Toyota Auris review

Our Rating: 
2012 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Toyota Auris does nothing spectacular but nothing truly bad either. Is that enough to win out in the family hatchback class?

Cheap to run, excellent reliability, decent amount of space
Noisy CVT gearbox, petrol engine lacks power, dated interior

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The Toyota Auris is the Japanese manufacturer's response to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, and a 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain is its trump card.

While the Auris isn't as striking looking as say, a Mazda 3, it certainly isn't an eyesore and it has the overall impression of a car that's smart, uncluttered and has been designed with practicality in mind. In addition to the hatchback body style, it's also available as what Toyota calls the Auris Touring Sports (an estate).

The Toyota Auris is available in four trim-levels: the entry level Active model, the mid-range Icon and Sport variants, as well as the range topping Excel. In addition to the 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid, which is fitted with a CVT automatic gearbox, there are three other engines in the Toyota Auris range. There’s a 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre petrol, and a 1.4-litre diesel. The engines are reasonably efficient, but it's worth pointing out that the Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion is more efficient than the hybrid car.

The Toyota Auris is also quite spacious, but its interior plays it too safe - it's too uninspiring to look at and it's let down by some naff, scratchy plastics on the 

Our choice: Auris Hybrid



Like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus hatchbacks, the Toyota Auris uses the tried-and-tested two-box hatchback silhouette.

The design of the Toyota Auris is pretty angular and the nose features some sharp looking headlights as well as a small grille, which is dominated by a centrally mounted Toyota badge. It's functional and unfussy, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the styling of the latest Golf could also be described as understated.

Further back, straight shoulder lines join the front and rear of the Toyota Auris together, and the kick-up in the rear window line is reminiscent of the larger Toyota Verso MPV. At the back, the slender tail-lights are set high below a small rear screen, while the bumper gets a diffuser-style section for the number plate.

Toyota has carried over the straight-line theme to interior of the Auris, so while it feels well screwed together, the hard plastics disappoint and the dashboard could learn a thing or two from the ergonomically sound Volkswagen Golf - the switches are scattered across the dash and steering wheel, but one good thing is that the central touchscreen is easy to use.

Other minor niggles on the interior of the Toyota Auris include a clock that’s too far away from the driver and looks like it's from a 1980s digital watch. Meanwhile, the tray ahead of the gearlever, despite featuring 12V and USB sockets, is bit small.
The air-vent design looks a bit half-baked too, as there are two different versions - they’re rectangular in the middle of the dash, and the individual vents at either end are round.



The Toyota Auris is only available with one diesel engine - the 1.4-litre D-4D. It has 89bhp, which means it's pretty lazy under acceleration.

The petrol engines offered on the Toyota Auris are also smooth and unobtrusive, but while they're quiet at any speed, they're more inert than exciting.

One good thing though, is that the six-speed gearbox on the Toyota Auris is light, precise and its in-gear performance is pretty good - throw in a light clutch and steering, and the Auris is easy to drive around town.

Toyota Auris Hybrid front interior

Out on the open road, the Toyota Auris quickly resorts to understeer in corners and there's also plenty of body roll and the vague steering offers little in the way of feedback.

It's also a disappointment to see that the sharp regenerative brake pedal of the Toyota Auris hybrid hasn't been eliminated on the diesel models, either.

A plus point for the Auris is that it's relatively refined on the motorway and its soft suspension soaks up bumps well. Once again though, there's nothing in the driving stakes that makes you want to get behind the wheel of a Toyota Auris. 



Toyota's reputation for building tough, reliable, long-lasting cars is almost legendary, so if a no-nonsense family hatch that won't let you down is your thing, then the Auris is well worth a look.

Toyota fits the Auris with seven airbags as standard, which includes a driver's knee bag. Other safety kit includes stability and traction control, Isofix child seat anchors, brake force distribution and brake assistance - no surprise then, that the Auris claimed five-stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests.

The Toyota Auris also ranked 45th out of 150 cars in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, with owners praising it for its comfort and affordable running costs. In terms of manufacturers, Toyota ranked 17th out of 33 manufacturers.

