The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Toyota Auris is the automotive equivalent of a white good. It’ll be reliable, safe and relatively cheap to run, but it won’t stir any emotions or get the pulse racing.
Reasons to buy:
- Strong reliability
- Plenty of storage
- Five year warranty
How good does it look?
When Toyota came to replace the Corolla, it decided that the new car needed a brand new name to show how different and exciting it could be. Then we were introduced to the Toyota Auris. It isn’t much different, nor is it any more visually exciting. Facelifted early in 2010, the Japanese family hatchback adopted a new front bumper with a redesigned grille and a reprofiled rear.
What's the interior like?
The inside of the Toyota Auris is its strongest feature, with a rising centre console that puts all of the controls in easy reach of the driver. It’s just a shame that Toyota didn’t use any soft-touch plastics as that would lift the cabin quality enormously. Owners complain that the gear lever is set too high and too far forward, meaning that it is difficult to gain a truly comfortable driving position. The rest of the dashboard is decently laid out, with well-thought out logic and clear dials both during the day and at night.
How practical is it?
When Toyota designed the Auris, it started with a clean sheet of paper and came up with some clever ideas, like the flat floor, which makes the most use of the available space. Thanks to that piece of design, the Auris is one of the few C-segment cars where it is comfortable to fit three passengers in the back. There’s plenty of legroom both front and rear, and thanks to the tallish stance, headroom is generous too. As an added touch, the rear seat back can be reclined too, for added comfort. The driver’s seat itself is comfortable with plenty of adjustment – it’s just a shame that the gear lever isn’t in a more natural position. For the towing fraternity, 1.33-litre petrol and 1.4 D-4D diesel engines can tow 1,000kg, with the 1.6-litre petrol unit able to pull 300kg more.
What's it like to drive?
For most owners, the Toyota Auris will drive exactly as they will want it to, with decent levels of grip, tidy handling and a comfortable ride on all but the poorest of surfaces. It’s just that it doesn’t excel or excite the driver in any shape or form. The steering feedback could be better, and just gives an overall impression of dullness. In terms of driver enjoyment, the Auris is a long way behind the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. The petrol engines can get quite noisy when extended, though settle down at speed. The diesel engine is quite vocal upon start up and at low speeds, and similarly quietens down considerably as the speed increases. Choose the size of wheel fitted to the Auris carefully, as the larger the alloy wheel, the more road noise gets transmitted into the cabin.
How powerful is it?
There’s a choice of two petrol engines, a single diesel engine and a petrol-electric hybrid. All are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard though the Auris Hybrid is fitted with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The 1.6-litre petrol and 1.4-litre D-4D diesel engines are also available with a six-speed automated manual gearbox. The most popular engine – the 1.6-litre Valvematic unit – produces 130bhp, has a top speed of 121mph and can accelerate to 62mph in 10 seconds dead. The diesel engine by comparison produces 89bhp, has a top speed of 109mph and can complete the zero to 62mph dash in 11.9 seconds with the manual gearbox, and 14.7 seconds if the automated manual gearbox is chosen.
How much will it cost me?
Each of the four engines offer competitive running costs, thanks to the inclusion of stop and start on 1.33 VVT-i models. For example, the 1.33-litre engine produces CO2 emissions of 135g/km and achieves 55.4mpg on the combined cycle. The 1.4 D-4D engine emits 125g/km of CO2, and delivers 67.3mpg while the most popular engine, the 1.6-litre Valvematic unit, emits 146g/km and can achieve 52.3mpg. Comparatively, the Toyota Auris Hybrid has a car tax exempt emissions rating of 89g/km and averages 74.3mpg. Insurance costs compare well with its peers, though residual values are on the low side.
How reliable is it?
Traditionally, Toyota’s reliability record has been excellent, despite the recent spate of recalls that have afflicted the brand. As a show of confidence in the brand, Toyota has increased its warranty to five years on all new cars. The Auris feels like a quality product and is built to a good standard, with decent materials that feel like they will stand up well to the test of time.
How safe is it?
The Toyota Auris was crash tested back in 2006 by safety experts Euro NCAP and it scored an excellent five-star rating. All models feature driver, passenger, side and head airbags, as well as knee airbag for the driver, and the ability to switch off the passenger airbag so a child can be carried in the front seat. There’s also a seatbelt reminder system and Isofix child seat fasteners. Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist comes as standard, though disappointingly, electronic stability control and traction control are relegated to the optional extras list.
How much equipment do I get?
Toyota sells the Auris in three trim levels, with entry-level T2, through TR to the sportiest in the line-up, the SR. All models feature air-con, electric mirrors, leather steering wheel, electric front windows, an MP3 compatible CD player with USB and auxiliary sockets and 60/40 folding rear seats, while mid-range TR trim adds 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, front fog lights, dual-zone climate control and rear electric windows. Top specification SR models add 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, rear spoiler and darkened headlights. The only optional extras are leather upholstery and electronic stability programme with traction control.
You can never go wrong buying a Toyota Auris, it’s just that it won’t excite or satisfy you in the same way that a Volkswagen Golf will. Still, it’ll be very reliable, has plenty of safety kit, and has an excellent five year warranty. It’s also built to a very high standard, too. For some, that’s all that matters.