Toyota has clearly taken a step in the right direction with its newly updated Auris. It’s received a mid-life upgrade that’s sufficient to enable it to compete competitively with such cars as Ford’s Focus, the Volkswagen Golf and Opel’s Astra. In the past Toyota’s Auris was somewhat bland in comparison to some of the aforementioned competitors, this is no longer the case. Toyota is really setting the standard for dynamic design which is evident right across their range now.
Externally this new Auris has a sharper look, aided by new headlights and new upper and lower grilles which run the full width of the car. There is newly designed rear lights along with a redesigned lower bumper at the rear which give the Auris a lower and wider stance. The cosmetic changes were carried out on the interior too, with a new control panel for the heating and air conditioning, along with redesigned air vents and Toyota’s integrated touch screen which sees an increase in size to 7-inches. Overall the quality of materials throughout is on a par with its German models, it’s a pleasure to spend time behind the wheel or as a passenger in the Auris.
Customers can choose from four equipment grades Terra, Aura, Luna and Sol. The entry-level Terra variant is priced from €20,750 and comes complete with stability control, daytime running lights, Bluetooth connectivity and a multi-function steering wheel. The Aura grade adds 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, a leather steering wheel and climate control. Luna models gain chrome window frame surrounds, cruise control, Toyota Touch 2, a rear view camera and electric rear windows. The top of the range Auris Sol comes with a host of additional features which includes, 17” machine faced alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, rain sensing wipers, electric folding mirrors, heated front seats and a power adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat.
There is a range of petrol and diesel engines available for the new Auris, including a Hybrid model which is priced from €24,990 which represents a significant saving over its predecessor. Our test car was the 1.2-litre D4-T petrol variant in Sol trim. Despite its relatively small size it’s an extremely capable engine that provides sufficient power for the vast majority of journeys. It’s silky smooth around town and content with motorways. The six-speed manual transmission is effortless to use with a light fluid movement on gear changes. The Auris handles remarkably well for mid-size family hatch, it has the ability to reward on stretches of country road, not something an Auris of old could achieve. The frugal petrol engine brings to light the resurgence of small capacity petrol engines that really make sense for motorists that don’t cover vast mileage annually. The saving on purchase price over a diesel alternative, along with excellent fuel consumption and low road tax makes this model the smart purchase.
Toyota has fettled the Auris in all the right places to produce a five-door hatch that anyone would now be proud to have sitting in their driveway. Our preference would be to opt for the petrol model in Sol trim over the diesel alternative in a lower grade for the same price.
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