The Auris also comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which shows just how much confidence Toyota has in its car. 



In hatchback form, the Toyota Auris features a decent 360-litre boot, which matches the Volkswagen Golf, and beats the 316-litres in the Ford Focus.

The rear seats split 60:40, and when folded, the boot space expands to 1200 litres. What's more, boot access is good thanks to a low, wide opening and the Toyota Auris has a shallow boot floor which makes unloading easier. A flat-floor can also be slotted into grooves behind the folded back seats to create a completely flat floor.

There’s plenty of room to get in and out of the back and there’s more rear legroom than before, too. The Auris can carry four adults in comfort and five at a squeeze.

This version of the Auris has been developed as a hybrid from the start, so the batteries no longer take up any boot space. This makes the hybrid version just as practical as any other Auris.

Running Costs


There's no denying that the Toyota Auris is one of the more economical family hatches on-sale, but despite fuel saving technology, an aerodynamically efficient design and weight reduction, it's not class-leading.

Unsurprisingly, the most economical engine in the Toyota Auris range is the 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid, and with its CVT automatic gearbox, it returns 78.5mpg and emits 84mpg. Unfortunately for Toyota who really pioneered hybrid tech, these numbers have been bettered by the Germans - the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion manages 88mpg, and emits 1g more of CO2/km with its conventional diesel engine.

The 1.3-litre petrol engine manages 52.3mpg with 125g/km of CO2, and the 1.6-litre petrol returns 138g/km of CO2 and emits 47.9mpg. When fitted with the CVT gearbox, the 1.6-litre unit achieves 48.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 136g/km.

The lethargic 1.4-litre diesel D-4D engine is okay, but nothing to really write home about thanks to 72.4mpg and 103g/km of CO2 emissions. 

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This review had several comments regarding (again) the bad review and comments of AE regarding the new Auris, it seems that all bad comments regarding Auto Express have been deleted.

Anyway, I drove the new Auris hybrid in Holland. Very nice car, good handling, very comfortable and far better interior finish an materials than what is commented in the AE review. It is not a Golf VII in this respect but not far off. It is a great car, extremely fuel efficient and quiet, yes quiet! Even when you accelerate the CVT noise is very acceptable. The only drawback for me was that the car seems a little cramped on the rear bench. Compare the excellent package with the Toyota durability and fair pricing (far less than a Golf with the same package), and this car will be an absolute winner.

I think this is just another example of a slightly modified version of a previous review. There have been plenty of these.

Again, AE Trumpets the Ford Product. You miss the point that the Auris will sell because it is far more reliable from a better dealership support than the Ford which will probably break just out of warranty - especially if it is an auto - and Ford won't want to know!!

You don't buy a Toyota for track days and worldwide most roads in town are just follow my leader so reliability is everything because without that you don't have a car. Here in Oz Golf/Polos are also given top rating with the only minor failing being a high incidence of early piston failure, gearbox failure or turbo burnout. Don't recall Toyota recalls being for much more than trivia. Toyotas also run on crap grade petrol which is very worthwhile saving at Oz pumps.

more importance is it made in england ,we need jobs too

nice test,

What I always regret is that journalists continue to complain about the CVT.

If you ask ability of a car he will always make more noise. I myself have driven the Auris and find the sound annoying.

If another car test drive one they do not floor it away?

Had my new Auris Hybris top range model with leather interior and fully loaded, for a couple of months now. This is my first Toyota after owning Fords for many years. Got to say that it's a very nice car and the fuel economy is excellent. I think the interior is pretty neat and the comments I've read about engine noise at higher speeds is nonsense in my opinion. Of course you have noise when the engine hits higher revs but it's no different from any petrol or diesel car I've had in the past. It's probably more noticeable because the car is almost silent around town. I'm no boy racer any more, so this car is a perfect fit for me. Smart looking, reliable and economical. What more can anyone ask for?

Last updated: 30 Jun, 2014