Toyota Auris Review

Find out more about the Toyota Auris in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Good level of reliability
  • Hybrid is cheap to run
  • Practical considering its size

Cons

  • Uninspiring exterior and interior looks
  • Not the best to drive
  • Rivals do a better job
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model Review

For the UK market, the Auris was introduced as a replacement for the legendary Corolla model as the compact hatchback in the Toyota range.

Exclusively built at Toyota’s Derbyshire facility, the Auris was brought to the market in 2006 and gave a much more modern design than the previous Corolla model.

Seen to be a practical and cheap-to-run option in the hatchback, the first Auris never quite appealed as much as the Ford Focus or the VW Golf – which were both more entertaining to drive.

The second generation Auris came in 2012 and brought a less complex and much sleeker design, which did make it look less appealing and more pedestrian when compared to its rivals.

Latest Model

Released in 2012, the Mk II Auris was brought in with a much simpler look and a premium interior finish to help make it appear more upmarket than its rivals.

With the Touring Sports and hybrid models also on offer from Toyota, the Auris does offer plenty of adaptable and affordable options in the guise of the second generation.

The model received a mid-life update and the looks were improved by tightening up the front end design and the efficiency and economy statistics were also improved.

Interior features were also altered to offer a more interactive and simpler layout that helped make the Auris a more logical option for people looking for a good day-to-day car that was simple to use and comfortable to drive.

 

Value for money

What Toyota has managed to do is make the Auris reasonably well equipped from a base spec but the gap between the Active spec and the next one up – Icon – is over £4,000 and the quality of equipment in that higher spec is considerably better.

Still, Auris Active models come with 15-inch steel wheels (alloys on hybrid models), LED daytime running lights, automatic air conditioning, CD player with AM/FM radio, USB/AUX connectivity and front electric windows. It comes with a decent range of accessories for the £15,995 price tag that Toyota demand.

Due to their relative unpopularity when compared to other hatchbacks, high-spec used Auris models can be found at prices lower than new versions but due to their good levels of reliability they can be a smart choice. For example, a 2015 Auris Excel with a 1.8-litre petrol engine with hybrid setup is available for £14,991, and with it comes a wide selection of features that can outstrip an Active model.

Excel versions come with cruise control, touchscreen infotainment and navigation system, multi-functional leather steering wheel, leather upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, parking aids, automatic air conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity and tinted rear glass. This example does have 30,000 miles on the clock already and is in the pre-facelift guise, but that doesn’t mean it is any less of a car in terms of practicality and driving comfort. The extra features do add an extra dimension to this Auris’s personality.

 

Looks and image

Despite the update to make the Auris sleeker and more modern, the Toyota falls far behind on looks with the VW Golf and Honda’s latest Civic. Even though the Auris’s looks may not be its most appealing facet, it does blend into the crowd. The back end isn’t particularly great either and could certainly do with a rethink if Toyota

The back end isn’t particularly great either and could certainly do with a rethink if Toyota decide to continue with the model in the future. The interior is well laid out, but it does lack imagination in terms of the overall design and colour options.

A big difference between the first and second generation models is how the Auris handles and even though it isn’t as capable as some of its rivals, you can tell that Toyota worked hard on making it a bit more engaging. But it still lacks a good level of feedback which others in its class can achieve.

The handling is direct with good weight and offers grip on most surfaces, making it relatively simple to drive. It won’t excite you though, and if that is a characteristic you want from your hatchback it’s worth checking somewhere else.

What Toyota focused on was making the Auris comfortable and for the most part that has been achieved. It can comfortably sit five adults with plenty of leg and headroom to spare and exterior noise has been dulled to a respectable level.

At higher speeds though, wind noise can be quite intrusive and if you choose the hybrid or CVT versions it can feel unrefined and noisy. Ride-wise, the Auris does fairly well and takes many surfaces in its stride. It, however, can feel unsettled on potholed roads and jump around slightly. It isn’t uncomfortable on the whole, but some rivals feel better.

Video Review

Space and practicality

Despite not having the largest boot in its class, the Auris performs well against the best seller in the segment – the Ford Focus – and has 34 litres of extra space with its 350-litre boot. As it has been purpose-built as a hybrid, the batteries don’t encroach on the room and that helps massively. The 60/40 split rear seats make way to make a 1,200-litre rear area, which is very good for a hatchback of its size. The Touring Sports model does even better by taking the class-lead in terms of boot space at 530 litres and that rises to 1,658 litres with the rear seats folded down – an impressive figure in the Touring Sport’s segment.

The 60/40 split rear seats make way to make a 1,200-litre rear area, which is very good for a hatchback of its size. The Touring Sports model does even better by taking the class-lead in terms of boot space at 530 litres and that rises to 1,658 litres with the rear seats folded down – an impressive figure in the Touring Sport’s segment.

