely a sniff of the devils fuel, but they didn't really get my heart racing.

Some turbos even have plenty of power delivered in an authoritative shove in the back. Swift? For sure. Engaging? I don't know. I can't really hear what's going on....whoooosh.

They get you from A to B faster but that has never been the point. I need all my senses filled, even if it empties my wallet a little faster. 

So what ARE my options in the future? We know the Commodore has but 5 months (!) left of being made EVER. It's replacement will have a V6 flagship which should come in around 60k but will electrickefy everyone into thinking it's an admirable compromise for the loss of a national icon...

It appears that I'll be waiting for the next Camry to come out. That's right, the much maligned global king pin of steady-as-she-goes, Toyota, oft considered the brand that relies on porridge and refrigerators, will be one of very few manufacturers that will offer a V6 option for regular punters in Australia.

If they actually let the Aussies tune the suspension, it should be an absolute hoot, because the Aurion that I drove in March was everything an Aussie car should be: rorty, pointed, gruff, borderline unwieldy and too much fun for the national speed limit. 

Toyota have been in Australia since 1958 and the most Australian car they built is the last one. One that nobody (aside from the Police) buys. 

The Sportivo Aurion has a foot operated park brake, simple somewhat creaky plastic centre console and the illusion of sport seats. For that it should be burned at the stake.

Conversely, the torque steer is diabolical which requires and rewards all your attention, whilst the suspension keeps everything flat and responsive. The eye seering red paint and insectoid projector headlamps make baby jeezus cry and you can fit adults in the back seat. 

Moreover, there is a sunscreen on the back window that I can retract at the push of a button so I can flip you off when you mouth profanities at my round-a-bout skills. 

It's real world practicality mixed with actual real world feels and I miss it. Even my wife misses it! If it was a wagon, we'd probably buy it.

Imagine how much we are going to miss it's compatriots when they all die come October.

I think I need a bundy.

See more of this and some historic Toyotas on my IG tag (it's a link, just click it->): #TOYOTAREKISHI

If you're crazy enough, buy an Aurion here: For $44k some people will think you're the po po and the rest of society will think you're responsible.

Find me here: 

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