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