By on May 2, 2014
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Auris Touring Sports. Full gallery here.

In a post by our managing editor about that part of the European automotive market referred to as the “C segment”, what Americans would call compact cars, some of our readers commented on how “Toyota Corolla” means different things in different parts of the world. In Europe, Toyota sells a Corolla branded car based on its subcompact platform. The car that Toyota sells in Europe that is most comparable to the North American Corolla is called the Auris there. While built on the same platform, the Auris comes with a multilink independent rear suspension, while the U.S. spec Corolla gets a less sophisticated torsion beam setup in back. At the ride & drive for the launch of the 2014 Corolla that I attended a few months ago I asked Paul Holdridge, vice president of sales for Toyota Division, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, how come Europe gets IRS and we don’t. Holdridge said it had to do with differing driving styles, needs and expectations of American and European consumers. One might thing that means that American drivers don’t care that much about better handling, but it seems to me that the differences between the Auris and the U.S. spec Corolla may have more to do with the expectations of Europeans, than American driving styles.

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Auris suspension

While reading through the comments on Derek’s post that contrast the Auris to the North American Corolla, it occurred to me that while our readers were surmising the differences between the two related Toyotas, I actually can speak to the topic. In the span of a couple of months last autumn I had the chance to drive the latest U.S. spec Corolla and a couple of 2012 Auris models sold in Europe. As a matter of fact, when I attended Toyota’s Hybrid World Tour event, which brought together all of the hybrid models that Toyota sells around the world, I specifically test drove both the Auris Touring Sports station wagon and 5 door hatchback Auris that they had for us to sample because Derek and I discussed possibly doing a capsule review of the Euro ‘Corolla’.

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Auris Touring Sports. Full gallery here.

As it worked out, other things had higher priorities, so that review never got written, which is probably fortuitous because soon afterwards I had the opportunity to attend the aforementioned Corolla ride & drive, allowing me to better make a comparison between the North American Corolla and the Auris. You can read my TTAC review of the 2014 Corolla here.

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Auris Touring Sports. Full gallery here.

After seeing that people are indeed interested in comparing the Auris to the Corolla, I went back to the archives and dug up my audio notes from the Auris drives. First, a caveat must be made. This is going to be an apples and oranges kind of comparison. The 2014 Corollas that I drove all had conventional powerplants and braking systems while the Aurises had the 1.8 liter ICE version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive with a total of 136 horsepower. As with other HSD Toyotas, both Aurises had regenerative braking. Another difference was that the Corollas were sedans while the Aurises both had hatches, with one being a longer station wagon. The driving experiences were different too. The Corolla event was a typical ride & drive, where I could take a car on my choice of routes up to about 30 miles. At the Hybrid World Tour, on the first day we could take the cars on a similar loop as you’d find on a ride & drive but on the second day we were also able to drive the cars on handling and high speed courses at Aisin’s test track near Fowlerville, Michigan.

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Auris Touring Sports. Full gallery here.

The track day now also seems to have been fortuitous since most of the interest in comparing the two cars seems to be centered on the rear suspensions and how that affects handling.

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Auris Touring Sports. Full gallery here.

Before I get into any differences between the Corolla and Auris, first let me say that the cars are indeed similar. There’s a familial resemblance on the outside as well as the inside, with the new Corolla featuring a dashboard obviously influenced by the Auris. Controls are also similar. The Auris cars had leather upholstery and other interior trim comparable to the higher trim lines on the Corolla.

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Auris Hatchback. Full gallery here.

You want to know, though, how the Auris handles compared to the Corolla. Both the Auris hatch and wagon have good mechanical grip and hold the driving line well. Turn in is sharp and steering feel is good at lower speeds, though at freeway speeds there is significantly less feel. My audio notes say that the 5-door hatch’s steering isn’t quite as crisp as the wagon’s, but both Auris cars react quickly to steering inputs and seemed to have a bit more steering feel than the Corolla.

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Auris Hatchback. Full gallery here.

