X marks the spot

2010-03-27 11:07

FOR

the past few years Toyota ­enthusiasts have yearned for something to make their

hearts race again since the RunX range was ­replaced with the Auris in 2007.

Toyota

South Africa has recently launched the five-door Auris X as a revised model

range to take on the Golf VI, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Mazda 3

hatchbacks.

After

being in the spotlight for its recent global recall of certain models, the Auris

might bring some redemption to the company.

To

prove the durability and chassis build of the new Auris, Toyota SA allowed us to

put the cars through their paces on some courses at the ­Aldo Scribante Race

Circuit in Port Elizabeth.

While the cars were quite

capable on the gymkhana and rally courses, I am ­embarrassed to admit that my

clocked times and skills were rather ­pathetic. Sadly, there were no practice

runs or second chances.

Even

during longer rides, the ­Auris delivered a smooth drive and sufficient

handling. Our destination ended in the middle of Zuur-berg, with the last

stretch being a 16km gravel road.

If

one didn’t know better, one would think it was a small sports utility vehicle,

the way it drove so comfortably off road.

The

most notable change in the new Auris X line-up is the introduction across the

range of Toyota’s ­optimal drive technology.

The

range is available in six models and three engines which are all mated with a

six-speed manual transmission for optimised efficiency.

There

are also three specification levels offered with the Auris X and XI models

applicable to the 1.3- and 1.6-litre derivatives. The existing 1.4-litre engine

is ­replaced with the new 1.3-litre ­engine introduced in the Corolla in

2009.

The

1.6-litre mid-specification model is called the Auris XS, while the

top-of-the-range model is the ­Auris XR.

The

2.0-litre diesel models fall under the mid-spec level of the Auris XS and

carries the XD badge.

There

is also the new Auris SportX model sports side, front and rear skirts, ­together

with its SportX badging as well as customised carpets.

The

“Valvematic” system, a further development of Toyota’s Dual-Valve

Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) technology, provides a signi­ficant reduction in

frictional losses on the 1.6-litre. Apart from a redesigned bonnet, bumper,

radiator grille, front spoiler and headlamps, the side mirrors now incorporate a

turn ­indicator. The rear includes a redesigned bumper, tail-light cluster, roof

spoiler, number plate surround and radio antenna.


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