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The best Auris in the range - but not the best car in the sector

Our Verdict

Toyota Auris 2007-2012
The Toyota Auris has little of the sparkle or brilliance of class leaders

The Toyota Auris is a spacious, but unspectacular attempt at a high quality Golf rival. Only the availability of a hybrid lifts it from obscurity

  • First Drive

    Toyota Auris Hybrid T4

    The first full hybrid in this class is impressively cheap to run, but its diesel rivals are a better drive
  • First Drive

    Toyota Auris 1.6

    The best Auris in the range - but not the best car in the sector

What is it?

This is the 1.6-litre petrol powered version of the facelifted Auris, linked to a six speed gearbox. It is expected to be the range’s best-seller, although Toyota has set optimistic predictions for the Auris hybrid that is coming later this year.

The facelifted Auris has undergone some mechanical tweaks, plus minor interior improvements and visual changes to bring it in line with the latest Toyota look.

Key to the mechanical changes are retuned dampers – with testing including running in the UK – and changes to the electrically assisted power steering, to improve its feel.

What’s it like?

The Auris has always been tagged as being good without being great, and it is going to take more than a mid-life facelift to put it on a par with, say, the VW Golf for refinement or Ford Focus for driver involvement.

However, the facelifted Auris is a more compelling proposition than it was, and the 1.6-litre engine is by far the best unit in the range. While the 1.33 struggles for guts and is thrashy out of town, and the 1.4 diesel is gruff, the 1.6 delivers acceptable performance and refinement in all conditions.

With 130bhp and a 0-62mph time of 10sec it is never going to get your pulse racing, but it does combine useful performance with decent average fuel consumption of 42.8mpg and 146g/km of CO2. The gearchange is easy and precise.

The revised steering is an improvement. While it still lacks feel and can never be described as truly engaging, it is more entertaining and direct than it was.

The Auris retains its MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear set-up, and on our smooth Spanish test roads coped well with expansion joints on motorways and rode rippled surfaces better than ever before. Only a full UK test will confirm how much of a step forward Toyota has made in this area, though.

There’s no doubt the Auris’s cabin, which is well insulated from engine, wind and road noise, is enhanced by the latest modifications, but only marginally. It always was a nice place to be, and the addition of some soft touch materials add a small degree of comfort. Likewise, extra standard kit such as a USB port are welcome.

There’s also a little bit more storage space in the cabin, which remains roomy and still benefits from having a flat rear floor, making carrying three small people in the back a realistic proposition over reasonable distances.

Should I buy one?

The Auris remains a decent, if largely uninspiring, choice of car. And if you want an Auris that’s going to venture beyond the city limits, then there’s no doubt that this engine is the pick of the range.

What’s more, Toyota is claiming a price advantage over its rivals, thanks to building the car in the UK, and therefore avoiding the price fluctuations that have beset European-based rivals

However, we’d still suggest test driving obvious rivals such as the VW Golf and Ford Focus before committing.

Join the debate

Comments
41

18 March 2010

Utterly depressing.

18 March 2010

[quote Velvet Munchkin]Utterly depressing.[/quote]

Eastenders is utterly depressing, this is just a subtley styled, competent and reliable hatchback for people who don`t worship at VW`s alter. Long may it exist.

18 March 2010

you might want to check the formatting on this piece Autocar....

18 March 2010

On one of the interior pictures (both are different), it appears to have a removable sat nav. Is that the case?

18 March 2010

I think Toyota are to be aplauded here. They know most people who drive are not like us lot, and dont much care about the car they drive as long as it works. And this is ideal for them. And to Toyotas credit they have improved it despite the fact that most of its customers wont care at all.

18 March 2010

Competent and reliable is not enough.

18 March 2010

[quote Velvet Munchkin]Competent and reliable is not enough.[/quote]

Maybe not for you, but for millions of others its just fine..........and its not a VW which makes me happy.

18 March 2010

how can Toyota expect us to spend our hard earned on this drot! soulless characterless blandness! i'd rather have an Alfa Romeo and risk it not starting in the morning

18 March 2010

My mate said that about his 156. Two engines later and numerous other bills he now drives a new model Avensis!

18 March 2010

[quote VX220EDDIE]

how can Toyota expect us to spend our hard earned on this drot! soulless characterless blandness! i'd rather have an Alfa Romeo and risk it not starting in the morning

[/quote]

Do you consider yourself so important that every manufacturer is after your business?

Toyota don't expect you to buy this car. Toyota expects those who have no interest or enjoyment of driving to purchase this car. For anyone who wishes to get their family from A to B reliably and at a reasonably cost, the Auris ticks all the boxes.

Please remember the Auris is the Euro replacement for Corolla, a car which was equally souless, characterless and bland yet the Corolla was (and still is for all I know) the worlds best selling car.

Having managed to sell about 40 million of these bland boxes over the years, I reckon Toyota know what they're doing.


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