One of the design goals of the redesigned 2014 Corolla was to give the car better driving dynamics. Toyota doesn’t want to be seen as the maker of boring cars. The new Corolla’s rear suspension had been tweaked towards that end, with relocated shock absorbers. In the end, though, the Auris’ more sophisticated rear suspension yields better handling. How much better? Enough that an enthusiast or car reviewer would notice, but I’m not convinced that an average consumer on either continent would find the difference dramatic.

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Click on the settings icon to watch the video in 2D or your choice of 3D formats

It’s not a night and day kind of contrast. I’d say that the difference in handling between the Auris and the Corolla S is about the same delta as between the Corolla S and the less sporting Corolla LE. Ride quality went in the other direction, with the Corolla LE being the most comfortable and the Auris having the firmest ride. The two Auris models handled very similarly, though the 5-door had a bit busier ride than the wagon.

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Auris Hatchback. Full gallery here.

When I asked the Toyota rep about why America gets the Corolla without IRS and was told that they tailor models to markets my initial thought was that Toyota product planners don’t think Americans can appreciate a more sophisticated, better handling car. Upon reflection, considering the less than dramatic difference in the way the Auris handles compared to the Corolla, it seems to me that which rear suspension Toyota chooses for which market may have more to do with European expectations than with those of Americans. Europeans may expect IRS, even if in the case of the Corolla platform it doesn’t make a dramatic difference in rear world performance.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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84 Comments on “Toyota Corolla and Auris Comparo – How Much Difference Does IRS Make?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Is the Touring Sports available with a manual trans and a diesel engine?

    No wait, don’t tell me, you’ll just break my heart.

    • 0 avatar
      b787

      Yes, you have a choice between 1.4 and 2.0 diesel, both are exclusively manual. On top of that, it is also available in brown.

      • 0 avatar
        Johannes Dutch

        Coming to a showroom near you pretty soon: an Auris with a 1.6 (and probably 2.0) BMW diesel.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          The showroom is not near me. That’s why it’s the forbidden fruit.

          Yummy torque!

          • 0 avatar
            Johannes Dutch

            @ Luke. It’s part of a business-deal between BMW and Toyota. Toyota’s excellent hybrid technology and BMW’s excellent and very powerful diesel engines. So there you go. No need for Toyota anymore to develop a new generation of diesels for the Euro-market only.

            Toyota’s car diesels are OK but not on a par anymore with the latest diesels from Germany, France and Italy.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        What does that 2.0 put down? A scorching 100HP? 110?

        • 0 avatar
          Johannes Dutch

          Toyota 2.0 D4D engine: 126 hp, torque 229 lb-ft between 1,600 and 2,200 rpm.

          More than adequate for such a compact car.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Johannes Dutch
            I disagree with you regarding the 2 litre Toyota diesels. This engine will suffice in a Corolla, but it’s performance is quite outdated in relation to it’s FE.

            A 2 litre VW diesel in our Amarok’s develop around 132kw and 420nm of torque or in US speak about 170hp and 320ftlb of torque.

            Now a 2 litre diesel like this would make the little Toyo sing.

            I think BMW’s input into Toyota will bring Toyota diesel engines into the 21st century.

            Almost all Toyota diesels are very poor in the performance department. Euro diesels reign in my mind, German and some of the Ford UK diesels.

          • 0 avatar
            Johannes Dutch

            @ Al from Australia, I don’t think we disagree….

            Toyota’s 2.0 D4D is still OK for a compact car, but that’s not enough anymore.

            Compare it to anything new with a Fiat or BMW 2.0 diesel, now then you’re talking state of the art 21th century diesels, just like you say.

          • 0 avatar
            b787

            2.0 D4-D is only available as a low-output version, while the high-output 2.2 from the same engine family develops 175hp. Fuel economy is indeed notably worse than EU competition, especially BMW.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @sportyaccordy

          My 96HP Jetta TDI was the fastest car I ever owned. When it ran.

