No hot hatch, but a great cruiser

What’s new?

The so-subtle-you’ll-almost-miss it Auris T180 range-topper has morphed into the SR180. Changes outside are limited to some new 17-inch alloys, a bigger rear spoiler and a bright white paint option.

The mechanicals remain unchanged from the T180, which means a 175bhp, 295lb ft 2.2 D-4D turbodiesel under the bonnet. It also means that the SR180 gets multi-link rear suspension, rather than the twist-beam fitted to the rest of the range.

What’s it like?

This is no hot hatch, despite its £18,495 price apparently putting it in direct competition with the Focus ST or Golf GTi. The SR180’s suspension is too soft, and the big turbodiesel makes the car feel nose heavy and reluctant to change direction.

It always feels surefooted, however, and the SR180’s ride is impeccable, cushioning its occupants from poor road surfaces very effectively.

So think of the SR180 as a rapid, refined cruiser and it begins to make a lot of sense. In fact, when you compare the SR180’s 2.2-litre 175bhp turbodiesel with the 168bhp 2.0-litre unit in the VW Golf GT TDi, the Auris begins to look quite tempting.

The 295lb ft of torque arrives in a linear surge and, unlike the peaky, gruff motor in the VW, it’s all accompanied by a muted woofle. That’s about it as far as direct rivals go, because although the Renault Mégane GT dCi 150 is close on price and refinement, it just doesn’t have the shove of the Auris.

Inside, the SR180’s case sadly begins to unravel once again. There is simply nothing to make it stand out from the rest of the Auris range. And that means a frankly mediocre cabin with little in the way of design sparkle apart from the weird buttress-like centre console – and even that, unfortunately, feels like a flimsy afterthought.

Should I buy one?

Not if you want a hot hatch – this is no performance flagship. But if you’re looking for a seriously refined and rapid long-distance cruiser, the Auris SR180 has few rivals and even fewer equals. As long as you can forgive the lacklustre interior.

Matt Rigby

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bomb 6 June 2009

Re: Toyota Auris SR180

I think these look terrific used buys too. No one who buys one thinks they're a hot hatch so even mentioning the GTI & ST in the article was a bit daft. The direct competition has to be the GT TDI and the new Mazda3 2.2D Sport 185.

A reliable, comfortable 180 bhp Q hatch would deffo be on my shopping list.

moe360 6 June 2009

Re: Toyota Auris SR180

Fuzzybear if your mum got thiS i think she would be very happy and she would have a very gud q car because its a auris with 175! Shopping trips would never be the same again ;-)

moe360 6 June 2009

Re: Toyota Auris SR180

Just been browsing on autotrader and came across this Auris SR180, and WoW!!!!! is it a 2nd hand bargin I found a 2008 model fully kitted for less then 11 grand !!!!! and I am sure you can get it for even less in the current climate. Taking in account the 175bhp it provides and 45+ mpg its a great car if your looking for a long distance cruiser with some real poke. If i did not buy my new MK6 golf 2.0 TDI (btw iam still waiting for it to be ready 5 weeks and still waiting) i would have got one of these 2nd its not a bad looker in the SR trim. But I agree with Autocar the interior is so bland and it seems there has been no effort put in it shame as if it had a class interior like the Golf It would have been a real star in 3rd guise,N-69-89-177-240-4294952005-4294967144/advert.action?R=200912330897297&distance=172&postcode=BD22+9DL&channel=CARS&make=TOYOTA&model=AURIS&min_pr=10000&max_pr=20000&max_mileage=&vehicleYearOfManufacture=2008&vehicleRegLetter=08