Toyota Auris HSD Hybrid Fully Revealed, Features Prius' Hybrid Drivetrain

The new Auris HSD Full Hybrid is a thinly disguised concept model that will be launched at the Frankfurt show next week previewing the production model that is scheduled to go on sale in Europe sometime during the second half of 2010. According to Toyota, it marks a significant milestone in the firm's plan to equip its mainstream European models with full hybrid technology. As anticipated, the Auris HSD Full Hybrid shares its hybrid powertran with the thrid-gen Prius.

This means that it is equipped with a 1.8-liter Atkinson Cycle petrol engine with 98HP, a 60kW - 80HP electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The combined output of the hybrid system is 134 horsepower. Being a 'full' hybrid, the Auris can be driven on petrol engine alone, electric motor alone for up to 1.25 miles (2km) at speeds up to 31mph or combination of both.

Toyota says that the Auris HSD Hybrid accelerates from nought to 100km/h (62mph) in around 10 seconds, while returning a "class-leading" combined cycle fuel economy (no figures were released) and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions.

Compared to the conventional Auris that has replaced the hatchback versions of the Corolla in Europe, the hybrid model features some subtle styling changes to improve aerodynamic efficiency as well as to differentiate it from the rest of the range. These include the new front-end fascia with a different grille and LED headlights, the new bumpers with flat corners, the LED tail lamps, the addition of a rear diffuser and a larger rear spoiler.

Other changes include the 20mm lower ride height, the underbody panels and the bespoke 18-inch alloy wheels that are designed to cut air turbulence in the wheel arches and are shod with low rolling resistance tyres. These changes result to a drag coefficient of 0.28 - for comparison, the latest Prius has a Cd figure of 0.25.

The hybrid model has also been fitted with solar panels on the roof as well as on top of the dashboard that generate enough energy to recharge mobile phones or portable music plays mounted in purpose-designed charging trays.

Being a concept and all, the car's cabin gets a special makeover as the seats and upper dashboard are finished in blue Gaucholino leather with light blue accent stitching while the centre console and side air vents have a pearl white finish. Furthermore, the instrument cluster gets 'hybrid blue' illumination while other upgrades include the flat bottom steering wheel and ambient illumination of the footwells and headlining.

The Auris HSD Full Hybrid will be built by Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) at the firm's Burnaston factory, near Derby, with sales of the production model set to start across Europe in the second half of 2010.