          It had 196 ft-lb of torque and a sporty suspension, though. It wasn’t going to win any drag races, but it would hold 80+mph while climbing a mountain and passing a line “more powerful” vehicles.

          Alas, it was a Volkswagen and so it actually ran about half the time I owned it. It was a piece of $#!t, and I still miss it.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “One might thing that means that American drivers don’t care that much about better handling”

    Americans won’t pay for it.

    In Germany, an Auris with a 1.6-liter 130 hp gas motor and manual has a sticker price of over $23,000 (not including VAT.)

    In the US, a Corolla with a 1.8-liter 132 hp gas motor and manual starts at around $17,000 (not including sales tax.)

    If that US rear suspension costs even a little bit less, then that helps the Corolla to hit its price point. European buyers will absorb more of the expense in the form of higher prices or by buying a less powerful version, while Americans will get more value engineering and aren’t expected to trade horsepower.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Exactly right. And the categories of buyers are likely different.

      In the US, a car like the Corolla is cheap new transportation.

      In Europe, car ownership is implicitly more expensive, so a car like the Auris is more likely purchased by people with a bit more income.

      My guess is that the Corolla is more often purchased as a second or third car, while Auris is more often purchased as the sole family vehicle.

      If anyone has stats that support this or say otherwise, I would love to see them.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      Sadly when the price is cut down to the bone like this we end up with far fewer choices when it comes to body styles, engines and transmissions. The consumer becomes ‘the market’ a bit too much and we’re all stuck with (cheap) compromise cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        We get fewer choices, but we also get more for our money and don’t have as much nickel-and-diming.

        We also get more horsepower. It’s possible to buy an Auris in Germany that costs less than $23+k plus tax, but it will be a sub-100 hp car. That sort of output just won’t fly in the US.

        • 0 avatar
          Advance_92

          Too bad consumers can’t make that call themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            They’re voting with their dollars (in this case by withholding them.)

            To put it another way, these features can’t be offered at a profit without hefty price increases. The fact that there are few people who are willing to pay those higher prices suggests that the demand is not really there. People only want those features if they don’t have to pay enough to cover the cost.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Chicken and egg. We don’t get to make the choice, other than by choosing a different car entirely. We don’t actually get to choose, as the choices are pre-determined.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There’s no chicken-egg issue. TMC is familiar with both markets, and is making adjustments based upon its experience and demand.

            It’s no secret in the auto industry that the US has lower price points. It’s no secret that you can’t offer a low-power engine to Americans and expect to make many sales. It’s no secret that few Americans will pay a premium to get a bit better handling from a mundane compact family car.

            If the cost of a feature can’t be passed on to the customer, then the feature won’t be offered. They have more than a little bit of information that helps with knowing which features will matter, and which ones won’t.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Advance_92
            Especially when the company takes away freedom of choice. You have no say what maybe better.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Especially when the company takes away freedom of choice. You have no say what maybe better.”

            There are plenty of cars available in the same segment that do offer full IRS and do handle notably well. Consumers do have these choices available to them. If Toyota felt there was a worthwhile business case to chase the sales of the minutia of the market that cares at all what type of suspension their car has, they would have. It would have been easy as this article shows us. They even have the components designed.

            That said, if the cars in this segment with sportier suspensions suddenly blow the Corolla away in sales, you bet Toyota will take notice and make some changes. For now, I don’t think grandma will be doing much corner carving in the retirement village, so the twist beam is probably sufficient.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Pch101
      Your statement;
      “If that US rear suspension costs even a little bit less, then that helps the Corolla to hit its price point. European buyers will absorb more of the expense in the form of higher prices or by buying a less powerful version, while Americans will get more value engineering and aren’t expected to trade horsepower.”

      I agree with attempting to bring the Corolla into the US at a lower price point.

      However, I don’t agree with the “more value engineering”. What is more value engineering?

      It is cheaper engineering. Are you attempting to make a positive out of a negative?

