What’s new? Toyota Auris

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The test program for the 2015 facelift Auris focused on driving dynamics and interior comfort

The Toyota Auris range has been extensively revised for 2015. The engine line-up in particular has been refreshed with the introduction of the new 1.2T turbo petrol unit and a new 1.6-liter D-4D diesel, both of which meet Euro 6 emissions standards. Development for the facelift version started in 2013. Approximately 100 engineers contributed to the project, which was based at the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) facility in Japan.

To ensure the vehicle met the needs of the European market, TMC cooperated closely with the company’s Toyota Motor Europe (TME) engineers. Shinchi Yasui, Auris chief engineer, says, “We researched the European market and then proposed our plans to them. We developed it partially ourselves and later confirmed performance levels with TME. If the vehicle needed some tuning we would propose a counter measure.”

Interior comfort was of particular importance for the new Auris. TMC engineers relied upon TME for input, as Yasui explains, “The Japenese don’t really understand the sensory aspects as well as our European colleagues, so we had to try hard to enhance and optimize that.”

Numerous measures have been introduced to reduce the transmission of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) into the cabin. Soundproofing for example has been improved by adding additional sound-absorbing materials in strategic locations around the cowl, instrument panel and transmission tunnel. An outer tunnel silencer has been added to minimize transmission noise. Additional sealing in the front wing, dashboard and door area further cuts the amount of engine, road and wind noise reaching the cabin.

Yasui’s team performed ride comfort testing on various roads in Germany including highways and country and city roads. “For those feelings that we cannot quantify, we’ve come up with a sensory index, and for that we had the help of local distributors in trying to understand the culture of that market. The Auris is a key product for TMC, so it needed to be especially perfect,” says Yasui.

Test runs also focused on driveability and acceleration performance; the new Auris range benefits from further suspension and steering revisions designed to improve ride comfort and handling. Benchmarking was primarily done against the Volkswagen Golf, as well as the Ford Focus and the Peugeot 308.

Powertrain development details have not been revealed, however Toyota claims that fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are greatly decreased compared with the outgoing models. That is partly thanks to an optimized aerodynamic package, which was first refined in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and later confirmed in the wind tunnel at TMC in Japan using rapid prototyping.

April 9, 2015 

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive, marine and entertainment divisions. Currently editor of Automotive Testing Technology International, Crash Test Technology International and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as co-chairman of the annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards and can be found sniffing out stories throughout the halls of several of UKI's industry-leading expo events.

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