Toyota Auris Hybrid review
The latest Toyota Auris Hybrid is efficient but it still falls behind rivals for quality and excitement
The Toyota Auris Hybrid is pretty much alone in being a mainstream family hatchback with a hybrid powertrain. That allows for the lowest CO2 emissions in the class and some seriously impressive fuel consumption figure, too. But apart from its efficiency, the Auris struggles to keep up with the class leaders in terms of driving thrills, performance and quality. The styling is a big improvement over the old Auris and Toyota’s reliability record is enviable, but that won’t be enough to draw in buyers who are after something a little more thrilling and a little more premium.
Our choice: Auris Hybrid Icon
The old Toyota Auris was never a car to turn heads, but with this new model getting the firm’s ‘Keen Look’ design language it looks a lot more aggressive. The Hybrid looks a little different to the rest of the range but you’ll have to look for the HSD badges or blue-rimmed Toyota logos very carefully to actually spot the changes. The interior is far more exciting than the old Auris, too, but don’t expect to be blown away by the quality. Again, the Hybrid gets a few bespoke touches like blue-rimmed dials and a translucent blue gearlever.
The Toyota Auris Hybrid is very smooth and quiet when you’re dawdling around town but if you try and accelerate hard, the engine revs away noisily without too much forward progress. That’s the fault of the CVT gearbox, which also seems to stifle performance from the 134bhp powertrain and results in a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds. The Auris is undoubtedly better in the corners, though, with less body roll and quicker responses from the slightly heavier steering.
The petrol-electric set-up used in the Auris Hybrid is the same powertrain found in the Prius and in the Lexus CT 200h. Both of those cars have proven themselves to be incredibly reliable so there’s no reason for the Auris Hybrid to be any different. It has fewer moving parts than a normal engine and actually ends up having a knock-on effect to other consumables like the brake pads, which get used less because of the regenerative braking system. The Auris Hybrid has a five-star rating for crash safety by Euro NCAP, too, with seven airbags fitted as standard.
While going for the Hybrid variant of the old Auris meant sacrificing a bit of boot space to accommodate the batteries, Toyota has solved that issue for the new model. Now all models in the Auris range have a 360-litre boot, which is larger than what’s on offer in the Ford Focus but smaller than in a Volkswagen Golf. Toyota has freed up a little more room in the back seats, too, so you can now get four adults in quite comfortably.
By being a little more aerodynamic and lighter, the new Auris Hybrid is actually even more efficient than the old model. Now it returns 74.3mpg (up from 70.6mpg) and emits only 87g/km of CO2, unless you go for larger 17-inch wheels when it manages 72.4mpg and 91g/km. As well as lowering your fuel and tax costs, Toyota believes its Hybrid models often require fewer replacement parts in the long run because they’re under less strain. The brakes, for example, aren’t used as often because the electric motor often slows the car down during regenerative braking.