Hilton Holloway
13 February 2013

What is it?

This is the new Toyota Auris which, according to Toyota’s PR blurb, promises a "stronger emotional appeal". The company says it recognises that Toyota has always been a "rational choice" for customers, but promises this car is for "people who want to feel more connected to their car through the way it looks and drives".

The Auris's styling is a good deal more modern than that of its predecessor (and quite slippy, with a drag coefficent of 0.277), although you’d be hard pressed to immediately identify the brand behind it. It’s based on the same platform as the previous model, with the same 2.6m wheelbase. At a touch under 4.3m long, the Auris is one of the shortest cars in the Focus class.

It’s decently spacious in the front, so there’s a lot to be said for the Auris’s compact package, especially in urban areas. Boot space – at 350-litres – is class average, although the false boot floor (which allows a flat loading bay when the rear seats are folded down) makes it harder to exploit. 

The new front seats have impressively supportive and upright backs and the driving position is sound.

The least enticing aspect of the Auris is probably the remarkably upright cliff-face dash, which is surprisingly intrusive and does little for what interior ambience the car possesses. The rest of the cabin – such as the centre console arrangement – is all perfectly logical and tightly screwed together, but the cabin complete lacks any kind of design flair or spark.

What is it like?

Under the bonnet is the relatively modest, but mechanically updated 1.4-litre turbodiesel engine, turning a six-speed manual gearbox. The shift action is clean, although the lever is long and it’s time for a new gearknob. The motor’s distinctive rattle from cold hardly changes even when the engine is up to temperature. It’s not massively intrusive, but it’s hardly the most hushed.

Performance is completely adequate in urban conditions although it has be coaxed along at UK motorway speeds.

This version of the Auris gets a beam axle at the rear and Toyota says the car is 55mm lower and 40kg lighter than the previous model, with a 40mm lower driving position helping lower the car’s centre of gravity. The electric power steering has a quicker ratio (14.8:1, down from 16:1) and the steering column has been stiffened.

All of which, sadly, doesn’t add up to much excitement. Yes, the Auris is highly competent, stable and goes neatly where the driver wants to put it, but the steering still feels a little slow and the Auris’s nose could be quicker to come to heal.

The beam axle at the rear induces more than a little joggle to the ride when it encounters poor roads. The chassis feels straightjacketed, so the Auris lacks the fluidity and spark that you’ll get from a Focus or the delicacy of one of VW’s new MQB-based cars.

Should I buy one?

In Icon specification, the Auris is nicely specced (climate control, DAB, touchscreen, rear camera). It also gets a five-year, 100,000 mile warranty, it’s made in the UK and it’s a neat, well sized, package. 

But despite Toyota’s attempts to inject some life into its Focus competitor, it remains a deeply rational, unemotional choice for drivers who are not interested in uplifting interior design or 'get up and go' dynamics.

Toyota Auris Icon 1.4D4D

Price £18,495; 0-62mph 12.5sec; Top speed 112mph; Economy 72.4mpg combined; CO2 103g/km; Kerb weight 1245kg; Engine 4cyls, 1364cc, turbodiesel; Power 89bhp at 3800rpm; Torque 151lbft at 1800-2800rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
22

If this had 4 rings on its

1 year 27 weeks ago

If this had 4 rings on its nose they would be everywhere, very few people care how their car drives. Most people just want a badge to be proud of. I doubt the Toyota badge will be enough for many, but i am sure its a perfectly decent car!

Woeful

1 year 27 weeks ago

This car has nothing going for it.  How is it a rational choice when its not even particularly cheap?   Hyundai and Kia are far more appealing.

This is a shame, as the one reason to buy it is that people in this country are making a living screwing them together.

Really?  I'm no Audi fan but

1 year 27 weeks ago

Really?  I'm no Audi fan but whilst their current models all look the same there is a certain good looking nature too them. This isnt good looking in the slightest 

Time for a new gearknob?

1 year 27 weeks ago

Time for a new gearknob? Isn't this a brand new car?

As others have said this doesn't really appeal over the Kia/Hyundai competition, and from pics alone the interiors of the latter seem more interesting.

I'm really surprised that digital clock on the dash is still around though....

That Clock!

1 year 27 weeks ago

catnip wrote:

Time for a new gearknob? Isn't this a brand new car?

As others have said this doesn't really appeal over the Kia/Hyundai competition, and from pics alone the interiors of the latter seem more interesting.

I'm really surprised that digital clock on the dash is still around though....

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed the old clock - it's like something from the early 90s.  A very strange design element, that one.  It's even in the GT86.

Speedo

1 year 27 weeks ago

Is a 160mph speedo really necessary, you're not going to even reach the middle of the dial in normal driving.

Domestic appliance

1 year 27 weeks ago

No one has done more than Toyota to make cars that have the same emotional appeal as your fridge or microwave. I have the current Hybrid Auris as a long term rental in Norway.

In terms of design it’s not even ugly, there is just a void where a car should be. At least this looks a bit better. It is reliable and it does what I need it to do, but then so does my washing machine.

I also hate the CVT in the hybrid, it sounds like an outboard motor and feels like the clutch is permanently slipping. This one's got to be better, surely?

That digital clock

1 year 27 weeks ago

What's wrong with a digital clock ? My Audi has one stuck in the rev. counter dial. It tells me the time, not how fast I'm going ! It has no bearing on the car's looks or dynamics, so why mention it ? I've never seen adverse comments like this on German built cars. Is there a problem here ?

Ratho1

why we point the clock

1 year 27 weeks ago

Sir, we (everybody) point to the clock  because it screams loud how lazy & dysfunctional corporations can go.

Your Audi (or any car for that matter) as a similar clock, but not that Toyota clock!

That Toyota clock is trademarked: it has 2 buttons and square standard dimensions, approved by committee way back in the middle 80`s.

This is Toyota progress.

 

Its built in Britain

1 year 27 weeks ago

I wanna say something good about cars that are built in Britain. Can't find much other than Toyota's well known reliability.

And oh yes. Hybrid. Toyota still sets the benchmark in hybrid tech.

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Our Verdict

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

Driven this week