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Energetically charismatic Auris

28.01.2013

THE TOYOTA Auris has always had a bit of a reputation for being a fun and funky car. Even the ad for the past generation depicted Buddy, the loveable boxer and his companion having some fun with the Auris name.

What the new generation promises is even more impressive. As the guys at Toyota highlight, there’s a new spirit creeping into the brand as it strives to deliver vehicles that are even more engaging and rewarding to drive. Gone are the days where you’ll find a Toyota with as much design appeal as a sheet of plan white paper. That’s because the

new generation of Toyotas all embody the company’s new design language, which proudly boasts a new frontal grille and a more confident profile, which has been dubbed the “keen look” and “under priority” trapezoidal design.

It’s certainly a bolder and sleeker hatch than its predecessor and thanks to its lower road-hugging stance, it does look a whole lot more sportier and aggressive. For example, the low-sweeping bonnet line and the steeply-raked windscreen all hint towards an athletic personality.

But just how exciting can a hatch in this segment be to drive, even with some sporty design elements? There is no denying this Auris is nowhere near hot hatch territory and it doesn’t claim to be. What it does offer is an engaging drive for the everyday car.

Available with a choice of two engines, the entry-level 1.3-litre petrol engine generates 73kW and maximum torque of 128Nm, while the claimed fuel consumption figure is given at 5.8 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 134g/km. The bigger sibling, and relatively lively powertrain, is the 1.6-litre petrol motor pushing 97kW and 160Nm. This derivative is equipped with a six-speed gearbox or is available in a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with a fully automatic seamless shift mode or a sequential, stepped seven-speed sport mode, which wasn’t available to test. However, the Manual transmission unit returns a combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.2 litres/100km and generates 145g/km of CO2 emissions. Alternatively, the Multi Drive S transmission further reduces both fuel consumption and emissions to 6.1 litres/100km and 143g/km respectively.

Inside the cabin, Toyota has lifted its game with a high level of class and finish. The driving position and ergonomics are well set out and all the niceties as well as expected creature comforts make an appearance in the cockpit – aligning itself well with the needs of the target market.

The enhancements made to the Auris’ interior and functional features, along with more storage space and overall interior space has made the car more practical for everyday driving. Add to this a healthy level of spec to the entry-level 1.3 X and 1.6 Xi models means it caters to everyone. The 1.6 XS mid-grade version’s additional niceties include display audio, back monitor with camera, six speakers, front sport seats, fog lamps and Bluetooth. In flagship XR grade, full leather upholstery, automatic climate control, cruise control, front seat heaters, lumbar support, auto lights, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, smart entry (keyless entry) and push Start/Stop, up the standard kit.

In a market with high quality players, many of them with relatively new products including Hyundai’s i30 and Ford’s Focus, Toyota had to strategically price the new Auris, which it has done rather aggressively. However, the market

is dominated by VW’s Golf and with the next generation Golf hitting our shores next week, VW could really shake things up and take the wind out of the Auris’ sales before it’s even had a chance to begin. But with pricing like this, it will take a lot from Volkswagen to put a damper on the new Auris.

The new Auris benefits from a three-year/ 100,000km warranty and all Auris models come standard with a five-year/ 90 000km service plan.

Pricing:
1.3 X                                                          R195 000
1.6 Xi                                                          R217 500
1.6 XS                                                               R228 600
1.6 XR                                                              R253 200
1.6 XR CVT                                                     R265 600

 

Article written by Stuart Moir
28.01.2013
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