Toyota Auris: the lowdown
Toyota today unveils the production version of the Auris, the Corolla replacement which goes on UK sale in February 2007. The production car is almost identical to the Auris concept , unveiled at September's Paris motor show. Indeed, a new front bumper design and revised headlamp graphics are the only changes. Toyota has announced that five engines will be available at launch: three diesels and two petrols. And the lid has also been lifted on the Auris' interior. With its generous dimensions, the hatch should almost match a Focus for space, while some details – flat rear floor, high-mounted gearshift – are borrowed from the last generation Honda Civic.
The diesel's acceptance as Europe's favourite powertrain continues. It was only six years ago that Toyota introduced its first common-rail diesel engine; this car will launch with more D-4D units than petrol engines. The flagship unit is the 2.2-litre D-4D, shared with the Lexus IS oilburner. With 175bhp and 295lb ft of torque on tap, the Auris is swept to 62mph in 8.1sec and onto a top speed of 130mph. The 124bhp 2.0-litre isn't too far behind, with 0-62mph in 10.3sec and 121mph flat out. Both diesels are mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The entry-level unit is a 1.4-litre D-4D, coupled to a five-speed manual transmission or paddleshift clutchless manual. Peak outputs are 89bhp and 140lb ft; 0-62mph takes 12.0sec with the manual, or a glacial 14.7sec with the 'MultiMode' 'box.
And the petrols...
The Auris introduces an all-new 1.6-litre petrol unit. With variable valve timing to boost power without sapping fuel economy, the 1.6 VVT-i kicks out 122bhp and 116lb ft. Those outputs are marginally up on the Ford Focus's peaky 1.6-litre with twin independent variable camshaft timing, and the Auris's 10.4sec 0-62mph sprint is 0.4sec quicker than the Focus'. The VVT-i engines comes with either a five-speed manual or the 'MultiMode' clutchless manual box. The entry-level car, priced from around £11,500, runs a 1.4-litre petrol four. With 95bhp and 95 lb ft transmitted to the front wheels via a five-speed manual, the 1.4 takes 13.0sec to get to 62mph from standstill.
The Auris has a 2600mm-long wheelbase, which is bigger than the Golf's and not far off the class-leading Ford Focus's. Expect decent interior space, especially in the rear, and Toyota says there's no central tunnel eating up space for rear feet. All that space has been accommodated in a car that's 120mm shorter than the 4340mm-long Focus. Up front, funky touches include a sleek handbrake design seemingly inspired by rail trucks, a swooping dashboard and a high-mounted gearshift.