Toyota Auris Touring Sports review

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

The estate version of the Toyota Auris offers plenty of space and the option of an efficient hybrid powertrain

For: 
Hybrid efficiency, tonnes of luggage space, smooth ride
Against: 
Unattractive inside and out, uninvolving drive, cramped rear seats

The Toyota Auris Touring Sports is the carmaker’s take on an estate version of its family hatch. Pitched against the Ford Focus Estate, Kia Cee’d Sportswagon and Skoda Octavia Estate, the Auris is designed to offer lots of space, plus the option of the same hybrid powertrain that’s fitted to the Prius and Lexus CT 200h. Toyota expects to sell around 4,000 estates per year, with 70 per cent to be to fleet customers, with 45 per cent of total sales being the hybrid – thanks to its low 85g/km CO2 emissions giving a 10 per cent BiK rating. It falls short of its rivals in the way it looks and the way it drives, but is comfortable and refined. Importantly for an estate car, boot space is impressive.

Our choice: Auris Touring Sports 1.8 Hybrid Icon

Styling

3

The Auris Touring Sports is the latest car to feature Toyota’s ‘Keen look’ design theme. This works well on the longer estate model, particularly at the front and side, where the rising beltline gives the car a more sporty look. However, the rear doesn’t work so well, with a bulbous bumper making the car look heavy, and tail-lights that look like they were borrowed from a 10-year old Hyundai. Inside, the story isn’t much better, with an upright slab of a dashboard that’s a real uncohesive mixture of scratchy plastic textures and shapes.

Driving

2.8

Although it’s called the Touring Sports, that’s more an attempt by Toyota to fit in with its rivals, rather than a promise that the car is a decent drive. The steering is light and lacks feel, while bodyroll is pronounced. The 1.6-litre petrol engine is smooth, and has a slick gearbox, but it lacks torque. The hybrid offers excellent refinement around town that’s spoiled by the CVT gearbox, which causes the 1.8-litre petrol engine to drone under acceleration. Despite the boost from the batteries, the hybrid is also short on torque. The Auris does feature powerful brakes and a comfortable ride, while the interior remains very quiet at the motorway limit.

Reliability

4.4

The Touring Sports is based on the same platform as the Auris, Prius and CT 200h, and uses technology and engines that are shared with these cars. All of which is a good thing, as Toyota is famed for its reliability, backed up by a decent service from dealers. The firm has added extra reinforcement to the rear of the car, to ensure that the estate is almost as stiff as the hatchback, and the Touring Sports also shares that car’s five-star Euro NCAP safety rating in the latest 2013 version of the test.

Practicality

3.8

Toyota has clearly thought pretty hard about maximizing space in the estate’s boot. The load lip is 100mm lower than on the hatchback, making it easier to stash items in the boot. The estate is 285mm longer than the hatch, which means that with the rear seats up, there’s a useful 530 litres of space. Drop the 60:40 folding rear seats with the pull of a handle, and this increases to 1,658 litres on all models – they hybrid’s batteries are mounted under the rear seats. There’s also underfloor storage areas, plus plenty of space around the interior for oddments, including a decent-sized glovebox. The car has three powerpoints, with one in the boot.

Running Costs

4.6

This is where the Auris claws back some ground. Thanks to the hybrid option CO2 emissions are cut to 85g/km on Icon-spec cars with 15-inch alloys, and 92g/km for top-spec Excel models on 17s, while all hybrids claim over 70mpg. This cuts company car tax bills and fuel costs extensively, while Toyota claims that the hybrid system’s fewer moving parts mean cheaper maintenance too. The rest of the range features downsized engines which look decent on paper, but can struggle to shift the car along, particularly if you carry heavier loads – leading to higher overall running costs.

Disqus - noscript

Good looking car, excellent quality.
Scratchy plastics????? What a nonsense, the interior design is not particulary beautifull but very solid. Just go to the dealership and drive the Auris yourself, it is a very good car, silent and with excellent value for the money. And all the complaints about the lack of dynamics, do I need a dynamic drive when cruising around town and on the highway???? The CVT is perfect, no exceptional noise at all only when pushed hard (as is the case with a regular DSG automatic).
For AE it is very hard to write a decent review, a pitty and shamefull.

I'm sorry, but I am confused by the comment about the 'unattractive' exterior styling. To my eyes this is a good looking car - from any angle. True the interior is pretty unexciting to look at but no worse than most of its competitors.

To my eye, the Touring looks better than the hatch and the emissions / running costs / company tax are incredibly low for a car this size. Well done, Toyota UK

The Auris gets a total of 3 stars when only "styling" and "driving" are awarded with a mere three stars - the rest are four and even five stars (reliability and running costs). Compare this with the CLA in-depth review where it got also a three star review with only four star categories, but one three star for driving.

I'm sorry AE, but there isn't much logic to your reviews these days, as is proven by the many unsatisfied replies, which you never answer. I used to read your reviews with delight, especially the group tests. Now, however, I can pretty much guess the outcome of every review you make. It all seems very biased and not objective. Perhaps it is time you adress this?

I've driven both the Auris and the new Octavia, and the only place I would say the Octavia would outscore the Auris is on ergonomics. Otherwise they are quite similar, I think. I also thought the Hybrid was much more exciting to drive than an Octavia 1,6D DSG because of the technology in the Auris. At any rate, I fail to see a two star difference between the two cars.

"do I need a dynamic drive when cruising around town and on the highway?"

Why are you reading this review then? Just pick the cheapest car on the market if you want A-B transportation.

For the rest of us, such things make the difference between buying car X and car Y.

Not always. We don't car much for a car's dynamics. In fact, my wife couldn't care less. But she doesn't want any old car for A to B. It still has to meet loads of other important criteria.

I fear Toyota would need to buy a bit more advertising space to get better reviews!
I have always thought of Toyota as the Japanese VW. Fundamentally not very interesting unless you fork out a lot of money but a bit more dependable I suspect.

I agree! Although I am Toyota driver.

As per Rossa comments, AE scoring does appear slightly bizarre, with a an almost detectable suggestion of anti-Toyota bias thrown in.
The car looks very respectable in the flesh, & its design quality is on a par with its direct Eurobox competition, in my subjective opinion.
If the car had been made in Wolfsburg, and not Burnaston or Deeside, would the scores, I wonder, have been higher?
Looking at the evidence from long term reliability surveys by manufacturer, with the inherent toughness & build quality of these cars, they will be running around clocking up the miles well after the majority of its direct competitors have entered automobile heaven..

Last updated: 28 Jun, 2013
Auto Express 1,342
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links