Right after Toyota released the second generation Auris in 2012, a year later, the Japanese automaker came up with a special edition Auris inspired by "Char Aznable" - a popular Japanese anime character from the Mobile Suit Gundam series.
This was part of an advertisement campaign and a facelifted version of the second generation Auris was even featured on the anime.
Though this manga-themed Auris was a limited special edition, importers managed to bring in quite a handful through the grey market.
Being powered by a regular 1.5 litre 1-NZ-FE - the unofficial "national engine" of Bangladesh, the Char Aznable themed Toyota Auris is more of a show car.
Two-tone paint, factory vinyl and decals, custom logo, a Gundam-themed body kit with aggressively sharp edges all round, manga styled interior- the fancy Auris has been loaded with all, and Toyota has definitely tried to ensure that it stands out on the roads.
However, Faiyaz Mashfiq Islam's Gundam-inspired Auris is unique. It is currently sitting on a set of fully functioning air suspension. It is not everyday that one can find a Corolla in bags and it is more than enough to set this Auris apart from all the others.
When set at normal height, Faiyaz's Auris looks just like any other Auris on the road or maybe slightly prettier, thanks to those aftermarket RPF1 wheels. However, the real magic begins when Faiyaz starts lowering the car.
At its lowest ride height set, this Auris is no less than any bagged car that can be found on the streets of America. However, since the car is being driven in Bangladesh, the poor road conditions along with the uncountable number of potholes make it almost impossible to drive it around at its lowest.
When asked how hard it is to maintain a bagged car, Faiyaz said, "There is nothing much to do when it comes to maintenance. I keep the airbags; they are washed and checked regularly for air leaks. However, if you fortunately or unfortunately end up finding one then it is surely going to be a pain."
Faiyaz once spotted a leak in one of the air lines that connected to the right front airbag and according to him, it was his biggest nightmare. In case of small leaks, the car can be driven to some extent and taken to the workshop for repair.
"Sourcing a new air line pipe has turned out to be the most difficult. Cars with air suspension are like unicorns in Bangladesh," said Faiyaz. Not a single workshop or parts shop in Bangladesh has accessories for air suspension or that Faiyaz's Auris is fitted with.
Hence, the only thing he could do was order it from abroad and wait for a couple of weeks before it would be finally shipped to Bangladesh.
However, Faiyaz and his chauffeur came up with an idea of sourcing a temporary DIY air line from Nawabpur and to his surprise, it turned out to be perfect; he believes it is even slightly better than the OEM ones to some extent.
So is it really worth going for bags over coilovers? Team Wheels asked Faiyaz after hearing about his struggle with sourcing parts.
"Both air suspension and coil-overs perform well and totally change the look as well as the riding experience of your car. Air suspension is very expensive compared to coil-overs but on the positive side, you can easily adjust your riding height and this can be helpful especially for Dhaka roads. I can skip scraping some speed bumps and I can ride low and slow whenever needed."
When asked if he has any future plans with the Auris, Faiyaz said, "Currently I do not have any plans of doing any performance upgrade to the Auris. I am okay with it being low and slow. However, I will mostly focus on the car's exterior and improve it in terms of overall aesthetics."