New Toyota Auris Previews Next-generation Corolla IM Hatchback for North America
The Toyota Corolla iM is a bit of a paradox. The bodywork suggests it could be a fun-loving hot hatch, but the illusion dissipates the second you climb into the driver’s seat. The engine seems sick, unfit for the task it has been given, and the ergonomics leave something to be desired. While it’s not really much worse than the Corolla sedan, and it is a serviceable daily commuter for those wanting something affordably efficient, it doesn’t seem up to par with Toyota’s usual fare.
With Scion dead and buried in North America and the Corolla sedan outselling the iM ten-to-one,
The overall concept has changed very little, but the new Auris transitions to the TNGA platform underpinning a good chunk of the brand’s fleet — including the current Corolla sedan in its next incarnation. It also appears to be more upscale, offering a two-tone roof and LED-infused illumination. However, we’re curious about the interior. The current iM feels rather cheap inside and has some of the worst ergonomics in recent memory. The armrest placement on the door is so comically bad, the driver’s side might as well not even have one.
While we aren’t sure if Toyota addressed this issue, it did fine-tune its engine lineup. As an economy car, it makes sense to offer it with a bevy of efficient engines. Toyota claims the next-generation Auris offers a conventional gasoline engine and at least two hybrid powertrains. The hybrids range from a 122-horsepower 1.8-liter unit to a 2.0-liter with 178 hp. However, the internal combustion unit is the same 1.2-liter turbo from the Euro-spec Yaris and CH-R.
That leaves us wondering what’s coming to North America. Toyota wasn’t willing to confirm whether or not the hybrids will make it here, but that 1.2-liter turbo doesn’t seem like an option. When it came time for the brand to bring the CH-R stateside, it opted to give it the old 2.0-liter and left the little turbo in Europe. Despite the larger engine’s extra helping of horsepower, the turbo unit’s early access to torque makes up for the disparity in overall power. So the question stands: what will the new Corolla hatch have under the hood when and if it gets here?
Whatever it is, we are willing to bet Toyota scraps the iM name to fully rope it in with the rest of the Corolla lineup. The hatchback will also come equipped with a new multilink rear suspension and wider footprint for improved handling. An inch shorter than the outgoing model, the new Auris hosts a wheelbase that’s lengthened by 1.6 inches. There’s also a lower roofline.
Odds are good the Corolla iM wouldn’t be updated until next year but, when that happens, it should be exceptionally similar to the new Auris. We’ve got our fingers crossed that the upmarket hybrid and its cheaper alternative will solve the current iM’s lethargy problem. If Toyota can also do something about the lackluster ergonomics, the hatch should be a solid little car, and perhaps worthy of the praise the current model lacks.
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