Toyota Auris review
The all-new Toyota Auris majors on reliability, but does little to worry the VW Golf or Ford Focus
The Toyota Auris is a well made, easy-to-live-with hatchback that delivers reliable motoring and plenty of practicality. There’s a wide choice of engines and options to choose from including a standalone hybrid model that majors on fuel efficiency, and extras such as park assist, and lots of safety equipment make it a sensible choice. It’s larger, more efficient and better to drive than before, but is let down by poor quality materials that can’t quite match the Hyundai i30 let alone a VW Golf. While the lacklustre driving dynamics mean it trails all of its main rivals when it comes to driver involvment.
Our choice: Auris Hybrid
The new Toyota Auris debuts Toyota’s new ‘keen look’ styling that’s a lot sportier than before. It’s a sharper look, with angular LED headlights and a low-mounted badge that’s designed to draw your eyes lower. It’s supposed to give the Auris a lower, sportier look that’s also helped by a rising windowline and sloping roofline. They join at the rear where there’s an integrated rooftop spoiler and chunky taillights. It’s a more interesting design than before but not as resolved as either the VW Golf or Ford Focus and unlikely to draw many admiring second glances.
The Auris is a much better car to drive than before. It’s lighter with better weight distribution, while there’s also more adjustment in the steering column and driver’s seat, so a comfortable low-slung driving position is easy to achieve. There’s enough room for taller drivers, while the dash instruments are simple and easy to follow. The Auris is more refined than before, too, being quieter across the range. The Hybrid is smooth – and incredibly quiet at low speeds – but the CVT automatic stills makes a racket when you accelerate. The petrol and diesels are quiet on the motorway, though, only making themselves heard when you accelerate. The ride mediocre though as it shudders over rougher road surfaces, although the 1.6 petrol and hybrid models have a more sophisticated rear suspension, and offer the best ride and handling balance. The steering is sharper than the previous model but still lifeless and numb by class standards, despite the new emphasis on driver involvement.
Toyota makes some of the most reliable cars in the world, and the Auris is set to follow that tradition. It uses well-proven engines, with the 1.33-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines already used in other models, as is the 1.4-litre diesel. The Hybrid drivetrain is the same as that used in the Prius and Lexus CT 200h, and has fewer moving parts than conventional engines so is even more reliable. Every Auris comes with lots of safety kit, including ABS, ESP and seven airbags. It also has a full five-star Euro NCAP rating. Still several high-profile global recalls have dented Toyota's reputation recently.
There’s more space in the Auris than before, with a 380-litre boot matching that of the VW Golf and exceeding the Ford Focus’s 316-litres. The rear seats split 60:40, while boot access is good thanks to a low, wide opening. 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.
The Auris is one of the most economical cars in its class, thanks to both fuel saving technology, an aerodynamic design and a weight reduction over the previous model. The best mpg comes from the hybrid, with claimed figures of 72.4mpg and 91g/km of CO2 (pipped by the VW Golf 1.6 TDI with 74.3mpg, but 99g/km). The Auris 1.4-diesel matches the Hybrid’s 72.4mpg, but with 103g/km, while the petrol engines see a best of 52.3mpg and 125g/km for the 1.33-litre. Again, the Golf is better, with 57.6mpg from its 1.2-litre, however the Auris is still cheaper to run than many small hatchback rivals.