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Toyota Auris: Restyled, refined

2013-01-29 07:24

SMARTER, SLEEKER TOYOTA AURIS: "The whole package is lighter, the handling and steering are sweeter thanks to tweaks to the suspension and electric power steering."

DAVE FALL

There’s a fresh new model at Toyota dealers right now – the name might be  familiar but the looks are very different. “It’s the Auris, Jim… but not as we know it.”*

There seems to be a fresh new approach to car design at Toyota of late under the watchful eye of president and chief executive Akio Toyoda and the new 86 sports car is a case in point. My goodness, if first impressions count, then the generation 2 Auris is one hell of a good-looker, especially from the front.

‘LIGHTER PACKAGE’

Glenn Crompton, vice-president of marketing, reckons: “It now looks a lot sharper and more distinctive. It’s lower and has a more dynamic stance but the revisions are much more than just skin-deep.

“The whole package is lighter, the handling and steering are sweeter thanks to tweaks to the suspension and electric power steering, and the car generally feels more nimble and responsive.

“It also still rides exceptionally well – if anything, it’s even more compliant.” 

Gallery images

The range for the South African market has been reduced from seven to five due, mainly because of the lack of diesel buyers to warrant their import, but if there’s enough interest you can be sure Toyota will source them on special order from their factory in middle England.

Still to come in the next few weeks is a hybrid petrol/battery version.

Toyota reckons there’s now more space and greater comfort for in the all-new cabin. The fascia has been re-designed and is certainly far more ergonomic within its new instrument binnacle. Controls, switches and levers are intuitive – I just wish they’d (all car companies, that is) standardize one or the other side for the indicator stalk and stick to it!

WHY NOT STANDARD BLUETOOTH?

The new Auris will be available in four ascending spec levels: X, Xi, XS and XR. Prices start at R195 000 and rise to R265 600 and, in the big scheme of things, are most definitely competitive. I must even the entry model appears generously equipped with aircon, power-assisted steering, remote-controlled central locking and a sound system with CD player and USB/iPod connection.

Toyota Auris models and 360 view

I really would have liked to see Bluetooth as standard fare to try to discourage people from driving and talking on a cellphone. Surely Bluetooth is vital for every car?

 Move up to the 1.6 XS mid-grade Auris and additional niceties include display audio, rear parking monitor with camera, six speakers, front sport seats, fog lights and, thank you, aforementioned Bluetooth.

In the flagship XR you really get the works with full leather upholstery, auto aircon, cruise control, front seat-warmers, lumbar support, auto lights, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, keyless entry and push-button ignition.

SIX-SPEED MANUAL

A time-constrained and rather short (especially for Toyota!) test-drive showed the 1.6 to be a little wanting… still, we were up on the Reef and that saps any car’s engine power. No matter, on an open road you’ll need the cruise control (or brakes!) to avoid a ticket for exceeding the national speed limit.

On the return journey into the great metropolis that is Johannesburg I recorded average fuel consumption figures around 6.8 litres/100 km with the 1.6 XR and the (across the range) six-speed manual gearbox.

Potential buyers who might prefer to drive (sort of) auto will have to wait for the flagship constantly variable transmission version which should be available from the end of February.

*OK, all you 'Trekkers' out there. We know the line was never used in 'Star Trek', but it was too good not to use. - Ed.

PRICES (VAT included)
Auris 1.3 X - R195 000
Auris 1.6 Xi - R217 500
Auris 1.6 XS - R228 600
Auris 1.6 XR - R253 200
Auris 1.6 XR CVT - R265 600

The cars come with a three-year or 100 000km warranty, five-year or 90 000km service plan and ToyotaCare 24-hour roadside assistance.

2013 Toyota Auris specifications

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Read more on:    gauteng  |  johannesburg art gallery  |  launch  |  toyota  |  auris  |  2013

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