By on February 27, 2018

Image: Toyota

The strange saga of the Scion brand ended in 2016, but there’s still two holdouts from Toyota’s foray into the funky youth market: the Corolla iM and the Mazda 2-based iA sedan.

Across the Atlantic, the iM carries the Auris name, and there’s a next-generation model scheduled for a public unveiling at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. If Toyota deems the current iM’s sales sufficient, this third-generation Auris will become your second-generation iM.

Judging by this teaser photo released by the automaker, the new Auris ditches the doorstop shape in favor of a flowing five-door design that immediately calls to mind the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Nissan Leaf. There’s only so many ways to package a hatch.

Debuting in the new Auris is a new hybrid drivetrain, this one featuring a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as its dance partner. There’ll be more details available at Geneva. Right now, the iM is only available with a Corolla-spec 1.8-liter four-banger, mated to a six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic. Neither the engine nor the CVT impressed in our most recent review, despite the attractive five-door’s obvious virtues.

A hybrid system would change things up (while boosting the model’s price). Still, we don’t even know for sure whether iM will even return in a new form. Corolla buyers overwhelmingly choose the sedan over the hatch. In 2017, iM sales in the U.S. amounted to 20,501 units. Subtracting this number from the Corolla family’s overall U.S. sales leads us to a figure of 308,695 — obviously, the sedan reigns supreme in buyers’ minds.

Is a second-gen iM worth it? That’s for Toyota to decide. Spy photos of a camouflaged iM tooling around southern California that cropped up late last year should give iM fans a decent amount of hope.

[Image: Toyota]

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