What is it?
A relocated battery pack, improved refinement and sharper styling boost the appeal of this second-generation Auris Hybrid.
The battery now lives under the rear seat, freeing up the boot while still allowing it to be elongated by dropping the backrests. Toyota modified the Auris’s carry-over platform to achieve this. The roof (and therefore the centre of gravity) has also been lowered and the steering is quicker than before in the quest for sharper responses, which should be better handled by this version’s double wishbone rear suspension. Lesser Aurises have a twist beam.
What is it like?
The changes make for a more athletic hybrid Auris on the road, but this version loses some of the deftness of the conventional 1.6 petrol. On the test car’s bigger wheels, it didn’t ride as well as the 1.6, either.
The infamous whining band-saw revvings of the 1.8-litre Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain have been reduced, but this slightly unnatural sound is still there and doesn’t exactly encourage you to stretch the car’s legs. The engine gets an Eco mode, which gives you a better chance of scoring a heart-warming economy figure, although you’re unlikely to see 70mpg. You also have up to 1.2 low-speed miles in EV mode.
Should I buy one?
It all adds interest to a complex car, although you might end up preoccupied by the cliff-like structure and cheap detailing of the unprepossessing dashboard. It’s perfectly functional but not great to look at, somewhat spoiling this otherwise usefully upgraded Auris.
Toyota Auris Hybrid Icon
Price £19,995; 0-62mph 10.9sec; Top speed 112mph; Economy 76.3mpg (combined); CO2 87g/km; Kerb weight 1370kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1798cc, petrol plus electric motor; Power 134bhp (combined); Torque 105lb ft at 4000rpm (petrol), 153lb ft (electric); Gearbox CVT