Okay but pretty boring, and bettered in every respect by many other cars in the class
Comfortable to drive, but not as classy or appealing as some rivals
Plenty of airbags and a good result from Euro NCAP crash tests
Should run like clockwork, given Toyota's record
Ample head- and legroom all round, and decent boot
Perfectly acceptable equipment levels for the class, but no more
The Toyota Auris is okay to drive, but not much more, and other cars do just about everything better: a Ford Focus offers sharper handling while a Volkswagen Golf feels smoother on rough surfaces. There are four engines to choose from. The 1.33 petrol is a bit sluggish and the 1.6 petrol doesn't feel that much quicker. The 1.4 diesel manages over 60mpg but that good economy is the only real reason to buy it; its performance is pretty pedestrian. The hybrid, which combines a petrol engine with an electric motor, is the best bet: you need a relaxed driving style to get the best from it, but this makes it the smoothest, quietest and most frugal car in the range. In fact, it's nearly silent if you take a gentle approach, while the other engines can be gruff. All models suffer from wind noise at high speeds, and course surfaces create too much road noise.
The Auris's interior feels solid and durable, but the materials are desperately unappealing. Still, the dashboard puts every control within easy reach, although the handbrake is at an awkward angle. It's easy for the driver to get comfortable, and there's a handy storage space for your MP3 player under the centre console. There's ample space for all occupants, and the rear seat backs can be reclined so passengers there can select their preferred position. The middle passenger here fairs better than in some rivals, too, thanks to a totally flat floor. The boot is a good size, too (unless you go for the hybrid version, which loses a chunk of the load area to the battery pack) and an adjustable floor allows you to split it horizontally in two and create a level loadbay if you fold down the back seats to carry large items. Entry-level Active models come with climate control, electric front windows, a CD player with USB port and remote central locking, while Icon trim adds alloy wheels, a DAB radio, a rear parking camera and a colour touch-screen incorporating Bluetooth; Sport models have appropriate cosmetic additions including sports seat up front, while range-topping Excel cars including automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, leather trim and keyless start.
Toyotas are notoriously dependable and the Auris was rated 'excellent' for mechanical reliability in the 2012 JD Power survey. It came second overall in its class, scoring top marks for dealer service, too. The Auris also comes with the reassurance of a five-year warranty. All models come with stability control and six airbags including curtain 'bags which cover the rear windows, and an airbag for the driver's knees. The Auris scored the maximum five stars in crash tests by Euro NCAP, with a respectable 92% for adult safety and 84% for children.
The Auris is cheaper to buy than many rivals, which is lucky as dealers won't give you much of a discount. Most of the engines give competitive fuel economy and the Auris has pretty good re-sale vales, too. The hybrid is quite expensive to buy but it promises an impressive 74.3mpg and is exempt from road tax.