      The Europeans are prepared to pay more for a less powerful version?

      What a load of garbage. Again trying to justify the “US experience” of less and again attempting to make it sound more.

      Face it the Euro Corolla is a better vehicle overall than the US version which is built more to a price point.

      A diesel if a better engine for cruising Autoroutes, Autostradas and Autobahns.

      I drove a diesel Yaris last year in the EU and I found it to be better than our petrol Yaris’s at high speeds on the EU highways and in the mountains.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        “I drove a diesel Yaris last year in the EU and I found it to be better than our petrol Yaris’s at high speeds on the EU highways and in the mountains.”

        Nothing a more powerful petrol engine couldn’t fix….

        A 90hp petrol may be less rewarding to some than a 90hp diesel. Not really me, particularly in a manual, but I can understand where that sentiment is coming from. But compare instead a 200 ft-lb petrol vs ditto diesel… and back to the farm the farm engine goes..

        I’m not against diesels. I’m willing to take a huge hit on performance in a boat to get the diesel option, for example. And fully understand their utility in long haul trucks and the like. But those applications play to their strength, which is to comfortably go on forever at a fairly constant output that is not too far shy of their peak. In a passenger car, I prefer engines that normally use a smaller percentage of output, but have extra in reserve at the flick of a shift lever. Coaxing that out of diesels is possible, as BMW and others have shown, but in the process virtually all the positives of diesels are lost, while the negatives are amplified.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @stuki
          Engines suit different applications. I think diesel is suitable for 99% of driving.

          I love a high powered gasoline engine, but how often are you racing a car when driving, especially in a Yaris.

          I didn’t need to have the quickest vehicle at traffic lights.

          The kind of driving I was doing was touring, not racing. On the highways the diesel just sat on 150kph and in the mountains it just ‘idled’ through them.

          FE, even though cost isn’t that significant in France especially diesel was relatively cheap.

          Diesel seems to be a better engine for continual high speed driving.

          Even where I live a diesel is best, not only because its the most prevalent fuel, but once in top you just set the cruise. Even with a manual transmission the diesel with the cruise set doesn’t slow down.

          High speed driving and touring is great with a diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            I my world, unless roads are completely straight, as in Nullabor straight, high speed and constant speed are mutually exclusive….. But I admit to a misspent youth street racing high rpm ricers. Unless you are driving with a group, it’s easy to mistake a diesel for being powerful and fast, since they do give a bit of a kick whenever you hit the gas, whereas a gasser tends to respond more softly. But then the gasser keeps building, while the diesel just peters out and dies. And frustrates the heck out of you, if you are trying to hang with a car with more top end.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Why drive cost into something your customers don’t value? Most Americans and/or Corolla customers probably don’t know or care how the suspension is made. In the US, Corolla is a value economy car where efficiency and low cost of ownership are key selling points. It is a daily driver penalty box. The IRS is a place you send tax money.

    In the rest of the world, it is likely a mid-size car that is used differently. ROW customers have different quality requirements for C-segment cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Could you say that for similar purposes, we’re getting a bigger car for the same money? Europe’s value economy car Corolla is a B segment car, not the Aura. Instead of comparing similar size, compare similar purpose, and we come out ahead. See, our American fat butts are good for something – getting us more car for the money!

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @LeManssteve,
      It is a value economy car here and in Europe, but the more expensive cars can be the same size.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “It is a daily driver penalty box.”

      It certainly is not that to us old folks.
      We remember vastly worse.

  • avatar
    raph

    The Corolla only comes with a torsion beam. How could this be? No mode of transportation should be bereft of the most significant advancement in the entire history of locomotion! If the dinosaurs would have been equipped with an IRS they would still be alive today!

    “Europeans may expect IRS, even if in the case of the Corolla platform it doesn’t make a dramatic difference in rear world performance.”

    The keyboard engineers and armchair vehicle dynamics experts of the world wide interwebz say your wrong mister!

    Toyota is in serious trouble as a litany of spinal injuries and wrongful death suits are hanging in the wings.

