What's the news?
This is the all-new, third-generation Toyota Auris, based on the company's 'New Global Architecture' (TNGA) platform and revealed to the world at the Geneva Motor Show.
Following Toyota's announcement that it will be phasing out all diesel passenger cars during the remainder of 2018, this C-segment Japanese hatchback will have no derv-burning derivatives and just one model powered by a combustion engine alone - that motor being the 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit, as seen in the C-HR.
Other than that, choose from a 1.8-litre, 122hp petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain or an ever more potent 2.0-litre, 180hp electrically-augmented set-up.
The Auris is not a plug-in model and so the electrification process is primarily to cut CO2 emissions and improve fuel economy, although the company claims the hatchback will be running on 50 per cent electric driving during heavy urban commuting. The 2.0-litre model, in particular, is of interest, as Toyota says it will offer an 'energised, dynamic and engaging driving experience.'
Using the TNGA underpinnings, the new Auris has a lower centre-of-gravity and more rigid bodyshell when compared to the outgoing model. It also uses multilink rear suspension and is designed to meet the most stringent crash-testing safety levels, thus the car has plenty of Toyota Safety Sense technology.
Brilliantly, it's a really good-looking thing. The Auris seems to have inherited some of the visual chutzpah of the aforementioned C-HR, with its striking front end and edgy, angular rear. The hatchback is 40mm longer than its predecessor, mostly absorbed in an extended wheelbase (so interior room should be improved) as the front overhang is cut by 20mm, while it is also 25mm lower. The cowl height of the dashboard is also reduced by 47mm, meaning the driver has a clearer forward view in this generation of Auris.
LED headlamps with integral daytime running lamps (DRLs), LED rear light clusters, a rear windscreen raked an additional 14 degrees and a roof spoiler on all models completes the attractive new look of the Auris. But, if you're feeling really brave, then you can have the Toyota in a bi-tone colour scheme, which contrasts the roof and its supporting pillars to the paint finish of the main bodywork.
"Our primary goal with the new Auris was to create the most bold and dynamic hatchback on the market, without compromising on interior usability," said Simon Humphries, executive general manager for Toyota Global Design. "Harnessing the low centre of gravity afforded by the TNGA layout, the vehicle is light and agile in the side view, yet as we move to the rear, the architecture transforms to create a solid, wide and low stance that is absolutely critical to the European market."