- Strong reliability record
- Spacious and practical
- Generous kit levels
- Some poor quality interior trim and detailing
- Wind noise at speed
- Rivals are better to drive and more interesting
The first generation of Toyota Auris was a popular car that appealed directly to buyers’ heads. It wasn’t expensive to run, it was practical and it was reliable. Alternatives like the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf were much better to drive, however.
Desirability wasn’t a key strength of the Auris either. While it was presentable it looked anonymous and it didn’t have the credibility or appeal that made the German brands so successful.
The Japanese manufacturer took note and this version of the Auris promises more driver engagement, a simplified equipment range, improved styling and lower running costs.
Available in the new Toyota Auris is a selection of four engines that all offer acceptable performance and low emissions. The entry-level choice is a 1.33-litre 98bhp petrol engine which is claimed to be capable of averaging 52.3mpg.
Buyers wanting a little more power can opt for a 1.6-litre 130bhp petrol engine, capable of averaging 47.9mpg. Also available is a frugal 1.4-litre 89bhp diesel engine, claimed to average up to 74.3mpg.
Lastly, the Auris will be offered with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive. This combines a 1.8-litre petrol engine with an electric drive system. Its CO2 emissions are an environment-friendly 87g/km and it’s claimed to average an impressive 74.3mpg.
In order to appeal to buyers’ hearts as well as their heads, Toyota set about making the 2012 Auris more interesting and more attractive to own.
As well as the improvements in efficiency, the company says the Auris is now more involving to drive. Myriad changes have been carried out, including reductions in weight and a revised steering and suspension system.
The interior is all-new and it’s reputed to offer more space, greater comfort and a higher quality finish. The exterior benefits from a new design as well but it's still pretty uninspiring compared to its rivals.
Equipment levels have been improved too and even the entry-level model comes with features such as climate control and electrically adjustable and heated front mirrors.
Update in 2015
The Auris received a mid-life facelift in 2015 which brought with it tweaks to the design including new LED lights and a wider front bumper for a sportier look. New, more luxurious materials inside help give the car a more premium look too and there’s a new 7-inch centre console system.
One of the big stories to come out of the facelift was the introduction of two new engines to the range, a 1.6-litre diesel borrowed from BMW and a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol – both are Euro6 compliant and offer impressive running cost figures.
Suspension and steering revisions have improved ride comfort and engagement behind the wheel too, plus two new trim levels have joined the range; Business Edition tailored for fleet drivers and Design which adds sportier features as standard.
So, the Toyota Auris looks like it has a good chance against its key rivals like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. This is one of the most contested sectors of the industry, however, and alternatives like the Hyundai i30 and Kia cee’d will also prove tough to beat.
The Auris may well be a worthwhile option for someone looking for reliability and practicality but in terms of handling abilities and outright desirability it's still behind the rest. For the full 2012 Toyota Auris review read on.
What owners say about this car
The car has massively exceeded expectations. It's enjoyable and genuinely relaxing to drive, smooth, quiet and comfortable. I have several... Read owner review
Seats fold down, decent boot and there are a few decent cubby spaces for your small items. Read owner review
Great boot with a false floor for secret stashes which can be dropped down and the seats folded down... Read owner review