    Think of the kids America! Think of America Toyota! Think of the world world!

    Disclaimer: My reaction is solely based on the bleating of Mustang aficionados who felt inadequate due to the vehicle of choice having not been equipped with an IRS on the majority of Mustangs over the course of 49 years.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      i wouldnt think IRS matters that much on a smooth track surface

      now make the road rough or uneven or anything complex or put on imperfections

      i like the looks of the wagon but would want a decent sized engine like a 2.0 four petrol or a 1.6 turbo

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Well you don’t get any camber gain so I guess there is that.

        I recently read a blurb by one of the guys who ran Ford’s recent factory effort and he said the car wasn’t particularly adept in the mid corners (to the point other cars would kiss the Mustang’s bumper in a turn) so the strategy was to dive in, slide a bit to get the car straightened out and nail the pedal on the exit so the car could do what it could do best accelerate.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        “now make the road rough or uneven or anything complex or put on imperfections”

        Particularly if the power is going to that solid axle. But that’s a discussion for tender Mustang owners and not for a discussion of twenty years of decontenting compact cars in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      According to a nearby liquor store, the dinosaurs didn’t drink beer, and now they’re extinct. The liquor store ad is silent on independent rear suspension.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Would IRS reduce the amount of trunk space, interior room or fuel tank size available?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Yes, no and maybe.

      The torsion beam is pretty compact, which is why you’ll see it in minivans. Depending on the location of the fuel tank, it’ll help a bit there. Rear-seat space is usually a function of the wheelbase, but it does matter in cars like (again) minivans or the Honda Fit, where the floor is very low.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        psar: “Yes, no and maybe.”

        Thanks! :)

        raph: “… IRS actually improves space…”

        Maybe that was unique-ish to the Mustang.

        Anyway, my thinking is, I have driven IRS cars and I think I can notice a difference in handling BUT in a car the size of a Corolla, eating away at usable interior volume or fuel tank size would be more of a problem for the typical consumer than the difference in handling.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          In all honesty, the other, big, reason is cost. Torsion beams are cheaper, and that’s a big factor in a utilitarian vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          tankinbeans

          The difference in tank size would make for some comical advertising piggy-backing on the recent idiotic trend of telling a consumer how far a vehicle will travel per tank, as if that really tells anybody anything useful.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yes, which is why torsion beam rears are popular in smaller cars to begin with.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        I’ve been told that IRS actually improves space as a torsion beam like any live axle takes up a fair bit of real estate due to the range of space need to accommodate its motion.

        The 2015 Mustang is able to gain some interior volume and lower the rear deck because of the switch to IRS.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          A Mustang’s live rear axle is a much bigger thing than the lithe little twist beam in a front-drive Corolla.

          In that case, yes, IRS is probably more compact.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I didn’t notice a difference between the regular Jetta and GLI before they made the Jetta all IRS again.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Ironically, the Honda Civic for the N/A market has a multilink rear, while the Euro/Asian Civic has the torsion-beam rear. (Yes, the hot-hatch Type-S, which, IIRC, has a turbo VTEC four-banger.)

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    The Auris Touring Sports looks a damn site better than just-killed Matrix. A shame they couldn’t let us partake in this as well. I get their reasoning (“take a Yaris hatch or move up to RAV4 and all its glorious additional profit margin”), but still. The 03-08 Matrix sold well enough. There’s now they just let Mazda3, Ford Focus, and Impreza have all volume. Seems like it’d be a relatively minor incremental cost to bring over this additional body style. You know the Canadians would love it, too.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Real Americans don’t need no frilly sh1t like IRS.

    Can I quick grab that slot in the Hooters lot that just opened up?
    Good enough.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Dear Toyota,

    I would buy that wagon. Even without a diesel or stick and unavailable in brown.

    Sincerely,
    KixStart

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Furonto: makufuahson sutoratto

    Riya: daburu uisshiubon

    Slightly weird katakana, ne?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    When did Toyota Corolla switch to a torsion beam suspension for the rear?