As with most other Toyotas, the Auris holds a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and the Touring Sports holds the same figure. With the help of Toyota Safety Sense from Icon models and upwards, the Auris has safety systems on hand to ensure your security including pre-collision system, automatic high beam, lane departure warning and road sign assist. As well as a reversing camera, the option to fit a front one and parking sensors, the Auris has Toyota’s exceptionally high level of safety at its heart.

Families will like the great levels of space on offer and the high level of safety available to them with both the Auris and the Touring Sports model. They will also like the fact it has Isofix points as standard in the rear for child seats and the extensive storage space in the back for pushchairs is also a big plus.

 

Engines

Toyota offers five units for the Auris including two petrols, two diesels and a petrol-hybrid – which offers by far and away the best efficiency and economy figures. One of the petrol engines comes with turbocharging and either a manual or CVT automatic transmission to produce 113bhp, while the other petrol is less powerful at 98bhp and emits more. The turbo diesel units come in the guise of a 1.4-litre 88bhp unit and a 110bhp engine in the shape of a 1.6-litre. The main selling point of the Auris comes in the shape of the hybrid setup, which includes a 1.8-litre petrol with an automatic ‘box and is by far the best performing for running costs.

Running costs

For running costs, look no further than the 1.8-litre petrol-hybrid as it has a quoted MPG of 80.7 and a combined g/km CO2 rating of 79, which is very good for a mid-size hatchback. For road tax that means it fits into the £100 for the first year. The other petrol models fit into the £160 for the first year of road tax, while the diesels do well by being in the £110 and £140 brackets. The worst emitting and performing for running costs is the 1.33-litre 98bhp petrol, by producing 128g/km CO2 and having an mpg rating of 51.4. For insurance all the Auris models come in or under group 16, which means lower premiums for those who drive it.

Things to look out for 

Overall the Auris performs on a reasonable level but it has suffered from general parts issues that have snagged other Toyota models. For example, a rea suspension arm recall was put into effect for the second generation model, a severe and widespread risk of fire due to fluids leaking into the window circuits and the loss of power for hybrid models. Weirdly, most of the issues have befallen the latest generation, with few problems being reported for the Mk I. As always, it is best to make sure of a used vehicle’s history and that it has been in to have any recalls resolved.

Rivals

In what is quite a packed segment, the Auris does have plenty of rivals in the shape of the Ford Focus, the Honda Civic, Hyundai’s i30 and the 3 from Mazda. All of which are arguably more stylish than Toyota, with plenty being better to drive. The Kia Cee’d, Nissan’s Pulsar and the Peugeot 308 are also more likely rivals, with the VW Golf streets ahead in almost every aspect.

Depreciation warning

Due to its good levels of reliability and build quality, most Toyotas do well on the used market and can hold their value well. When compared to less established brands’ models, the Auris can hold on to between 45 and 50 per cent of its value, which is pretty good.

Trims Explained

To offer plenty of price points, Toyota fit one of five trims to the Auris, with each having its own specific characteristics. The five are Active, Icon, Business Edition, Design and Excel, with all being available on both the Auris hatchback and Touring Sports models.

Active

In Active trim the Auris comes with 15-inch steel wheels (15-inch alloys for hybrid versions), LED daytime lights, electric front windows, automatic air conditioning, CD player with AM/FM radio, Bluetooth and USB/AUX connectivity and a push-start button for hybrid models.

Active starts from £15,995, which is par for the course when compared to its sector rivals.

Icon

What Toyota do is put a large gap in price between their first and second trim levels, and with the Icon models that is no exception. But the hike in price is justified due to the large amount of accessories fitted on top. You get a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Toyota Touch 2 system, DAB radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity and music streaming, Toyota Safety Sense systems – including pre-collision system, automatic high beam and lane departure alert – and a reversing camera.

With all-around electric windows as well, the Icon starts at £20,155 and despite the rise in price it is justified.

Business Edition

In Business Edition guise, Toyota adds Go satellite navigation to the Touch 2 multimedia system, cruise control, heated seats and power lumbar support on the front seats.

This demands a price of £20,955.

Design

For Design models, the Auris comes with 17-inch machined alloy wheels, Alcantara sports seats, privacy glass on the rear windows and cruise control.

This is arguably the best looking model of the range and starts from £20,605.

Excel

Excel is the range-topping trim and Toyota adds almost all the features they can muster. This model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED lights and light guide, an enhanced Toyota Touch 2 with satellite navigation, privacy glass, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, parking sensors, heated seats, Smart keyless entry and push-button start and park assist.

Clearly this is the best equipped of the range and if you can spare the expense it starts at £23,545.

Summary

  1. A solid long range cruiser
  2. Good amount of trim options
  3. Can hold its value well
  4. Has a large amount of better rivals
  5. Hybrid is cheap to run but slightly unrefined
  6. Good amounts of space
  7. Average to drive
  8. Second generation has suffered from multiple recalls
  9. Can find cheap high spec models on used market
  10. Not the best to look at

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