< Toyota Auris Review
 
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Toyota Auris
Corolla Replacement Updates Old Attributes

As Solid, Competent, Flexible As You’d Expect
Even Old Inoffensive Qualities Replicated 
**** out of 5



The Toyota Auris replaces the Toyota Corolla, and that must be just about the most difficult act to follow in the history of motoring. The phenomenally successful Corolla was arguably the car which did most to propel Toyota to its current status as the world’s most successful mass producer of cars.

The Corolla, in production for more than 40 years, comprised a formula which maddened and puzzled teenage scribblers on TV shows like Top Gear, and the motoring magazines which write for a readership which gets excited about cars, but is probably too young to even hold a driving license, let alone get behind the wheel.

The Corolla was bland and understated, but it was successful because car buyers quickly found out that it was as reliable as Cherie – “I can’t be bonkers because I’m a QC” - Blair’s tin-ear ability to always say the wrong thing or misjudge the public mood. The Corolla relentlessly proved that it was a solid design put together by a competent process which never skimped on the basics. It simply did what it said on the tin. No spin, no hysterics, just solidity and reliability. The fact that this is exactly what car buyers want, just burns up the 0-60, boy racing, tyre-squealers.

Can the Auris follow this?

No slavering
Well the design certainly adequately mimics or perhaps updates  the anonymous quality of the Corolla. Sure, it looks nice and inoffensive; it won’t put any potential buyers off, but also nobody will be slavering with excitement at the prospect of owning one.

Inside, it gets a bit more exciting. The dashboard is really neat with a central stack gleaming with an aluminium-like surface which is very attractive. Mimicking the Volvo C30’s “flying” central stack, the console sweeps outwards, leaving a space behind, for what reason, I know not.

The gear lever is set centrally into the facia, and sweetly guides you through the six speeds. The small radio/CD controls were annoyingly small and fiddly. The seat fabric wasn’t top notch. The doors felt a bit on the flimsy side, and shut with a whimper, not a bang. The handbrake needed a bit of effort to disengage it.

The two litre diesel 130 bhp T3 D-4D model that I drove performed strongly and quietly, although at startup, I could feel vibration through the steering wheel from the engine. Economy was outstanding, and I averaged 48.1 mpg-5.9 l/kms over about 400 miles, although this was cruising at legal speeds on British motorways so you would expect good figures. I couldn’t quite get to the claimed combined 52.3 mpg-5.4 l/kms. Perhaps if I had paid more attention to the little gizmo which quietly reminds you that now is the time to change up or down a gear, I might have improved the economy, but I doubt it.

Seems small
The car seems small compared with rivals like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, and storage space is adequate rather than voluminous. The mechanism which holds up the rear rack while you pack stuff in the boot was flimsy, with not much more than a piece of string holding up a tacky, lightweight feeling rear shelf. For the passengers though, there’s plenty of room for four.

The driving experience was just fine. The steering was light and accurate. The suspension did its job well. Grip was up to par, if anyone cares.

The car was very well equipped, but doesn’t seem cheap. This version cost £15,600-€23,100, and I’ve just been driving the new Fiat Bravo, which will cost at least £2,000-€3,000 less, and looks so cute you might want to hug it; more about this on wintonsworld.com soon.

There is a choice of two petrol engines with the Auris – 1.4 and 1.6 litres, and three diesels – 1.4, 2.0, and 2.2 litres.

Just go to the nearest dealer
This sector of the market has a truly mind-boggling set of choices, from the big selling VW Golf and Ford Focus, the Renault Megane and shortly to be launched Peugeot 308. The Honda Civic is also a strong contender. In truth, it is almost impossible to separate many of these cars in terms of quality, so I’m tempted to cop out again with this advice; just go to the nearest dealer.

As my nearest dealer sells Fiats, that might be tough advice. But given the fantastic ability of the new Fiat Bravo, I’m feeling better about that already.


Neil Winton – July 15, 2007

Toyota Auris
Toyota Auris
Toyota Auris
Toyota Auris
Toyota Auris

Toyota Auris T3 2.0 D-4D

Engine:
2.0 litre 4-cylinder diesel
Power:
130 bhp
Gearbox:
six speed manual
Drive:
front-wheels
Acceleration:
0-62 mph-100 km/h 10.3 seconds
Top Speed:
121 mph-195 km/h
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined – 52.3 mpg-5.4 l/kms - WintonsWorld test - 48.1 mpg-5.9 l/kms
CO2 Emissions:
144 g/km
Length:
4,220 mm
Width:
1,760
Height:
1,515
Weight: 1,400 kg
Suspension:
MacPherson-torsion beam
Price:
£15,600-€23,100
Competition:
Fiat Bravo, VW Golf, Honda Civic, Nissan Note, Ford Focus, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, Mazda 3, Citroen C4, Skoda Octavia, Hyundai Accent, Kia Cee’d, Mercedes A class, Seat Leon, Vauxhall Astra
Would I buy one?
I might go for the Bravo; it is very close after all
Rating:
**** out of 5
Insurance group: 6E
For:
rock solid all-rounder
Against:
looks dull

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