  • avatar
    CARL11

    what kind of an outfit would make such handling comparisons in parking lot? Real world mountain roads would show the real difference.

    • 0 avatar

      It wasn’t a parking lot. I drove the Aurises on the handling and obstacle avoidance courses laid out inside the skid pad at Aisin’s Fowlerville test track. I also drove them on the high speed oval there and was able to drive the Auris wagon on public roads in and around Ypsilanti, Michigan. I drove the Corolla on public roads in and around Minneapolis, Minnesota. While I didn’t get to drive the Corolla on the same test track, I do think I got enough time behind the wheel of both the Corolla and Auris to be able to compare how they handled. That’s a purely subjective assessment, not one based on instruments and stopwatches.

      My guess is that while car companies indeed use real-world testing on public roads, the bulk of the development work on today’s cars is done on test tracks, not public roads.

      However, if Toyota wants to fly me to California and see how the Lexus LFA handles on the Pacific Coast Highway and in the canyons near LA, I’m game.

  • avatar
    Baldpeak

    These are boring, safe, front-heavy cars. How often do you drive a car like this and find that mid powerslide you’re thinking “whoa the rear-end is a bit squirrely! I could use more grip at the rear!”. It’s just hard to believe it does much of anything to improve handling when the performance is so vastly limited by the front tires. I’m sure it improves ride comfort, though.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Market expectations it is.
    Case in point: the Honda enthusiasts who go on and on about front A arm suspensions, totally avoiding the reality of M3s and 911s being a couple of the best handling cars available in spite of their plebeian strut suspensions.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      The calibration makes an order of magnitude more difference than whether the spec sheet says “beam axle” or “multilink” or “MacPherson” or anything of the sort.

      A Formula 1 car has what can be categorized as an upper-and-lower-wishbone front suspension. So does a 1955 Chevy. Somewhere in between were the much-vaunted Honda generations that used double-wishbone.

      A beam axle is not a terrible way to hold up the back end of a front-drive car. Without a differential bouncing around with it, the unsprung-weight argument – the root of a solid-axle’s choppiness on washboard corners – pretty much goes away. Without being locked to being installed at the same height as the wheel centerline plus a bit more height for the diff … the space-usage argument also largely goes away (most dead-beam axles are installed well below the wheel centerline to save space, since they need not have drive shafts going through them).

      If you insist on buying a Corolla and want better turn-in and balance, etc., a good set of dampers, springs, and anti-roll bars ought to sort it right out.

      The laughably overassisted power steering is a much greater challenge …

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Good comment; I wholeheartedly agree.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        This is a very good point. For example, the Chevy Cobalt SS TC with its twist beam rear suspension was able to set the exact same ‘ring time as the very IRS E46 M3 and beat the times of such cars as the Boxster S and S2000. Yes, the power to weight is good, but it’d never put down such times if it couldn’t handle well.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          A track, even a track like the Burgerkingring, is not a road. It is MUCH smoother than the average road in the US. It might as well be polished glass compared to a typical Maine back road in frostheave season. The ride/handling balance of the car with IRS is likely to be much nicer in the real world. You can make a Mustang (or a Corolla) handle on a track, but it won’t be a very nice daily driver.

          Ultimately though, I agree it doesn’t really matter that much on a FWD car. Even my Abarth handles just fine on a twist-beam. I think it is more the principle that Americans get the de-contented crap versions in a lot of cases where the automakers make something better for other markets that annoys me.

