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Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review

Published:23 November 2021

Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • At a glance
  • 2 out of 5
  • 2 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 2 out of 5
  • 2 out of 5

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

► Hybrid Auris no longer on sale
► Review of top-spec Excel estate
► Priced from £26,095 when new

Is the Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports the most boring car ever made? We wouldn’t rule it out. The words ‘Toyota’, ‘Auris’ and ‘Hybrid’ don’t really do much to get the blood pumping, even when combined with the word ‘estate’. Driving one should come with a health warning, with side effects including severe drowsiness and an inability to complete simple tasks for 24 hours afterwards.

However, that’s not to say that the Auris estate isn’t a useful, hassle-free machine. The sheer volume of interior space will be very handy for those with a lot to lug around, and that hybrid powertrain – while not the least bit exciting – should reduce reliance on the pumps. Which is excellent news now that they have a tendency to run dry…

The Auris badge has long since been replaced by the Corolla nameplate in the UK, so those on the hunt for a new car should look at the Corolla Touring Sports instead. But the Auris is still a good shout as a used buy, and this is what we thought of the top-spec Excel model when it was shiny and new…

Check out the best hybrid cars on sale right now

Is the Toyota Auris estate really that boring?

Unfortunately, the Auris estate is to boredom what the Pope is to Catholicism. You don’t buy one because you’re interested in cars, but because you want a car that’s practical and cheap to run. No other reason.

The Auris was facelifted in 2015, but the exterior design still lacks any sort of flair. Compare it to the latest Prius or C-HR crossover and you’d struggle to tell that they’re made by the same manufacturer. Modern Toyotas are a lot more intriguing now. Just look at the GR Yaris.

The car pictured was the one we tested; an Excel model finished in Tokyo Red, arguably one of the more interesting colours. But you’d want a Design model for some extra visual pep, adding sharper black alloy wheels that help enhance the Auris’s pointy face.

 

What about inside the Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports?

The inside too is boring, despite the swooping dashboard being beset with all kinds of angles, corners and shapes. Toyota’s classic alarm clock still features, and will probably still accurately tell you the time long after a nuclear apocalypse.

 

Toyota Auris Hybrid estate interior

In fact, most of the interior feels like it’ll take on a hard life with little fuss. Despite a wide array of materials used, most feel robust to the touch and all of the buttons and switches you’ll be regularly pressing have a pleasingly solid feel to them.

Toyota’s Touch with Go 2 infotainment system is straightforward to use and has a clear display. It does bog down a bit and take a while to load screens now and then, though, and when we tested it the Bluetooth phone link paired our mobile fine for calls but a technological hitch meant it didn’t want to play music despite numerous attempts to get it to connect properly.

What was the 2017 Auris like to drive?

Bland. It moves and stops with little fuss, the steering is decently weighted and the hybrid powertrain ensures that it’s quiet on the move in an urban environment. In EV mode, all you’ll hear is a slight whistle from the electric motor and when you come to a complete stop the car whines like a dog whose favourite bone has been thrown in the bin.

Toyota Auris Hybrid estate centre console

In Excel trim, those large wheels made the ride unsettled and threw up a fair bit of tyre noise at motorway speeds; the peace you get driving one through city streets quickly goes away when you venture out of town.

 

So, that hybrid powertrain – is it worth it?

That depends on your driving style and what you’ll be using it for. The EV mode is great for whizzing you up to speed at traffic lights and gives you a warm smug feeling when you’re sat in traffic, moving silently and using no fuel.

However, the car doesn’t like to stay in EV mode for very long and if you feather your throttle inputs to keep it using battery power alone, you’ll have some irritated drivers behind you wondering why you’re accelerating so slowly.

There’s a ‘B’ mode on the stubby clamshell gear selector which, like the Prius, amps up the brake regeneration system. When you let off the accelerator in ‘D’ the car coasts and gently slows down like any other car but when ‘B’ is engaged, letting off the throttle acts as if you’ve also gently pressed the brakes. It’s a little weird at first but it ensures you maximise the use of the battery pack by keeping it charged.

Toyota Auris hybrid badge

But this is the Toyota Auris estate, remember; a car that’s designed for family life and will most likely have to take more than a few trips out of town on long-distance trips with a full load. After some long motorway drives, we were averaging 53mpg cruising at regular motorway speeds – a decent chunk away from the claimed 70.6mpg figure.

When in town, there were only slight gains in economy. In order to keep up with traffic you need regular heavy pedal presses, resulting in the gruff petrol jumping into life and becoming vocal. You also have what feels like an agonising wait for the Auris to get up to speed; its claimed 11.2-secoond 0-62mph sprint feels a tad optimistic.

Is it practical though?

Oh absolutely – this is the whole reason why you’d buy a booted Auris. The boot with the seats up has a deeply impressive 672 litres of space, which is more than you got in contemporary rivals like the Renault Megane Sport Tourer, Hyundai i30 Tourer and Ford Focus Estate.

 

With the seats flat, that space swells to a massive 1658 litres, which is huge for this class of estate car. Make no mistake: the Auris wagon is very versatile indeed.

Toyota Auris Hybrid estate front quarter

Verdict

No matter how you look at it, the Auris Hybrid Touring Sports is not an exciting car to drive, sit in or even look at. It’s hard to see those of us who love cars and love driving recommending one ahead of more interesting alternatives. Its hybrid status gives it a clever technological edge that’s very on trend in an age when diesel’s dirty; just remember that the petrol-electric efficiency claims are rarely borne out in real-world driving.

The perfect buyer for this car would be someone looking for something that requires little effort, lots of interior space and a solid reliability record. Or, in fact, someone who just isn’t interested in driving.

It’s not a bad car at all. But it might be worth having an energy drink or some caffeine pills before you jump in. We wouldn’t want you to fall asleep at the wheel, would we?

Check out all of our Toyota reviews here

Specs

Price when new: £26,905
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1798cc 4cyl petrol plus electric motor, 134bhp @ 5200rpm, 257lb ft @ 4000rpm
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission, front-wheel drive
Performance: 11.2sec 0-62mph, 112mph, 70.6mpg, 92g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1865kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4595/1766/1485mm

Rivals

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  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports estate review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review
  • Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports review

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

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