Review: Toyota Auris (2007 – 2013)
Decent combination of ride and handling that might suit some people better than a harder sprung Golf or a Civic. A few inches taller than a Golf of Focus so easier to get in and out.
Dull, unadventurous styling.
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Toyota Auris (2007 – 2013): At A Glance
The Auris is a decent enough looking car, a bit like a big Yaris, sitting on a long wheelbase and a few centimetres taller than the average C segment hatchback.
It's a bit more interesting inside, with a flying buttress arrangement housing the gearlever higher than most of us are used to, a commodious centre console and a flat rear floor making it a five seater which is genuinely comfortable for five.
Disappointingly, the ‘Optitron' digital dash is laid out with analogue circular instruments instead of the excellent central digital display of the Yaris that you don't have to re-focus from.
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What's the Toyota Auris (2007 – 2013) like to drive?
The engine range includes a 1.4 petrol, a new 1.6 petrol, and 1.4, 2.0 litre and 2.2 litre diesels. Transmissions are 5-speed manual with the petrol engines and 1.4 diesel, optional ‘Multimode' automated clutch 5-speeders on the 1.6 petrol and 1.4 diesel, and 6-speed manuals for the 2.0 and 2.2 litre diesels. All engines are chain-cam. And all levels of trim include standard air-conditioning.
Prices start at £11,995 for the 1.4 petrol 3-door T2. But level out at a reasonable £12,995 for a special ‘TR' model 1.6 5-door aimed at the private market with a higher spec than the T3 model that lists at £1,000 more. A Multimode of the TR is £13,545, but 2.0 litre 126PS diesels are a price jump to £14,595 for the 5 door. T3 is a level of trim, apparently aimed at fleets and likely to be discounted to fleet buyers, so of no interest to private buyers who get more for less with the TR. T-Spirit is the top trim level and T180 a special model with wishbone rather than twist-beam rear suspension and the punchy 177PS D-CAT diesel engine.
With limited numbers of cars available on the international launch I was only able to try the 2.0 litre diesel and the 1.6 Multimode, both in top-level T-Spirit trim.
The 2.0 litre D-4D 130 T-Spirit comes in at £16,495, plus £1,500 for Toyota's excellent satnav system. First impressions are you sit quite high. I levered the seat down to its lowest position but still felt I was sitting higher than I would be in a Focus or Golf. Next impression was the comfort of the driving position. For me, everything was in the right place including the high set, quite long-throw gearlever. The T-Spirit is keyless, so pushbutton start, but the 2.0 chain cam diesel is unexpectedly noisy.
Its 127PS doesn't feel anything like the 130PS of the old Golf TDI PD 130, so definitely hasn't been rated conservatively. But, with an official combined consumption of 52.3mpg, a VED Band C diesel CO2 emission of 151g/km and Group 6 or 7 insurance rating, it makes up for that in running costs. MPH per 1,000rpm was 34, so it's decently long-legged. Tyre and road noise were low, but there was a bit of wind noise.
Off autopista, the electric power steering gives sufficient ‘feel' to promote confidence even if it was slightly fake feel, handling is much better than last generation Corolla and roadholding competent with understeer only apparent when deliberately provoked. It's a nice car and a better car than a Mk V Golf 1.9 105, with far better ride quality than a Golf 2.0GT TDI 140. Not quite up to the levels of competence of a Focus, a C4 or a 307, but easily the equal of a Civic.
Next day, we tried the 1.6 T-Spirit Multimode, at £15,445 plus £1,500 for the satnav. Since this is the only two pedal car available I thought I'd better check it out for the benefit of drivers graduating from the old Corolla 4-speed torque-converter auto.
The 124PS 1.6 Dual VVT-I is an all-new engine, revving much more smoothly than the old Corolla 1.6. But it needs to be because at only around 21mph per 1,000rpm in 5th it's very low geared.
Leaving it in ‘D. the box managed the difficult change from 1st to 2nd without jerking in light-throttle city conditions. But to control it properly on backroads I needed to switch to manual and use the steering wheel paddles. On the extremely sinuous off-autopista test route, left-foot braking into the turns, it did an excellent job. With a lighter engine up front the 1.6 petrol handled very well. Not overtly sporty but neat, tidy and safe enough to give a keen driver plenty of pleasure. Much better than the more nose-heavy diesel. However, left to its own electronics, on the twisty multi-hairpinned route, the box was hopeless. Okay, not the sort of test the average automatic driver would put it to. But choosers should be aware this is not a torque converter automatic. Like the Honda Civic I-shift, unless you are just pootling round town, it needs to be driven with the paddleshifts rather than left in ‘D' to get on with it.
