Auris 1.8 VVTi Hybrid Icon
journalists have a bad habit of
hunting in packs. When they sense
weakness, they all go on the attack.
And the first-generation Toyota Auris
was the very definition of a slow-
moving target. Why? Because it was
extreme: extremely average, that is...
WELL I'M GOING TO hold my head above the parapet. I ran an Auris diesel for
a year, and I thought it was an amazingly good companion: spacious, economical
(I averaged over 50mpg) and fun to drive. Fun? Yes: in 180bhp SR180 guise, it
was not only rapid but it also cornered like a hot hatch. Seriously.
So I was far more interested than most of my colleagues to see how the new second-generation
Auris would perform.
It didn't start well when I first clapped eyes on it. If the old Auris looked
dull, the new one is full-on bland which is surprising as the Auris was
designed for Europe and is built in Derbyshire. But hey, it's still more interesting
to look at than a VW Golf.
launched in five-door hatchback form only, with a Touring Sports estate following
in Summer 2013.
Fuel economy of
74.3mpg is impressive,
although I averaged
a rather more down-to-
earth figure in the
mid-40s during my week
with the car...
Four engines are offered initially: 1.33-litre and 1.6-litre petrols, a 1.4
diesel and the Hybrid, the latter using the petrol-electric drivetrain from
the Prius. Since the Hybrid is the best-seller in the range (priced from £19,995),
that's the model I tested.
The Hybrid is all about emissions, and with a CO2 figure of only 87g/km, it
looks very tax-efficient for company car drivers (10% BIK), and means exemption
from VED and the London Congestion Charge. Fuel economy of 74.3mpg is impressive,
although I averaged a rather more down-to-earth figure in the mid-40s during
my week with the car.
That undoubtedly had a lot to do with the number of motorway miles I did; while
the Hybrid is remarkably economical in town, it's far less so on the motorway.
You're probably better off with a diesel if you're doing lots of long journeys.
The Hybrid is fitted with Toyota's CVT automatic, which works superbly around
town, but as soon as you plant your foot on the accelerator it holds the engine
at constant and very high revs, which sounds raucous and horrid, especially
up motorway inclines.
Like the Prius, the Auris can run in electric-only mode for very short distances
at speeds up to 31mph. The transition from electric to petrol, or combined hybrid,
is seamless. Undoubtedly, the Hybrid is at its best in town where it's refined,
easy to drive and economical. It's not super-quick, but a 0-62mph time of 10.9
seconds is decent enough.
You won't buy an Auris for the sharpness of its handling or steering
other cars do that much better. But too many rivals these days sacrifice ride
comfort for handling, and here Toyota has been careful to get things right.
Indeed, the Auris really soaks up those potholes and speed humps. The steering
is much lighter than, say, rivals from the VW Group, but it's far from bad,
with decent feedback through the steering wheel.
of the steering wheel, both it and the rest of the cabin are well finished,
but sadly the subjective feel and look of the plastics is below-par, and certainly
not a patch on the likes of Skoda, Renault and VW. There are too many hard,
shiny surfaces for my liking, added to which some of the controls seem scattered
across the dashboard.
The Auris really soaks
up potholes and
And while the steering
is much lighter than,
say, rivals from the VW
Group, its far from bad
with decent feedback
through the wheel...
is, however, very easy to get comfortable behind the wheel thanks to the wide
range of adjustment for the seats and steering column.
And the Toyota Touch & Go multimedia system, with its bright graphics and intuitive
menus, works superbly.
Space up front is very good, but it's rather less generous in the rear, where
a lack of headroom could affect you if you're tall. The boot is decently sized
for a car in this class, although the hybrid powerplant does impinge on space
The Auris is competitively priced (from £14,495), pitching it into Hyundai i30
territory and undercutting the Volkswagen Golf. It's well-equipped, too, with
seven airbags, AirCon, Hill-Start Assist, heated door mirrors and iPod/MP3 connectivity
as standard. Chris Rees
Toyota Auris 1.8 VVTi Hybrid Icon | £19,995
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds | Overall MPG: 74.3mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 105lb ft | CO2 87g/km