The prototype is a hybrid in the sense that it combines parts from the current model with those of the next generation.
One of the oddest test vehicles in recent times, this Frankenstein of a prototype was caught by the spy camera in Northern Europe where Toyota was tweaking the all-new Auris compact hatchback. The tri-color camouflage is not what makes this work-in-progress vehicle rather peculiar as there are other things that have caught our attention.
For starters, the headlights are not in their usual place as instead Toyota has installed a pair of simple round clusters reminding us of those of the sixth-generation Celica. The yellow disguise at the front appears to be hiding a Prius-like bumper, although one can’t be too sure because of the multiple layers of camo. The hood contour at the bottom section reveals we’re dealing with a new design since it doesn’t have the cutout for the Toyota badge as it’s the case with the current model.
The side profile shows a significant amount of gap around wheels, which might be a sign the new Auris will grow in size. The mirrors have been moved slightly upwards, and it seems the third-side window has been integrated in the door panel whereas on the outgoing model it is positioned aft the rear door. That means the C-pillar is going through some significant changes, but we just can’t see all of the modifications in tow because of the numerous camouflage bits and pieces.
The back of the car is a bit more normal considering it carries the taillights of the current generation and the tailgate also appears to be sourced from the Auris on sale today, with the door handle mounted between the two clusters.
The mix and match of old and new parts is a sign Toyota won’t be showing the next-gen model anytime soon. Chances are it will debut in production guise at some point in 2018. When it will eventually arrive, it will likely ride on the TNGA platform much like the aforementioned Prius from where it will inherit the hybrid tech.