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.

Matt Burt

Matt Burt

Executive Editor, Autocar
The Auris 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.

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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.

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