New Auris better, but better enough?

31 January, 2013 | by Lance Branquinho

New nose a vast improvement.

There’s no diplomatic way of stating this, so we’ll just be blunt: Toyota’s Auris is not a standard to which C-segment hatchbacks are measured.

Despite its success in South African rallying, the soft-nose styling, plainly weird cabin architecture (that shifter mounted atop a flying buttress centre-console) and orange hued instrumentation ensured it was a disappointment to all those who expected a RunX 2.0.

Now there’s a new one and it needs to be doubly-good to redress perceptions. The styling is more angular, which is a godsend considering the melted plastic aesthetic of the first-generation Auris, and they’ve done away with the floating centre-console, placing the shifter on the floor, between the seats, where it should be.

The oddities remain, though. Such as the blue backlighting for infotainment whist aircon controls are highlighted in green…

Equipment discrepancies include the absence of speed-sensitive central locking, which for Toyota, which is a volume retailer in South Africa, remains an unforgiveable oversight.

Lacking independent rear-suspension is hardly the last word in refined cruising and whereas rivals are adding small capacity, forced-induction engines – Toyota persists with its naturally-aspirated petrols. Best of the bunch is probably the 1.6 Xi, 97kW and 160Nm for R217k.

New Auris is an infinitely better car than its predecessor, but that’s not saying much. The wait for a credible RunX successor remains…



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