2010 Toyota Auris Facelift gets Subtle Makeover and New Hybrid Version with Prius Drivetrain

When Toyota introduced the successor to the hatchback versions of the Corolla (the sedan variant kept the name) in Europe in 2006, the company's bosses decided to baptize the new car "Auris", not only due to its supposedly fresh and contemporary styling, but also because the name "Corolla" had become more synonymous with dull than with quality in the Old Continent.

Fast forward to 2010, and the Auris has yet to shake off its predecessor's bland-mobile reputation...

And while the subtle cosmetic makeover for the 2010 model year won't make the standard Auris any more interesting than before, the addition of a full hybrid version to the range is something that could very well capture the interest of European buyers.

Toyota's Spartan press release did not get into any details whatsoever, but the two official photos reveal that the 2010 Auris hatchback benefits from the same cosmetic changes as the JDM model that was introduced last October and almost the same styling upgrades as the Auris HSD Hybrid study that was presented at the 2009 Frankfurt Show.

On the outside, the 2010 model year Auris features a revised grille, reshaped front and rear bumpers, new headlamps, tail lights and alloy wheels plus a different bonnet design and new exterior mirrors with integrated turning signals.

We assume that the production Auris HSD (which stands for Hybrid Synergy Drive) will keep if not all, most of the exterior styling cues and aerodynamic tweaks such as the underbody panels of the concept study.

The Auris HSD's petrol-electric hyrbid drivetrain will be largely shared with the Prius meaning that the five-door hatchback can run on battery power alone in zero-emissions mode.

Full details and photos of both the standard and hybrid versions of the Auris are expected to be released closer to their official debut at the Geneva Salon in early March.