Toyota Auris Touring Sports estate
Price £16,045 - £23,990
- Efficient hybrid engine
- Lots of luggage space
- Comfortable ride
- Noisy automatic gearbox
- Rear seats are a little cramped
- Not much fun to drive
At a glance
“Clever hybrid technology means the Toyota Auris Touring Sports is a really economical and practical estate car.”
The Toyota Auris Touring Sports estate is the Japanese manufacturer's rival for estate cars like the Skoda Octavia estate and Ford Focus estate. The new shape means the Touring Sports is very practical, with plenty of load space especially with the rear seats folded flat. The car is available with a hybrid engine, which uses a petrol engine with an electric motor to boost efficiency. This model is in the lowest company car tax bracket and qualifies for free road tax – making it an attractive proposition for fleet buyers. There are four specifications available, Active, Icon, Sport and Excel, and a choice of four engines – the hybrid 1.8-litre petrol/electric, 1.6-litre and 1.33-litre petrols and a 1.4-litre diesel. It's not the best looking small estate, especially on the inside, but it's still a practical and dependable load-carrying car.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Hybrid model is very cheap to run, but diesel is impressive too
The hybrid model is the standout version for running costs, with emissions of just 85g/km on cars with 15-inch wheels and 92g/km on models with 17-inch wheels. That means tax is free and company car tax is very low, which when combined with economy of 70mpg, means the Auris Touring Sports is a very cheap estate car to run. Since the hybrid car also has fewer moving parts than other models, maintenance costs are kept low as well. The 1.4-litre diesel engine is economical too, getting 67mpg, while the petrol engines all manage over 45mpg. However, they aren't really powerful enough and will struggle to get good fuel economy when carrying heavy items.
Interior & comfort
Comfortable ride, but interior is a bit dull
The car is very quiet on the motorway, although that's somewhat compromised by the CVT automatic gearbox that causes the engine to drone at high speeds. Around town the hybrid model is very quiet indeed and while the interior is drab and uninteresting the car does offer a comfortable ride. The rear seats are quite cramped, however, so it's not the most comfortable place for taller passengers on long journeys.
Practicality & boot space
Estate body shape is very practical and the boot is huge
The Auris Touring Sports can’t beat the VW Golf estate and Skoda Octavia estate for space with the seats up, but as the seats fold properly flat the load space for big items opens up to a huge 1,658 litres. Even if you opt for the hybrid, boot space remains the same as the batteries are mounted below the rear seats rather than taking up valuable boot room. Useful underfloor storage adds to the practicality as well, and the cubbies around you are a good size, including the generous glovebox. The loading lip on the boot is nice and low, too, so putting in heavy items is easier than on the standard Auris hatchback.
Reliability & safety
Toyota is famed for its reliability and the Auris should be no different
Toyota has a good reputation for reliability, coming in ninth in the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey for manufacturers, with a decent service from dealers as well. The Touring Sports uses many of the same parts as the standard Auris, as well as the popular Toyota Prius and Lexus CT 200h, all of which have proven reliable in the past. The Touring Sports also has extra reinforcement in the rear to make sure it is stiff enough, which means that it got a full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests.
Engines, drive & performance
Don't be fooled, it's not as sporty as the name suggests
The name Touring Sports suggests that this version of the Auris might be a fun car to drive, but in reality it's not nearly as good as some of its rivals like the Ford Focus estate or the Volkswagen Golf estate. The steering is too light and the car rolls in the corners, while the small petrol engine is a bit slow. That said, you feel a bit more involved in the driving process as it comes with a manual gearbox rather than the noisy CVT automatic in the Hybrid.
Price, value for money & options
Good for company car buyers thanks to low CO2 emissions
The Auris Touring Sports’ unique selling point is the availability of a hybrid version, which is very economical and falls in the lowest company car tax band, so is likely to be popular with these buyers. Toyota estimates that 4,000 out of the 18,000 Auris models it sells in the UK each year will be the estate version, with around 70 per cent of the estates going to fleet buyers. In terms of value for money, the cheaper Touring Sports models look good on paper, but aren’t really strong enough to carry loads – meaning you’ll need to go for one of the more expensive engines if you want decent performance and economy. Overall, therefore, it's quite expensive to buy.
What the others say
"The boot is the big news. The floor is 10cm lower than in the Auris hatch, so you don't have to lift heavy items as high to get them into the car. Loading is further eased by the absence of a lip at the entrance to the boot."
"It falls short of its rivals in the way it looks and the way it drives, but is comfortable and refined. Importantly for an estate car, boot space is impressive."
"Behind the wheel the Toyota Auris Touring Sports is a tale of two halves. On one hand it is comfortable, easy to navigate around and spacious. On the other the steering wheel is a little cluttered, the touchscreen is situated too low down thus diverting your gaze from the road and there are a few touches that seem misplaced and dated, like the digital clock."