Ditching the Corolla name for Auris was a move of unprecedented bravery for Toyota. After all, for all its slightly dull connotations, we are talking about the best-selling passenger car range of all time.
But take a look at the specification of the Auris and you’ll quickly conclude that this new model marks a small evolutionary step in the development of the family hatchback.
Dimensionally, it is slightly taller than the norm, but beneath its two-box shape sit a pair of struts for the front suspension, a torsion beam at the back, and 16in alloy wheels covering four disc brakes with the latest ABS and EBD software.
The Auris is a conventional hatchback in a class where history shows that conservatism is rewarded with sales. And it must be said that, unless you have its predecessor at hand for comparison, the Auris – at least in its original form, before its latest smiley-face nose job – does look uncomfortably like a Corolla at first glance.
It’s taller profile helps interior space but doesn’t do the Auris any favours in crosswinds. And a high centre of gravity doesn’t help the Auris’s handling either, making it prone to high levels of body roll. But the biggest problem is the lack of design flair.
The sides are featureless, the front is too doe-eyed – even if a facelift in 2012 brought more angular lights. Place it alongside practically any C-segment hatchback and it will disappear into the scenery.