TOYOTA HAS REVEALED details of its upcoming Auris HSD hybrid concept, to be built at its Derbyshire plant in the United Kingdom for a 2010 European market debut.
While there are no solid plans to bring it here, Toyota Australia has told TMR that the petrol-electric hatchback hasn't been entirely ruled out for our market.
As predicted, the 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and Hybrid Synergy Drive system of the Toyota Prius (see Prius review) powers the Auris HSD. Power figures, if they differ from those of the Prius, have not been revealed.
CO2 emissions for the Auris HSD are rated at below 100g/km, and the body's aerodynamics have been tweaked to achieve a .28 drag coefficient (the new Prius manages a .25 drag coefficient).
Toyota says the 0-100km/h run can be covered in around 10 seconds.
Four driving modes are available, three of which can be selected by the driver. ECO mode optimises the hybrid system's efficiency and fuel economy, Power mode takes on a more performance-oriented setup, and EV mode allows for electric-only power delivery for up to 2km at speeds up to 50km/h.
External styling has been updated to set the HSD apart from the regular Auris/Corolla, and the interior has been massively overhauled in blue Gaucholino leather and a restyled pearl-white centre console.
Exports to Australia aren't likely either, with Toyota Australia's public relations manager Mike Breen telling TMR that "there is no current plan to introduce the Auris (Corolla) hybrid to the Australian market".
However there is a faint glimmer of hope, with Breen saying that, "as with all new models, it is under study".
The current petrol-only Auris also utilises a fuel-saving start-stop system in the European market, however Breen said that start-stop is not a technology that Toyota Australia is looking to include in locally-delivered models any time soon.
Will the all-new third generation Prius and the incoming Camry Hybrid be enough for Toyota's eco-friendly line-up in Australia, or would a hybrid Corolla hatch complement the range and generate more sales for the company?
Time - and market forces - will tell.
Production of the Toyota's first European-built hybrid will commence in mid-2010, following its debut at this week's Frankfurt motor show.