          We are not talking a huge money difference at cost. I have to think that building multiple versions of the same basic car has to wipe out most of the savings anyway. I fully expect that as regulations are harmonized, and they WILL be because now the car companies actually want this, this sort of thing will fade away.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        Agreed. The geometry makes all the difference. Well that and rigidity of the substructure. Well that and isolation of the articulating joints. Well that and potential for wear (and loss of alignment) on articulating joints……

        IRS is not a magic solution. On a smooth highway there’s probably no difference, and the torsion beam (with fewer articulation points) may be quieter. Even on less than ideal roads, a torsion beam is quite light, may well not have any disadvantage in unsprung weight. And since the attachment points are at the edges of the vehicle, it it can take up less internal space

        [Full disclosure: I am a Wrangler guy and we don\'t even like IFS]

        • 0 avatar
          YotaCarFan

          While performance differences may be minimal, I wonder if ride comfort on rough roads is noticeably better with IRS than torsion beam, in general. Although certainly not scientific, when I upgraded from a Gen 1 Prius with torsion beam to a Gen 2 Prius with IRS, I noticed a major difference in ride comfort on rough roads. When driving the Gen 1 through a construction zone where there was an abrupt bump due to roadbed slabs being at different heights, the rear wheels made a loud bang and I felt a painful jolt in my spine. When driving the Gen 2 car over the same road at the same approximate speed, the bang of the wheels over the bump was not nearly as loud, and the jolt felt much gentler. I had assumed the difference to be a result of suspension design, but other differences between the two models of vehicles could certainly have contributed, too.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            At least some of the improvement in the ride you noticed in the gen 2 over the gen 1 Prius was probably due to the increase in sprung mass. Not to say that improvements in the suspension didn’t play a role.

  • avatar
    Johannes Dutch

    Toyota is the only Japanese automaker that offers a full range of car models here.

    A-segment (tiny): Aygo.
    B-segment (small): Yaris.
    C-segment (compact, the most popular family car segment): Auris.
    D-segment (midsize): Avensis.
    Bigger: Lexus.
    Coupe: GT86.

    Furthermore the ugly Prius, the mighty Land Cruisers, the less mighty RAV4, a small minivan Verso-S, a bigger minivan Verso and some thing called a Fun Cruiser. And there’s a van called ProAce, which is a rebadged Peugeot~Citroën~Fiat van. Last but not least the HiLux and Dyna trucks.

    Shortly several models (like the Auris) get a BMW diesel.

    That about wraps it up I believe.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Ronnie, great article that was very informative. It certainly does look like Toyota decided to use the Auris’s styling for their new US Corolla. That makes sense instead of reinventing the wheel each time.

  • avatar
    Barba

    I feel like I should point out that not all the Auris models use the IRS the the 1.33 petrols and 1.4 diesels still use a torsion beam just like the previous generation did

    • 0 avatar
      b787

      But then again – not all Mk7 Golfs have the IRS either. Models with 1.2 petrol and 1.6 diesel are only availble with torsion beam.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Same thing here in the States–GTIs and other higher-end ones. (Of course, the cars are different for the N/A market.)

        Don’t know what’s happening with the 2014s and above–I know that VW made interior improvements. Not sure about the suspensions.

        • 0 avatar
          Barba

          Pretty sure all MKVI’s had IRS it’s only on the Jetta and the MKVII that they returned to the torsion beam for weight savings *cough cost cough*

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “Toyota doesn’t want to be seen as the maker of boring cars.”

    I’m really glad Toyota is jumping on this before that perception starts getting spread around.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    What a treat! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    One thing is for sure, though, and that’s the fact that Toyota’s European-market styling is a lot more palatable. The only one of the current US models that I really *like* is the Avalon…and the FJ Cruiser, if they still sell that.

  • avatar
    James2

    Didn’t Toyota USA get Akio’s memo: No more boring cars. Must have fallen into the trash can.

    Meanwhile, in the latest C/D the Corolla was dead last in a comparo. C/D pretty much tore it a new orifice.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Independent rear suspension? I’m not Jarno Trulli over here.

    Where’s the option for the four-speed automatic paired with an iron head/iron block 2v SOHC 2.4L?

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    they could easily make that a matrix.

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    I’m pretty sure the European Corolla is just like the American one but with different styling. The subcompact Corolla you’re referring to is most likely the Japanese Corolla Axio.


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