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.