Some cars set the world alight and some just quietly get on with the job with little fuss or fanfare. The latter certainly rings true with the new Auris thanks to a brand new… and rather decent petrol engine.
In the case of the Auris Tourer fitted with an all new 1.2 16v Turbo petrol unit, quietly getting on with the job is a phrase that fits perfectly. Having undergone a substantial number of revisions and styling tweaks, the Auris offers a little more value, equipment and economy all wrapped in in what I think is a very stylish looking shape. Toyota rightly boast that the Auris is quite unique in the market place by being the only vehicle range to offer all variants of power – diesel, hybrid and good olde worlde petrol.
We sampled a Touring Sport model a little while ago but found it to be rough, gruff and slightly disappointing. What a surprise I had with the all new 1.2 version. The 16v VVTi Turbo does a cracking job by rolling out a credible 114Ps with 185Nm of pulling torque – the latter available from 1500rpm. For 99% of the time its refined and willing, it also warms up quickly too allowing you to get maximum effect from the brilliant heating and ventilation system – sharpish!
On the inside you’ll find they have done a little updating to the boring old slab sided facia. The original dash carcass remains but there’s new buttons and controls to the climate system and a large touch screen that works the infotainment and sat nav functions. Also, there are new dials and incidental display read out for the driver. Its still not the most exiting cockpit, but its much better, seems very well put together and works well in terms of ergonomics.
Your pulse wont race with the seating either, and yet despite a typically Toyota play it safe look to the furnishings, I found the Auris to be excellent in terms of driver comfort round the doors and out on the motorway. I’ll put my neck on the block by saying that I found the 1.2 Design Turbo to have a superb ride. This is another area where engineers have sprinkled some magic, on all but the roughest of roads the Auris has a controlled and placid ride… quite impressive I thought.
The steering lacks some of that all important communicative feel that’s there in some key rivals – notably the Focus and it slightly makes a mockery of its “Sports” moniker. Handling wise there is nothing to worry about, it threads its way round the curves with a predictable manner never unsettling the driver or occupants. As with all Toyota’s you’ll find the brakes progressive with a good pedal feel, no over assistance and well up to the job. ABS with electronic brake force and brake assist all comes as standard… as does traction control.
There’s still an unfair balance between boot space and rear space – its a bit short on rear passenger legroom but headspace is fine… as is the generous cargo bay spoilt only by seat backs that don’t go fully flat – the outgoing model folded totally flat. In terms of equipment the Auris does okay in Design level. Cruise, climate, all round power windows, a good sounding Hi Fi with Bluetooth and phone connectivity. Some stylish alloy wheels round off a refined, economical, well performing British made estate car.
The Humble Opinion:
All in all it wont set your soul on fire but it will impress. This new Auris grows on you and after a long long motorway trek, you can’t help doffing your forelock and respecting its superb comfort with safe predictable handling. Its well made, stylish and provides a credible alternative for those with an allergic reaction to key players like the Astra Sports Tourer or Focus.
As a stand alone car, its a bit of an also ran but DON’T let that put you off. If you’re looking for a dependable estate car that’s almost certainly never going to let you down… or if you are an existing Toyota customer, we say take one for a drive… its a good `un!
Should you buy? Yes – drive one and you’ll see why.
AUTOBRITANNIA.NET RATING: 7/10
Produced by: Toyota GB Burnaston Derbyshire
Power: 114Ps with 185Nm of torque
Economy: 52.3mpg combined (49.7 on test)
Performance: 0 – 60 in 10.1 seconds
Price: £20,595 excluding options
VED: Band D
THE HIGHS: Safe solid and secure – Well equipped – Excellent balance between performance and economy – Good overall build quality – Impressive refinement – Superb dealer reputation – Sensible and practical loadbay – Exterior styling is smart and svelte.
THE LOWS: Rear legroom not the best – Brand image doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing – Interior presentation is very plain and sombre – Really needs a whole new dashboard and a splash of colour – Rear seats don’t fold fully flat and spoil the practicality.
For more information on the Auris range CLICK HERE