Toyota has begun testing a new Auris-based crossover ahead of a launch penciled in for 2017.
This is a burgeoning sector and many manufacturers are piling in to make the most of the colliding trends of downsizing and the shift to taller, sportier-looking SUVs.
Toyota Auris 4x4: the spy photos
What you see here is an early engineering mule for Toyota’s new baby crossover, which will slot beneath the RAV4 in the company’s range.
Our spyshots reveal an Auris-based design, but closer inspection confirms this car has a higher ride height.
Photographers at the Nurburgring, where these shots were taken, claim that the rear axle is driven. These pictures don’t show a rear differential or driveshafts, but we’ll take their word for it.
An Auris 4x4
Toyota offers a four-wheel drive option on the Auris in Japan, but this has not made its way over to the UK, yet…
It is thought likely that Toyota will offer its forthcoming baby crossover in two- and four-wheel drive forms. Doing this enables manufacturers to offer a lower lead-in price point – as well as trimming fuel bills and carbon emissions.
It is unclear at this point whether the Auris’s smooth Hybrid Synergy Drive petrol-electric system will be offered on the SUV. But bearing in mind the company’s advantage and reputation built on hybrid cars, we wouldn’t bet against it.