So what's the verdict?
I'd say a vastly better car than the Corolla it replaces. Decent quality, with all chain-cam engines. Likely to be totally reliable. CAP predicts residual values after 3 years on a par with the Civic and ahead of the Golf. It's likable. It rides well. It's comfortable.
I'd go for it over a Golf Mk V any day. It will suit former Honda Civic owners for whom the new Civic is just a bit too futuristic. It's neck and neck with a Mazda 3. It will hold its value better than a Focus, a C4 or a 307. And the 5-door models Britain gets will be built at Burnaston, Derbyshire.
Toyota Auris hybrid:
Toyota has extracted the drivetrain from its Prius to bring us a hybrid version.
Actually, two hybrid versions. One in T4 spec on 15” alloys with 195/65 tyres. The other a T-Spirit on 17” wheels with 215/45 R17 tyres (a £250 option on the T4).
On 15” wheels it’s certificated at a remarkable 89g/km CO2 and 74.3mpg. On 17” wheels those figures fall to 93g/km and 70.6mpg. Still comfortably qualifying it for zero VED, zero London Congestion Tax and just 10% BIK of its £18,950, £19,200 or £20,700 price. (You pay tax on £1,895, £1,920 on 17” wheels or £2,070, so I foresee a rush of company diesel drivers wanting to replace their oil burners with an Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive.
Performance of both is 0-60 in 11 seconds and a top speed of 112mph.
The 98PS of its Atkinson Cycle 1.8 petrol engine is supplemented by an electric motor that puts of 60kW compared to the 10kW of the Honda insight. Combined maximum power is 136PS. Not that you’ll use it all very much.
The car’s forte is traffic where its inbuilt stop start system its ability to run in electric EV mode and where it regenerates best earned us 3.8 litres/100km (74.3mpg). You won’t get that all the time, of course. Cruising on the motorway it can drop to around 55mpg, and up hills to about 45mpg. I reckon the average owner will see 60mpg whether he plumps for the 15” or §7” wheels.
It may surprise you to read that despite the theoretical benefits of the 15s, I’d plump for the 17s. These transform the car from stodgy and uninspiring handling to sharp enough to be almost sporty. More importantly for economy driving, they help you keep your speed up round corners, which, of course, aids economy by reducing deceleration and acceleration.
Some potential buyers may be put off by worries of reliability of the hybrid drivetrain and batteries. To combat this, Toyota warrants the batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles. This suite low mileage retired owners, but high mileage drivers need not worry. Toyota is now seeing Prius II models on taxi fleets reaching 300,000 – 400,000 miles with very little trouble. Prius warranty claims are actually five times lower than for Corollas that are one of the best in all the surveys.
On top of that, the drivetrain has less moving parts. No alternator or starter motor, the functions of which are both carried out by the electric motor. A very simple epicyclic CVT transmission with no belts and pulleys that give no trouble at all. Regenerative braking increases brake pad life to around 60,000 miles on average.
|1.33 VVT-i||48–49 mpg||13.1 s||135–136 g/km|
|1.4 D-4D||57–60 mpg||11.9–14.7 s||124–132 g/km|
|1.4 VVT-i||41 mpg||13.0 s||163 g/km|
|1.6||43–46 mpg||10.0–11.9 s||146–154 g/km|
|1.6 automatic||45 mpg||11.9 s||146 g/km|
|1.6 VVT-i||40 mpg||10.4 s||166 g/km|
|1.8 Hybrid||71–74 mpg||11.4 s||89–93 g/km|
|2.0 D-4D||52–54 mpg||10.3 s||138–144 g/km|
|2.2 D-4D||46 mpg||8.8 s||163 g/km|
|2.2 D-4D SR180||47 mpg||8.1 s||158 g/km|
|2.2 D-4D T180||46 mpg||8.1 s||164 g/km|
|2.2 D-4D Tourer||50 mpg||9.2 s||149 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Toyota Auris (2007 – 2013)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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