It’s not often a family-friendly hatchback gets to muscle in on the limelight among the glamorous concepts and high-powered machines at an international motor show, but the all-new Toyota Auris prompted an enthusiastic media response with its world debut appearance at the Geneva Motor Show. The hot new look that set the cameras whirring is thanks to something that lies beneath the surface: TNGA – the Toyota New Global Architecture – is the key that’s unlocking an exciting new era of Toyota design.
The freedom to produce stronger, more attractive vehicle styling is one of the multiple benefits gained from using the TNGA platform. The new, third-generation Auris follows the Toyota Prius and C-HR in adopting TNGA, which lets the car sit closer to the ground, allowing for a more athletic design to be produced with lower lines all round and a more dynamic profile.
TNGA also defines standard lay-outs for a range of components, such as the foot pedals, driver’s seat and steering column, making the design process much simpler. Where previously, fine millimetre adjustments would be made to perfect the principal interior elements of each new model, the design teams can make their choice from a small number of perfectly defined and effective formats. This doesn’t mean each new Toyota will look much the same; in fact, with most of the shared elements out of sight, it is easier to create a different look and to achieve higher ergonomic performance for ease of use and comfort.
The new model is 40mm longer than the current Auris hatch, thanks entirely to a longer wheelbase. It is 23mm lower and, directly attributable to TNGA, the cowl height is 47mm lower, giving the driver a much-improved field of vision. The exterior styling features contemporary Toyota design cues, including a catamaran-shape generated in the front-end arrangement that flanks a large, trapezoidal grille. This adds more visual weight to the car’s 30mm increase in width. The rear is equally striking, with a rounded treatment to the tailgate, a more steeply raked rear screen and muscular haunches.
Of course, no one outside Toyota has yet had the chance to drive the new Auris, but again, TNGA will be central to improved handling response, stability and comfort, helped by the platform’s low centre of gravity, improved front-to-rear weight balance and significantly increased body rigidity.
Toyota Manufacturing UK’s Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire is the centre for European Auris production, with most of the car’s new engines being supplied from the TMUK plant in Deeside, North Wales. Auris will be the first Toyota model in Europe to be offered with a choice of two hybrid electric powertrains, including a new, higher power 2.0-litre system. TMUK has benefited from £240 million investment to prepare the factory for TNGA vehicle production, including new equipment, technologies, systems and member training.