What is it?
This is the facelifted Toyota Auris, which has undergone some mechanical tweaks and minor visual changes to bring it in line with the latest Toyota look.
Exterior changes include a new front and rear bumper design, including integrated fog lamps, new headlamps, a revised bonnet and a new style of grille.
Inside, more soft-touch materials have been used across the top of the instrument binnacle and around the glovebox and the centre console has been redesigned.
Additional standard kit includes a USB port and Aux-in socket, and a leather flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Perhaps more importantly, Toyota says that the suspension damping has been retuned to improve its ride and handling on UK roads. It also says the power steering has also been revised and refined to deliver better feedback and improved vehicle agility.
Both the engine line-up and trim levels have been simplified; buyers can choose from 1.33-litre and 1.6-litre petrols and a 1.4-litre diesel, and three spec levels, T2, TR and SR.
Here, we test the 89bhp diesel in mid-range TR trim, linked to the MultiMode automated manual transmission.
What’s it like?
The Auris has always been solidly good without matching class leaders such as the VW Golf for quality and refinement or Ford Focus for driver involvement. That much hasn’t changed.
However, the facelifted Auris is a more compelling proposition than it was. The steering still lacks a little feel, but is more engaging and direct than before.
Judging the suspension damping changes on smooth Spanish roads is less easy. The car retains its MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear set-up, but it coped well with expansion joints on motorways and rode rippled surfaces better than ever before.
The 1.4 diesel engine has just enough power to pull the Auris along briskly enough to keep up with motorway traffic, and is torquey enough to be mildly entertaining on flowing roads. However, while it cruises quietly, it is a little coarse under acceleration.