TOYOTA SAYS: Toyota South Africa has introduced a revised model range with a distinct sporty flair for the Auris-range, now referred to as the Auris X range. The most notable change in the new Auris X line-up is the introduction across the range of Toyota’s Optimal Drive Technology. The new 97 kW 1.6 litre Valvematic engine, fitted to certain models in the Auris X range as an element of Toyota’s Optimal Drive strategy, has the distinction of offering the highest power for a naturally aspirated engine in its class in South Africa.
Optimal Drive encompasses a number of advanced engine technologies from Toyota that focus on maximising power and responsiveness, and thus imparting a more sporty character and enhanced driving appeal, while at the same time minimising fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. At the core of Optimal Drive technology is a drive to reduce the both the weight and overall size of both engines and transmissions while enhancing overall performance.
Detailed attention has also been given to reducing mechanical losses by adopting new lower friction technologies and by using lighter weight components. Toyota’s “Valvematic” technology, a further development of Toyota’s Dual Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) first introduced in 2006, together with new roller rocker technology provide a significant reduction in frictional losses on the 1.6 litre engine.
The third element of the Optimal Drive strategy is the optimisation of combustion efficiency. This is achieved through the use of a high compression ratio and the refinement of intake port and combustion chamber design.
New generation 6-speed manual transmissions are adopted across the Auris X range as an element of Toyota’s Optimal Drive strategy.
The introduction of Optimal Drive Technology to the Auris X, and in particular the latest generation highly efficient 1.6 litre engine on specific models, supports a new, more sporty persona, for the Auris X. Maximum power of 97 kW and peak torque of 160 Nm combines with revised exterior and interior treatments to introduce a new level of excitement to the Auris X range. This new, more outgoing, image is especially evident in a new addition to the range, the Auris SportX.
The existing 1.4 litre engine is replaced with the new 1.3 litre Optimal Drive technology engine introduced in the Corolla during 2009. This compact, lightweight, and highly efficient engine has maximum power of 74 kW, up 3 kW on the 1.4 litre engine and peak torque of 132 Nm, up 2 Nm on the engine it replaces.
The 2.0 litre D-4D engine is revised to embrace Optimal Drive technology and offers maximum power of 93 kW with maximum torque of 310 Nm, up 10 Nm on the previous model.
Together with the move to Toyota’s latest generation of engines comes a realignment and rationalisation of the range. In place of the nine model range introduced at launch of the Auris X is a more focused six model line up that offers a range of 1.3 litres (petrol), 1.6 litres (petrol) and 2.0 litres (diesel) engines.
Also new are the model designations with three core specification levels, base, mid, and high, adopted for the new range. The 1.3 derivative is designated the Auris X, the 1.6 litre base level specification is designated Auris XI and the mid-grade specification 1.6 model is designated Auris XS. The Auris SportX shares essentially the same specification level as Auris XS model but features a number of accessories in line with its sporty character. The 2.0 litre D-4D model also shares this mid-grade specification level and is designated Auris XD. The top-of-the-range model, powered by the 1.6 litre petrol engine, is designated Auris XR.
The latest Auris X is differentiated by a number of external changes that project a wider stance for the vehicle with a stronger presence on the road. New elements at the front include revised styling for the bonnet, front bumper, radiator grille, front spoiler and headlamp cluster. Side mirrors now incorporate a turn indicator.
At the rear upgrades include revised styling for the bumper, tail light cluster, roof spoiler, number plate surround, and radio antenna. A new alloy wheel design is applied to the Auris XS and Auris XR derivatives. The bumper design adds 25mm to the length of the Auris X range while width and height remain the same.
Externally the Auris SportX is differentiated by an aero kit that includes side skirts, a front skirt, and a rear skirt together with its SportX badging. Customised carpets are also added to the SportX derivative.
Out of view, on the underside of the vehicle a number of improvements have been incorporated to improve aerodynamic performance. Included are under covers for the engine, a side cover for the fuel tank, a rear underfloor cover, and rear spats. Fin-shaped spats are fitted ahead of the front wheels and act to enhance brake cooling and smooth the flow of air around the front wheels for improved aero performance.
In the interior soft-touch finishes are applied to the glove box and area above the instrument panel. Metallic finishes are available across the range and use a higher gloss finish rather than the matt finish used previously. Striking grey coloured stitching on the door panels provides enhanced visual appeal on the Auris XS, Auris SportX, Auris XR and Auris XD derivatives. Upholstery materials are revised.
Driver ergonomics are improved by the adoption of a revised square-bottomed shape for the steering wheel. Satellite controls for the audio unit, Bluetooth and Multi-info display are fitted across the range. The position of the handbrake is also revised to a more driver friendly position.
Optitron instrumentation with white illumination is fitted to the Auris XS, Auris XR, Auris XD, and Auris SportX models. An external audio connector (USB/AUX) is added inside the glove box to add to driver entertainment.
Together the significant mechanical changes, styling revisions, and aero improvements add a new element of excitement to the Auris X range with improved performance, looks and improved efficiency.