Styling looks great on the second generation. The integrated exhaust and panoramic windscreen being particularly nice touches.
Great fuel economy on every engine except the 1.8 litre petrol. 40 mpg +
Some of the best hybrid engine options in the class
Both models received a 5 star NCAP safety rating
Good reliability, as you'd expect from a Toyota
First generation has a poor quality cabin
Terribly uninspiring handling hasn't improved in over a decade
The carbon fiber body parts lack the quality of other leading models
Built on the same platform as the Toyota Corolla, the Auris is the latest compact hatchback from the Japanese manufacturer. It was released to decidedly average reviews but in terms of being a reliable and cheap car to run, it has performed its core mission admirably.
First Generation (2006 - 2012):
Debuting at the 2006 Paris Motoring Show, the Auris showed off the new styling philosophy of Toyota. The panoramic glass roof, carbon fiber trims and integrated exhaust system were a marked improvement on older Toyota hatchbacks. Performance was very much in the tame category, as
befits a vehicle designed for cheap living. The small engine selection comes in the form of two petrols, a diesel and a hybrid electric option. Ranging from 1.33 litres to 1.6 litres the petrol engines offer very
little power as the compact hatchback is heavier than it looks. The diesel option is similarly pedestrian with it's 1.4 litres offering 90 bhp.
The Auris is one of the few cars on the market where plumping for the hybrid model won't actually decrease the performance much, it's no surprise to see that the hybrid has sold strongly. Indeed, it picked up the "WhatGreenCar Car of the Year 2010" award for its strong fuel economy and bulletproof reliability. These are two areas where the Auris really shines, you won't reach your destination quickly nor excitedly... there's not much refinement either. Yet, you will get there, and you won't spend much
to do it!
Second Generation (2012 - present):
The second generation was much more of the same, though with some added range options in terms of engine technology and cabin extras. The styling too has been updated with a lower and wider stance, it looks quite appealing lending this friendly little hatchback a slightly more aggressive look. Reviews for the first generation weren't too kind about the bland and cheap interior of the Auris and it's pleasing to see that Toyota have really improved the cabin feel. Engine options have also expanded with the 1.8 litre petrol and 1.8 litre hybrid offering reasonable straight line performance. Unfortunately the handling still leaves much to be desired but the powerful new hybrid does mark an important landmark for the Toyota's engine range with a great combination of power and fuel economy. We can expect the hybrid to remain a strong seller for the second generation.
The Auris has a very simple design brief and it does seem to fulfil it. It's cheap to run, cheap to buy and they last a long time. In terms of the competition however, they are decidedly below par. The car is supposed to be competing with the likes of the VW Golf-Series and Ford Focus but given the decidedly uncomfortable cabin and plain handling it completely fails to do this. Whilst the initial pricing undercuts much of the competition this fact will fade quickly on the second hand market where the Auris depreciates quickly. Overall, it's worth looking into the hybrid but other options are best served elsewhere.