All about the booty
The kids say its ‘aurisome’, but ALWYN VILJOEN has quibbles with the quirky Toyota Auris Rx
WHEN former Witness motoring editor Dave Fall first laid eyes on the Auris earlier this year, his reaction was: “My goodness, if first impressions count, then the generation 2 Auris is one hell of a good-looker, especially from the front.”
My first impression, unfortunately, was from the rear. Not that the Auris has a bad ass. But there are a lot of lines and curves going on back there. Clearly the Auris then, is designed for people who can appreciate Miss Kardashian’s oiled shape, of whom there are about 160 a month, according to sales of this hatch.
Toyota is quite proud of how the Auris is faring in a market where dads desperately need boot space and perhaps a modicum of good looks.
“The Auris is a relevant model despite a limited engine repertoire and a plethora of competitors. There are currently 17 hatch ranges — from bread-and-butter to premium — all trying to woo the same customer. Auris achieves a 10% share of the C-segment hatch market which equates to an average of 160 units per month,” read the website.
Drivetrains and handling
As before, the new Auris is available with three powertrains:
• a 1,3 petrol making 73 kW at 6 000 rpm and 128 Nm of torque at 3 800 rpm;
• 1,6 petrol making 97 kW at 6 400 rpm and 160 Nm of torque at 4 400 rpm; and
• a 1,8 Hybrid making 100 kW and 142 Nm. (The hybrid gets a make-over in September).
A six-speed manual or CVT sends power to the front wheels.
On an up-and-down run to the Reef from Maritzburg, the best I got was 6,7 km/l, even after crawling along in the pea soup mist that makes the N3 so dangerous this time of the year. By comparison, my ageing 1,9 turbo diesel gave 4,2 l/100 km with the same conditions and load.
Overtaking from 80 to 100 takes 10 seconds on the Highveld. The 1,6 is not an engine you want to go dicing with, in other words.
But this is a car with a big boot for families in city traffic, not for racing. It is happiest on city streets too.
Glenn Crompton, vice-president of marketing, enthused about the “sharp and responsive ride in the Auris” and he would be right. There is a lot of feedback from the small 16-inch wheels and the power steering is well weighted for legal speeds.
The suspension is also tuned for legal speeds — perhaps a bit firm over the potholes, smooth on the highway.
The new Auris comes in four ascending spec levels: X, Xi, XS and XR. Prices start at close to a quarter of a million for the 1,3 X, which is good only on the coast; and quickly go up to R361 800 for the diesel.
I had the top-of-the-range Rx model on test, which comes with all the knobs.
When Fall reported after the launch in January, Bluetooth was not standard across the range. It is now, which shows Toyota listens to its buyers.
Not that I got to test this feature. After bragging how Toyota’s Bluetooth system links in three clicks to my smartphone in various models, I could not get the multimedia system in the new Auris to pair with my Sony.
Additional niceties include a rear parking camera, six speakers, front sport seats, leather upholstery, cruise control, front seatwarmers, auto lights, push-button ignition and electro-chromatic rear-view mirror. That mirror, by the way, is huge and does get in the way when you are peering about for addresses.
Prices and competition
The Auris has two selling points, that 360-litre boot and what Toyota calls “decidedly piquant exterior styling”.
At a braai, the kids loved the curvy boot so much, they literally set up house in it.
They said the Auris is aurisome, and who can argue with that? Other big-booty contenders include the Nissan Almera, which has much blander design, but a 490-litre boot, as well as Toyota’s budget-buy, the madein-Prospecton Quest.
This older-shape Corolla also comes with the new Corolla 1,6 engine, but sells from R183 900.
For those looking for boot space at the best price, the two Almera models win hand down, both at well under R200k.
For the converted Toyota fans who just want the reassurance of a dealer in every dorp, the Quest ticks all boxes. But for the couple who are already planning their next tattoos using the kids names, the Auris has the right inyour-face styling.
The new Auris has a three-year or 100 000 km warranty and a five-year or 90 000 km service plan. All models have the 24hour ToyotaCare.
Auris 1.3 X R223 700
Auris 1.6 Xi R249 100
Auris 1.6 XS R259 800
Auris 1.6 XR R287 700
Auris XR CVT R301 700
Auris 1.8 Hybrid R661 800.
The Auris has what Toyota calls ‘decidedly piquant exterior styling’. It is not for the shy or wanna-go fast driver.