As well as a fresher and more dynamic appearance, the new Auris premieres a brand new 2.0-litre hybrid powertrain to sit at the top of the new model range, which will consist of two hybrid powertrains and a 1.2-litre petrol unit – there will be no diesel model offered, with Toyota having dropped its two diesel models from the previous model’s line-up at the end of 2017.
The 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain will be familiar from the current model. It produces 120hp and provides the usual hybrid features of quiet urban electric running with low CO2 emissions and good fuel economy.
The new 2.0-litre hybrid system ups the power output to 180hp and also features steering-wheel paddles to replicate conventional gearshifts through the continuously-variable transmission.
The new Auris is built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) architecture, which is already used by the current Prius and C-HR models, which simplifies vehicle design in key areas while improving rigidity and lowering the centre of gravity. This improves handling and stability, as well as safety. The latest Prius has been rightly praised for offering a far more enjoyable driving experience than previous models, so hopefully the same success can be replicated with the Auris.
As with most new models, the latest Auris is a bit bigger than the old one. Length grows by about 4cm and width by 3cm, although height has been reduced by 2.5cm (an inch, for those still stuck in Victorian times). The bonnet, in particular, has been lowered significantly, providing not just a sleeker look but a clearer view ahead for the driver.
Toyota’s desire for more dynamic styling is bolstered by a narrower grille and full-LED headlights. Front overhang has also been marginally reduced to improve both the car’s appearance and weight distribution. At the back, the rear window is more raked to provide a more compact look, which belies a slightly longer rear overhang. Again, the lights are all LEDs and a strong horizontal design theme visually exaggerates the car’s width.
Toyota has spent £240 million to prepare and equip the Burnaston plant for building cars on the new TNGA architecture. This gives rise to the possibility that other models could be added to the production mix in the future, although nothing has been said about this. The majority of engines for the new Auris will be built at Toyota’s Deeside factory in Wales.