The Toyota Auris Touring Sports' drivetrain seems to be best suited to modest throttle openings - even more so in the case of the hybrid model - and the ride and handling suits a similarly smooth and relaxed approach.
At urban speeds, the Auris lopes along nicely. There’s the odd thud, but no shudder and no harshness. It feels about right for this kind of car. The Auris steers pleasingly enough, too, at this sort of speed. At 2.6 turns lock to lock, it’s middling in speed and relatively light in weight but at least consistent with it.
There’s no nastiness in the weighting and it never gets heavy or light; it just is. It’s stable enough at higher speeds, too – never nervy, never stolid, just admirably easy to rub along with. Noise levels are muted as well, especially at lower speeds.
Its brakes should enable it to withstand the harshest of Alpine descents and, when not in the line of overheating fire, they bring the Auris up short in wet or dry conditions. Wet grip is strong and the stability control system intervenes subtly, quickly and effectively, switching out again sharpish, too.
Is there a pay-off for all of this ease and effortlessness? Kind of, but you’ll know it’s coming. The Auris isn’t a particularly engaging car to drive, but this side of a GT86, no Toyota is, nor is really meant to be.
The damping is looser than in, say, the equivalent Focus or Golf, but it’s hard to criticise too much. As a publication run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, we would like a bit more dialogue with the car, but Toyota has aimed the Auris wagon where it thinks is right, and even if it’s not quite for us, it’s hard to think that the aim is wrong.
If you’ve come to the Auris expecting similar levels of engagement and dynamism (unlikely) to a Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf or even most of the other cars in this class, you may be disappointed. But the Auris is capable enough.