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Toyota Auris SR180 2008 Road Test

Sat, 29 Mar 2008

This is a catch-up to the Toyota Auris range test a year ago, where I never got a proper chance to drive what was then called the Auris T180 and is now called the Auris SR180.

Now it’s re-named the SR and has had some minor tweaks, but retains its powerful 177PS chain cam diesel engine and fully independent trick rear suspension. Put simply, the tilt/slide sunroof has been dropped, it now has rear privacy glass and a subtle rear spoiler, and, unlike the rest of the Auris range, is listed £300 cheaper.

The model has come in for some stick from boy racer road testers for not being sporty enough. And indeed, when you come from a Focus, 308, C4, Golf or Leon you think you’ve entered a comfort zone rather than a pitlane.

The whole thing is softer. The steering needs more turning. You sit higher. In traditional terms it doesn’t feel like a hot hatchback.

Yet whack it down a potholed street or, worse still, one festooned with metre wide ‘speed cushions’ and you don’t cripple your coccyx or shatter your spine. Instead you glide relatively serenely over the damn things.

In inclement weather, too, it can be desirable to have a bit more give in the suspension because then you are less likely to call on a modern car’s artificial aids to keep you on the road.

So I’m fine with Toyota actually offering an alternative to rock hard, and giving a softer alternative even to the accomplished Focus.

But it’s what’s under the bonnet that is what this car is all about. The same 177PS 2.2 chain cam diesel that hauls the Avensis and RAV-4 T180s along so impressively. An engine even shared with the Lexus IS220d. Yet in a smaller, lighter car.

Needless to say, it pulls like a Chelsea footballer in the R bar. While 6th gear gives you more than 35mph per 1,000pm. So at 70 you’re turning a typical 2.0 diesel 2,000rpm yet, unlike similarly geared diesels, you have extremely strong torque to get you out of trouble. That gearing also makes it very economical.

So if you’re a high mileage driver, the Toyota Auris 180SR is a very effective way to cover ground quickly with minimum environmental impact.

Original January 2007 Auris range test at www.honestjohn.co.uk/road_tests/index.htm?id=259

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