Evolution rather than revolution with Auris
First impressions are that this car is an evolutionary upgrade rather than a revolution
Toyota Auris 1.4 D-4D Luna
Model:Auris 1.4 D-4D Luna
Date Reviewed:May 23, 2013
ROAD TEST: "The best built cars in the world,” is the pitch that drove thousands of Irish motorists to put their money in Toyotas for the past 40 years. It was ingenious, playing on the strengths of the Japanese brand at a time when it was common to see sleeker and sportier cars sitting by the side of the road, steam rolling out from under their bonnets.
Toyota had a bumpy road in recent years but it’s back with a bang. Profits have hit five-year highs and the production lines are humming. Yet there is a promise of more change with the motoring behemoth.
The issue, as evinced by its current boss, is that for all its success – becoming the world’s biggest car producer and a benchmark for manufacturing production of every type – the brand has lacked passion.
The scion of the Toyoda family who now runs the firm, Akio is honest about the firm’s public perception and ambitious. If anyone can deliver a new-look Toyota, he can.
And he has a solid foundation. The big- selling models may not set pulses racing, but the Land Cruiser remains one of the best cars ever built, while the new GT-86 revives its sports car heritage. Yet these are peripheral models with limited market appeal: the real change must take place at its conservative core.
So what does the new Auris say about Akio’s Toyota? First impressions are that it’s an evolutionary upgrade rather than a revolution. Lines are a little sharper, the creases a little crisper and the front nose design a little softer, yet it doesn’t look very different from the outgoing Auris. That said, in this relatively conservative segment of the market all the competitors seem to have morphed into the same look. From the Ford Focus to the VW Golf and recent Korean arrivals, the hatchback market doesn’t offer much in the way of revolutionary design.
The biggest revamp is inside, where Toyota has taken on board criticism of the cheaper plastics and finish on the original Auris. This is a big improvement on the outgoing model, in function and finish.
The controls are not as complex as its Ford rival, but that could be regarded as a boon. For all the extra features in the Focus range, its central console and steering wheel is too cluttered with fiddly buttons and tiddly switches. The Auris controls quickly become easy to use without taking your eyes off the road.