Toyota Auris Hybrid (2012-2018) review - Engines, performance and drive

Don’t come looking for fun, as the Toyota Auris Hybrid provides a pretty basic driving experience

One good thing about moving from the regular Auris to the Hybrid is that you don’t have to change your driving style to make allowances for the hybrid system. However, there’s no avoiding the fact that the quality of the drive is starkly different to its rivals.

When you start the car, you don’t hear the engine fire into life. A beep and a ‘ready’ light indicate that it’s running, and if there’s enough charge in the battery, all you’ll notice is the whirr of the electric motor as you pull away.

When the charge drops, the engine cuts in, and while it’s quiet and smooth, there is a slight shudder as it engages. There’s no manual gearbox option - instead, Toyota persists with a CVT, so whenever you accelerate, the engine revs freely while the car gets up to speed. It sounds like it’s being thrashed, but for little benefit, as the Auris doesn’t feel quick off the mark.

Best hybrid cars

The Toyota is much better when you take things easy, which makes sense as it’s an environmentally focused machine. Keep the needle of the power dial in the Eco section, and it’s quiet and smooth, although the firm suspension means it’s not as comfortable as many rivals.

Sadly, the taut ride doesn’t translate into an engaging driving experience. The Auris bounces and wallows in corners and suffers from excessive body roll, too. That can be put down to the extra weight of its hybrid drivetrain.

With lifeless, ultra-light steering and brakes that are extremely sharp and offer little pedal progression, there’s not much fun to be had driving the Auris Hybrid.

Engines

You're limited to one choice here. Every Auris Hybrid has a four-cylinder 1.8 litre petrol engine that produces 98bhp and 142Nm of torque, supplemented by an AC synchronous motor. The motor offers 80bhp and 207Nm, and is powered by a 6.5Ah battery that gets its charge from the engine or from braking – you don’t have to plug it in. 

The results may be efficient, but it’s not terribly quick. Still, Toyota reckons the Auris Hybrid will hit 62mph in 10.9 seconds so it can keep up with the traffic. The car also has a potential 111mph top speed, but you’d be missing the point. 

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