Toyota Motor Corp. is putting its focus once again on design and driving dynamics. Marking the start of this change is the new Auris hatchback, which is styled to have an angular "keen” appearance. The Auris hatchback, which is a Corolla offshoot, has an edgier look and offers better handling, due partly to a lower center of gravity, a stiffer body, more responsive steering and a double-wishbone rear suspension.
There are online reports that the Europe-Japan nameplate may be the successor to the Matrix in the U.S. The Matrix is aging and is based on the old-generation MC platform that was used on three generations of U.S.-spec Corollas.
In comparison, the second-generation Auris that had its launch last month in Japan is built on a new-generation MC platform that is used by the Corolla version available in Europe and China.
When asked if this will lead into a next-generation Matrix, Toyota chief engineer Hiroya Fujita replied “No.” Fujita had overseen the design of the Matrix and the Japan-spec Corolla, which uses a platform that’s different from the Matrix/European Corolla and the U.S. Corolla.
Fujita was recently at a test drive for the Auris at a location near Mount Fuji. He denied that this car would be offered in the U.S. as the next Matrix. The reason he gave is that the demand for hatchbacks in the U.S. is too low.
He refused to say what the Matrix replacement is. This may mean that the Matrix line will be discontinued. However, this doesn’t instantly mean that the Auris won't be available in the U.S. When the Corolla sedan is revived in 2013, it’s possible that its styling features and maybe even its platform will reappear.
The new Toyota Auris comes with a new exterior design, taking aerodynamic performance to a whole new level and at the same time, contributing to the improvement handling stability and fuel-efficiency.
Its overall height is reduced by 55 mm and it comes with a 4% reduction of its frontal surface area that assists in reducing wind resistance. The new Auris has a new, stepped roof profile that flows flawlessly from the lower bonnet line to the steeply raked windscreen, reducing drag. The rear spoiler, on the other hand, is fully integrated into the rear roofline and seamlessly connects with the rear pillar. This design helps minimize turbulence in air flowing towards the rear of the vehicle.
Since the ride height has been lowered by 10 mm, it is also reasonable that equal attention is given to ensure that air flows smoothly beneath the new Auris. To maximize aerodynamic efficiency, the underfloor is composed of a front spoiler, a lower absorber, an engine undercover, front spats, center floor undercovers, tank side floor undercovers, a rear floor undercover and rear spats. Wing-shaped vertical wings positioned at the center and rear floor undercovers ensure smooth air flow under the vehicle, enhancing aerodynamic performance and improving handling and high-speed stability.
All these comprehensive aerodynamic measures on the new Toyota Auris reduces coefficient of drag from Cd 0.292 to Cd 0.28.