Toyota Auris HSD

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Keywords: Toyota Auris HSD

Description: Refresh for Toyota's family hatch promises much but once again fails to deliver. Looks good, though

A new Toyota Auris. Well, a facelifted one. We’re sure you’re as excited by this as we are. But at least it’s quite a substantial set of mods, that includes revised suspension, an all new interior, lower kerbweight and some heavy body revisions. The roofline, for instance, has been dropped by a whopping 55mm. This in turn lowers the centre of gravity, reduces weight, improves aerodynamics and has benefits for fuel consumption and CO2.

The design looks much sharper with neatly pressed lines and that V-shaped nose actually gives the Auris a bit of visual identity. A bit. Trouble is, the Koreans, by which we mean Hyundai and Kia, have closed the gap completely in terms of quality, safety, image, equipment and engineering, are arguably further ahead in design, tend to be cheaper and have a bit more about them. Hmmm.

The best advice we can give is not to buy the hybrid model. Yes, we know it looks tempting with emissions of 85g/km and the promise of 76.3mpg, but you’ll never get that. In fact the battery can deliver enough juice for a mere 1.25 miles of electric motion and when running on petrol it’s not that pleasant. The 1.8 petrol is too raucous and it’s teamed with a CVT gearbox, our least favourite sort. The best we saw was 49.3mpg. It’s a shame that Toyota, which has done more to promote hybrid than anyone, isn’t doing more to advance the technology. The 1.4 diesel is a preferable all round car.

All models do driver with a bit more precision and control, though. The ride is composed and although there’s more road noise than is ideal, on the whole it strikes a good, if dull, balance.

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