The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.3
The Auris estate is a handsome, comfortable and practical load-lugger which is let down by a poorly resolved drivetrain and disappointing interior design and finish.
Reasons to buy
- There’s plenty of room in the boot
- Comfortable, cosseting ride
- Modern, stylish exterior design
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
There’s no denying that the Auris Touring Sports is a handsome car. It’s modern, stylish and well-executed with some neat detailing. This is a big car but the styling hides its bulk fairly well – it looks svelte and nicely proportioned. The light clusters at both the front and rear are sharp, angular and modern-looking and this is a theme that continues throughout the rest of the car. The trapezoidal front grille, triangular foglight surrounds and sharp, shoulder-line crease highlight this.
What's the interior like?
As modern and well-executed as the exterior is, almost the exact opposite could be said about the interior. You’re greeted by vast swathes of dark, cheap-feeling plastics upon entry into the cabin, broken only by rather ostentatious-looking silver-coloured plastic trims. The dash is a bit fussy, too, with lots of fiddly buttons. Nor is there that sense of perceived quality, either. The switchgear feels flimsy, the gear selector ugly and out-dated and the graphics on the infotainment touchscreen look cheap. Even the covers for the USB port and 12V power supply feel as if they’d break away if a five-year-old was let loose on them. Overall, the Skoda Octavia Estate is a far more pleasant place in which to spend time.
How practical is it?
This is the Auris’ trump card. The boot is vast, measuring 530 litres with the back seats up and 1,658 with them down. This puts supposedly bigger and more premium rivals, such as the BMW 3 Series Touring, Audi A4 Avant and Mercedes C-Class Estate to shame. It also shades its more direct rivals like the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer. The Skoda Octavia Estate does, however, have a considerably bigger boot than any of its direct competitors. There’s plenty of space in the back seats, as well and cubby-holes aplenty, so you’ll never be wanting for places to put your knick-knacks.
What's it like to drive?
This car really is very comfortable, soaking up any uneven road-surfaces that it comes across with ease. The suspension is pliant and the small(ish) wheels and high-sidewalled tyres make it glide over any surface. This does, however, come at the expense of any sort of dynamic enjoyment. This is not a car to be hurried – the steering is rather vague, slow witted and it tends to wallow and roll rather dramatically in bends. That’s not drastically important, though because despite having ‘Sports’ in its name, comfort is the main aim of a car like this. Crucially, it’s perfectly capable of making smooth, unruffled progress, as long as you’re not in any kind of hurry.
How powerful is it?
To be frank, performance is not this car’s forte. Its quoted 11.2-second 0-62mph time soThis car really is very comfortable, soaking up any uneven road-surfaces that it comes across with ease. The suspension is pliant and the small(ish) wheels and high-sidewalled tyres make it glide over any surface. This does, however, come at the expense of any sort of dynamic enjoyment. unds optimistic to us and to make any kind of decent progress, the engine needs to be worked very hard indeed, which means the whole drivetrain makes an enormous amount of noise. The hybrid has a similar problem but its economy is considerably better and there’s more performance on tap. Its peak 118lb/ft of torque doesn’t come into play until 4,400rpm, by which time just about everyone will have overtaken you. The smaller, turbocharged units found in the Skoda Octavia Estate and Ford Focus Estate not only have more mid-range oomph about them but are more refined and economical as well.
How much will it cost me?
The cheapest model to run is the hybrid version, which manages 78.5mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 85g/km of CO2 in the process, meaning that it’s VED-exempt. The 1.4-litre diesel returns an average of 67.3mpg, while the 1.33-litre petrol manages 51.4mpg. The car we tested, the 1.6-litre petrol mated to the CVT transmission, has average fuel consumption of 47.1mpg and emits 139g/km of CO2, putting it in VED band E, costing £125 a year to tax.
How reliable is it?
This car is still too new for there to be any meaningful reliability data available for it but Toyota has an excellent reputation for reliability. The Reliabilityindex.com website rates the manufacturer as one of the most reliable in the country, although average repair costs are pricier than some of its rivals. It does, however, come with an excellent five-year, 100,000-mile warranty for better peace of mind.
How safe is it?
Euro NCAP hasn’t specifically tested the Touring Sports but it has assessed the hatchback (with which it shares an awful lot of its crash protection) and it’s a five-star car, achieving a 92 per cent overall score. In the tests, it scored very well across the board, although it was penalised slightly because the rear driver’s door opened during the side impact test. It’s fitted with a full complement of seven airbags as standard, as well as Vehicle Stability Control and Hill-start Assist Control.
How much equipment do I get?
The Auris Touring Sports can be had in a choice of four trim levels: Active, Icon, Sport and Excel. Active has air-con, USB and Aux connections, electric door mirrors and electric front windows. Icon adds alloy wheels, DAB radio, Toyota Touch infotainment system, Bluetooth, rear-view camera, leather interior highlights and front fog lamps. Sport models get 17-inch alloys, sports front seats, sports grille and rear bumper, privacy glass and a chrome tailpipe. Excel models have velour and leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, park assist with front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, auto headlights and wipers and heated front seats.
The Auris Touring Sports is a comfortable, spacious and handsome load-lugger which puts the focus on making driving easy rather than enjoyable. The hybrid and diesel versions come with impressive economy figures but the only version we’ve driven – the 1.6-litre petrol with the CVT transmission – is slow, noisy and not particularly economical. This is not a bad car by any stretch of the imagination but most of its rivals are far more polished all-round propositions.