An Auris for Us?

The Toyota Corolla is due for a redesign, and if what is on the foreign markets is any indication, the new Corolla could be a significant departure from its boring, conservative past. Starting in spring of 2007, the Toyota Corolla will be replaced by the Toyota Auris in European markets. In Japan, it will be sold alongside their version of the Corolla.

A compact three- or five-door hatchback, the Auris will compete overseas against cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic in the tight C-class market.

The new Yaris, which has been sold overseas for several years now, and FJ Cruiser have proven to American drivers that the Toyota design team actually does have a spark of creativity now and then. The Auris continues this trend with friendly and yet aggressive-looking styling, kind of like a cartoon bulldog. The Auris hearkens the Yaris with its rounded nose, but it looks a bit meaner and more powerful. Still, it also seems like the kind of car a young mom would be happy to drive to the grocery store. The interior is shaping up to be much nicer than previous Corolla incarnations, with one blogger who saw it at the Paris Auto Show last month comparing the inside to that of a Lexus.

But will it come to the US? Maybe not. Despite the recent proliferation of tiny cars, hatchbacks and wagons are not big sellers here, and a car like the Auris is marketed to a different, less adventurous audience than youthful entry-level hatchbacks like the Yaris and Honda Fit. The new US Corolla will perhaps take some styling cues from the Auris, but with a more traditional sedan body style. Only time will tell, but if the new Corolla does only come in sedan only, I think it is our loss. After more than a decade of overgrown, boxy, lookalike SUVs, I think the US is ready for an Auris of our own.

For a peek at the Toyota Auris and to read the official press release, visit Autoblog.com.

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