Toyota Auris HSD: Practical problems

Bootful of batteries

On one of my first trips in the Auris I immediately ran into a bit of a space issue. While picking up some relatives from the train station I put their two suitcases in the boot and attempted to close it - which immediately resulted in the parcel shelf catapulting itself upwards.

You see, with a large battery across the whole boot floor, the Auris hybrid doesn't have room for larger luggage. We had no choice but to put one suitcase in the boot and leave the other on the rear seat, which wasn't ideal. The boot in the Auris hybrid measures 279 litres, 75 litres down on a conventional Auris at 354 litres. This doesn't compare well to competitors like the Ford Focus or the Honda Civic, both of which have substantially bigger boots - 396 litres and 485 litres respectively.

This is one compromise that the hybrid technology in the Auris has presented so far - and it's down to the need for a bulky battery. The manufacturer has to fit it in somewhere, which takes up space as well as adding extra weight.

While this isn't necessarily a deal-breaker it's important to consider things like this when you're comparing hybrid vehicles against a conventional car, as there are potential issues. While most of them may seem insignificant, combine them all together and you can potentially end up with a car that isn't appropriate for your use or doesn't do its job as well, or as cheaply, as a standard petrol or diesel car. 

The Auris has now been pressed into full commuting duties, meaning it'll be covering over 100 miles a day, so I'll very quickly find out what it's like to live with on a regular basis. I'm also going to study the owner's handbook to find out what Toyota suggests in order to get the best economy out of the hybrid powertrain. There's some improvement to be had, though, to go from my recorded 44.2mpg to the claimed 70.6mpg....

Current mileage: 6,257

Average mpg: 44.2

Large battery eats into the hybrid's boot space...

...while the normal Auris has a much deeper boot