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Coming soon: fun hybrid company cars

  • New Auris ushers in new era of hyper-hybrids
  • C-HR SUV could easily be the next in-line
  • Gazoo Racing set to feature on performance models

Toyota announced a new Auris at the Geneva motor show in March 2018. But before you worry that it’ll be more of the same – a cost-effective but not especially interesting medium hatchback – all the signs are that it’ll be a far more compelling proposition.

An all-new powertrain was launched alongside a low-tax hybrid option using the 1.8-litre HSD hybrid system we know from the Prius and C-HR. The Japanese firm has also announced a 180hp hybrid that uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine instead, promising an ‘energised drive’ and paddleshifters to allow the driver to manually change gears.

Toyota Auris hybrid 2018

The new Auris will sit on Toyota’s TNGA scalable platform, which also underpins the aforementioned Prius and C-HR, and it’s going to be built at the company’s Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, UK.

While currently there aren’t any other performance hybrid Toyotas, that’s not going to remain the case for very long. There’s a supercharged hot hatch version of the Yaris, called GRMN, already on sale (in fact, sold out) and we’re expecting more quick machines using the Gazoo Racing (GR) branding – such as a road-going version of the GR Supra Racing Concept also unveiled at the Geneva show.

We’ve already seen the Hy-Power C-HR concept car (at the Frankfurt motor show last year, shown below), which was revealed alongside news from Toyota bosses that fun is firmly on the agenda.

Toyota C-HR Hy-Power concept car

‘We listen carefully to our customers’ opinions,’ said Dr Johan Van Zyl, President and CEO, Toyota Motor Europe.

‘It is not just about hearing what they like about our hybrid technology. We also want to learn from them how we can make our hybrids even more attractive to more people.

‘It is exactly that kind of feedback that has made us realise there is an opportunity to introduce a higher performance hybrid powertrain. I can announce today that in future it is our ambition to provide our core models with a choice of two hybrid powertrains.

‘One will provide the traditional benefits of efficiency and fuel economy, like in our current offer. The second will build on this and add more power and a more dynamic driving character.’

Of course, Toyota's premium sister brand Lexus already has a performance hybrid in the form of its flagship LC 500h sports coupe. The technology's there. 

Roll on the powerful Priuses… 

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