Europe's New Toyota Auris Is America's Next Corolla iM Hatchback

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New Auris gets a new hybrid drivetrain that won't make the trip to America.

Toyota may have garnered more headlines in the last few months-heck, the last few years-for the reborn Supra it brought to Geneva in race trim, but it wasn't the Japanese automaker's only model on the show floor in Switzerland. The compact Auris, known in the U.S. as the Corolla iM (and briefly as the Scion iM) also graced the stage with a new platform wrapped in sharper bodywork. Don't say Geneva didn't offer something for those of us without seven-figure account balances.

The Auris, a product of Toyota Europe, is all new from the ground up. It starts with the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, which also provides the basic building blocks for the Prius, C-HR, Camry, Avalon, and even Lexus models like the new UX, LC performance coupe, and LS full-size luxury sedan. The current hatchback is powered by a 1.2-liter turbo four-cylinder and 1.8-liter hybrid in Europe, but now it adds another hybrid option to the mix that puts more emphasis on driving fun: a 2.0-liter four paired with an electric motor for a combined output of 180 horsepower. That model also gets paddle shifters to amp up the hatchback a bit. However, none of these engines will likely make it across the Atlantic.

Instead, expect a continuation of the current 1.8-liter gasoline engines here, which Toyota recently reworked for the Corolla during its redesign in in 2013. Aside from that, the new Auris is longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor. Most of its elongated growth has been within the wheelbase, which has opened up the cabin. Even at each end, the Auris has shorter overhangs than before. Still, its face is frighteningly similar to the new Prius and C-HR, neither of which have been overwhelmingly praised by media or the masses. At least it has a presence, though.

"Our primary goal with the new Auris was to create the most bold and dynamic hatchback on the market, without compromising on interior usability," explains Simon Humphries, Executive General Manager, 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." Toyota released no U.S.-specific details, but don't expect the Corolla iM to be updated this year.


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