Review

Toyota Auris hatchback

Price  £14,945 - £22,890

Toyota Auris hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Top-class reliability
  • Decent practicality
  • Cheap to run
Cons
  • Bland styling
  • Unexciting interior
  • Noisy automatic gearbox

At a glance

The greenest
Icon 1.8 VVT-i E-CVT 5dr £20,645
The cheapest
Active 1.33 Dual VVT-i 5dr £14,945
The fastest
Excel 1.6 V-Matic 5dr £20,250
Top of the range
Excel 1.8 VVT-i E-CVT 5dr £22,890

"The Toyota Auris is a well-made family hatchback that’s reliable, practical and cheap to run."

If you’re looking for a durable and extremely reliable alternative to the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf, then the Toyota Auris could be the model for you. It has to be said, though, that some people could be put off by the Toyota's bland looks.

The Toyota looks up-to-date inside, plus the interior feels durable and is well equipped. Even the basic model has air-conditioning, central locking and front electric windows, while the top-of-the-range Excel adds cruise control and climate control, as well as front and rear parking sensors.

The option of a hybrid engine is one thing that marks the Toyota Auris out from the competition, and this is the model we recommend. Its petrol-electric setup allows the Toyota to offer diesel-like fuel economy and the ability to cover short distances on electric power alone. You can also choose between two petrol engines – a 1.3 and a 1.6-litre – plus a 1.4-litre diesel engine.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.4 / 5

Auris is cheap to run thanks to excellent economy and efficiency

No Toyota Auris will be expensive to run. The entry-level 1.33-litre petrol engine is capable of fuel economy of 52.6mpg, while road tax costs £100 a year thanks to CO2 emissions of 125g/km. In fact, if you don’t cover many miles a year, the 1.33-litre engine is the one you should go for.

If you’re a high-mileage motorway driver, then the diesel engine’s fuel economy of more than 72mpg will appeal, but the most economical model of all is the petrol-electric Auris Hybrid. According to Toyota, it can achieve fuel economy of 80mpg, while low CO2 emissions mean that road tax is also free. The hybrid’s regenerative braking system – which stores the otherwise-wasted energy of braking – also reduces wear on the brakes to lower maintenance costs.

The Toyota comes with a five-year/100,000-mile warranty, which is better than you’ll get from the likes of Ford and Vauxhall. Insurance should also be affordable, with the Auris running from group 7 to group 14.

Engines, drive & performance

2.0 / 5

The Auris is capable but hardly exciting

The interior of the Toyota Auris looks modern and well built, especially when sporting the Excel model’s standard sat nav and part-leather upholstery. Plastic quality isn’t up to the standards of a Volkswagen Golf, but it’s more than a match for rivals from Hyundai and Kia.

Getting comfortable behind the wheel should be easy thanks to a steering wheel that adjusts for rake and reach and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. The Toyota offers decent visibility, so most drivers should find it easy to manoeuvre, and top-of-the-range Excel models have parking assistance.

The stiff suspension that’s supposed to make the Toyota more fun to drive in corners also makes it less comfortable over bumps and potholes than a VW Golf. This discomfort is compounded in the Auris Hybrid by a CVT automatic gearbox, which causes the engine to emit a constant drone under hard acceleration.

Interior & comfort

2.6 / 5

Smooth, quiet and comfortable, but the interior is dated

The interior of the Toyota Auris looks modern and well built, especially when sporting the Excel model’s standard sat nav and part-leather upholstery. Plastic quality isn’t up to the standards of a Volkswagen Golf, but it’s more than a match for rivals from Hyundai and Kia.

Getting comfortable behind the wheel should be easy thanks to a steering wheel that adjusts for rake and reach and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. The Toyota offers decent visibility, so most drivers should find it easy to manoeuvre, and top-of-the-range Excel models have parking assistance.

The stiff suspension that’s supposed to make the Toyota more fun to drive in corners also makes it less comfortable over bumps and potholes than a VW Golf. This discomfort is compounded in the Auris Hybrid by a CVT automatic gearbox, which causes the engine to emit a constant drone under hard acceleration.

Practicality & boot space

2.6 / 5

The Auris offers decent practicality although it’s far from class-leading

There’s plenty of space in the front seats for tall adults, and the Auris also has a huge number of cubbyholes – including a large glovebox, door pockets, big cup-holders and a useful additional storage area in the centre console.

Space in the back of the Auris isn’t class-leading, but unlike most of its rivals, it does have a flat floor in the back instead of a raised transmission tunnel. This means the passenger sitting in the middle back seat has somewhere to put his or her feet.

The boot’s large opening and low load lip makes it relatively easy to lift heavy items in. Capacity is 360 litres (20 litres less than what the Golf offers), but the seats in the back can be folded nearly completely flat – as well as splitting 60:40 – to reveal 1,200 litres of boot space. The Toyota’s rear seatbelts are also well packed, so they don’t get caught up when you fold the seats down.

Reliability & safety

4.6 / 5

Superb levels of reliability and safety

The Auris finished in a decent 45th out of 150 cars in our Driver Power 2014 owner satisfaction survey. The car scored well in almost every area, bar performance, where its lacklustre driving characteristics were punished with a 141st-place finish. In-car technology, seat comfort and ease of driving were all highly praised, though. The Auris’ performance in our survey indicates that recalls have not had an adverse effect on the car’s reputation, and it’s also worth noting that the hybrid model’s batteries are covered by an eight-year warranty.

Seven airbags and electronic stability control helped the Auris score the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests. During the evaluation, the passenger compartment remained stable and the Auris was also praised for its ability to protect small children. It also offers two ISOFIX child-seat mounts on the outer seats in the back.

Price, value for money & options

3.4 / 5

Great value price tag given the equipment levels

Toyota hasn’t skimped on equipment – even the basic Auris Active has air-conditioning, electric windows and heated mirrors, but it looks quite plain without alloy wheels. Icon models look smarter thanks to the inclusion of alloy wheels, chrome detailing and front foglights, while inside they get Toyota’s touchscreen infotainment system, as well as front and rear electric windows.

Icon Plus adds sat nav to that list. At the top of the range is the Excel Hybrid, which has a long list of additional equipment including 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear LED lights and retractable wing mirrors. You’ll know you’ve spent the extra cash inside, too, thanks to part-leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, intelligent parking assistance, sat nav, cruise control, and climate control with separate controls for the driver and passenger.

A healthy amount of equipment is one thing, but the Toyota’s poor second-hand values are likely to put people off. They’re particularly bad for the Hybrid, which is likely to be worth just 35% of its purchase price after three years or 36,000 miles. In comparison, a top-of-the-range Volkswagen Golf diesel (the Auris Hybrid’s most obvious rival) should hold on to 50% of its value.

What the others say

3 / 5
based on 1 review
3.0 / 5
"The Toyota Auris is a significant step-up in terms of style, practicality and efficiency over the car it replaces. It's better to drive, too, but despite work on making it more enjoyable to drive, it still can’t hold a candle to the VW Golf or Ford Focus. They hybrid needs to rid itself of the CVT to be even considered a sporting drive, but Toyota should be applauded for making steps in the right direction. The Auris is a start, but it's a long way off its rivals."
Last updated 
21 Oct 2014

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