Toyota Auris review

Our Rating: 
3
3.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The latest Toyota Auris majors on reliability, but does little to worry the VW Golf or Ford Focus

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

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The Toyota Auris is a well-made and easy-to-live-with family hatchback of a similar size to the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

It’s not the most glamorous of machines but it features clean, sharp lines that combine to create a smart if plain exterior. Toyota has one of the best records for reliability in the business, so, as you’d expect, the Auris is well put together and capable of weathering all that busy family life has to throw at it.

The second-generation Toyota Auris is offered with 1.33 and 1.6 petrol engines, a 1.4-litre diesel or 1.8 petrol-electric hybrid power. It comes in Active, Icon, Sport and Excel trims, and is available as a five-door hatch or Touring Sports estate. 

The interior is spacious but let down by some poor quality materials. And while all the engines in the line-up are efficient, the Auris isn’t a class-leader in this department, either. All-in-all, the Toyota is a capable, dependable and keenly-priced hatchback that won’t let you down. But it’s unlikely to put a smile on your face.

Our choice: Auris Hybrid

Styling

3

While the Auris sticks to a traditional two-box hatchback shape, some interesting details help it to stand out. Overall there’s a straight-edged theme to the styling, and the nose features angular lights and a small grille with a prominent Toyota badge jutting out. Below this, the bumper gets a large grille with chrome trim, flanked by triangular foglight housings.

Further back, straight shoulder lines join the front and rear of the car 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.

Inside, the dash features more straight lines, yet while it feels robust, the hard plastics disappoint, and the layout could be better. The switches are scattered across the dash and steering wheel, although the central touchscreen is easy to use.

Other minor niggles include a clock that’s too far away from the driver, and while the tray ahead of the gearlever features 12V and USB sockets, it’s a bit small. There are two different air vent designs, too – they’re rectangular in the middle of the dash, and the individual vents at either end are round.

Driving

3

The 1.4 D-4D is the only diesel offered in the Auris, and with 89bhp it trails the Hyundai i30 by 20bhp. That meant the Toyota lags behind the Hyundai, with acceleration through the gears being lethargic, although its performance in-gear isn't too bad.

One advantage that the Auris has over the Skoda Rapid Spaceback is a six-speed gearbox with a light and precise shift. This is complemented by a light clutch and steering, which make the car easy to manoeuvre in town.

The diesel Auris weighs a significant 130kg less than the hybrid model we’ve tested in the past. But while it feels a bit more nimble, there still isn’t any real enjoyment to be had. The Toyota quickly resorts to understeer in corners, and there’s plenty of body roll to go with it, thanks to the soft suspension settings.

The vague steering offers little in the way of feedback, and while we had hoped that the sharp regenerative brake pedal of the hybrid model would be eliminated in the diesel, it turns out that it’s a feature of this model, too.

It’s fair to say that you won’t be going out of your way to find a twisty road in the Toyota, but in other respects it’s a decent choice, as the soft suspension soaks up bumps well, and the car is reasonably refined on the motorway. However, the Hyundai i30 is even better, and there’s no
area where the Auris really stands out.

Reliability

3.8

If you want a no-nonsense hatchback that offers trouble-free motoring, then the Toyota Auris should be at the top of your shopping list. The company has a very strong reputation for building reliable, long-lasting cars that run like clockwork, and this model should provide many years of reliable service.

It comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty, and although this is bettered by Hyundai’s unlimited mileage package over the same period, responses to our Driver Power satisfaction survey suggest Toyota owners are highly unlikely to need any work done in that time. If you do have to visit a dealer – for a scheduled check or otherwise – you can expect first-class service, as the network came third in our last dealer survey.

There are seven airbags as standard, including a driver’s knee bag, while other safety kit includes stability and traction control, Isofix child seat anchors, brakeforce distribution and brake assist. This kit helped the Auris earn a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.

 The Auris was still too new for us to receive sufficient responses to our Driver Power satisfaction survey for it to be eligible to appear in the 2013 Top 100 cars ranking, but Toyota came ninth out of 32 in the manufacturers chart

Practicality

3.5

Boot capacity of 360 litres is the same as in the hybrid model and is a decent size - it matches the VW Golf and beats the Ford Focus. The rear seats split 60:40, while boot access is good thanks to a low, wide opening. The Toyota has a shallow boot floor which makes unloading easier, while a false floor can 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

3.8

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 emissions (pipped by the VW Golf 1.6 TDI with 74.3mpg, but 99g/km emissions). The Auris 1.4-diesel matches the Hybrid’s 72.4mpg, but with 103g/km emissions, while the petrol engines see a best of 52.3mpg and 125g/km emissions 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.

Disqus - noscript

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: 28 Jan, 2014

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