Toyota Auris 1.6 VVT-I T Spirit

January 2007

picture of car from the front

The Auris shares many of the Yaris's styling features.


Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 8Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


  • Good head, leg and elbowroom for front and rear passengers
  • The spacious cabin has plenty of storage areas
  • The main dials above the steering wheel are exceptionally clear and easy to read
  • The new chassis and suspension handle poor road surfaces well


  • Overall cabin build quality could be better
  • The handbrake is awkward to use due to its near-vertical positioning
  • 1.6 petrol engine lacks power and is noisy when pushed
  • The boot is modest compared to some rivals

After 40 years, the Corolla, the world's best-selling family car, is being replaced in Europe by Toyota's Auris. After five years in the making, Toyota hopes its Auris will enjoy similar success afforded to the Corolla, competing at the top of the C-segment alongside the likes of the VW Golf and Ford Focus.

After researching the target market Toyota believes the Auris is an 'intelligent package', and has designed it primarily for European drivers who demand lots of space and an enjoyable driving experience.

From the outside the Auris's design is modest rather than bold, taking the Yaris's characteristics from the front and sides and the Corolla's solid, rear silhouette. The smooth design does not command much road presence and is unlikely to be considered striking to look at. However, aerodynamically it leads to a very low drag coefficient, which makes for better fuel economy, greater vehicle stability and keeps wind noise to a minimum - to the benefit of occupants.

As well as concentrating on the smooth flow of air over the bodywork, there is attention to aerodynamic detail underneath the car, too, which includes a flat engine undercover and an efficient design of the suspension parts and fuel tank and exhaust pipe. At the back, ground clearance of the rear bumper is set higher to increase the airflow and the styling of the rear minimises the amount of wind swirl from the roof.

Keeping the occupants in mind, Toyota claims to have designed the Auris 'from the inside out', making it tall and roomy and revealing more character than its exterior. This has in part been allowed by the 'bridged' centre console. As well as being an unusual design in hatchbacks, it gives the driver and front passenger more space. Meanwhile, thanks to the clever exhaust system, the flat floor design offers rear passengers more room.

Our verdict on the Toyota Auris 1.6 VVT-I T Spirit

The Auris may be taller and roomier than its typical competitors in the C segment, but for drivers who really require space compact MPVs still fulfil this brief more adequately. Similarly, the driving experience has much room for improvement. That said, safety, reliability, cheap running costs and high predicted residuals for the Auris make it a long-term purchase worth considering by an urban family.

Costs rating 8

The Auris has been designed with low cost of ownership in mind, with it performing well in fuel consumption and servicing areas. The Auris has been designed to make repairs simple and comparatively cheap to carry out, which contributes to the range's low insurance groupings. In addition, Toyota vehicles have a reputation for reliability coupled with typically strong residual values and the Auris is unlikely to be the exception to this rule.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

The five-seater Auris delivers well on space for occupants, and the 60:40 folding split-seat design means boots space can be increased when needed, with a simple one-touch button.

picture of car from the rear

The shape of the rear helps minimise wind resistance

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

Apart from the awkward positioning of the handbrake on the centre console, all controls and displays are logically placed, clear and easy to use. T Spirit and T180 models feature cruise control with a speed limiter.

Comfort Rating 8

There is plenty of leg and headroom for taller passengers and drivers. The fully adjustable driver's seat and steering column mean that most drivers should be able to find a comfortable driving position with relative ease. Seats are firm and comfortable, and rear seats can be reclined. Air conditioning is standard across the range.

Car security
Security Rating 7

All models feature remote central locking and an engine immobiliser as standard. A remote alarm is standard on T3 models and above, while T Spirit and T180 models also feature a smart entry and keyless start system.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

Both active and passive safety measures are impressive, and include ABS, EBD, BA as well as stability and traction control. Occupants are also protected by seat belt reminders, nine airbags (including knee airbag for the driver), front seats designed to prevent whiplash and two Isofix child fittings as well as child-proof door locks in the rear.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 6

Driving appeal varies across the range, with the diesels offering better performance overall. The highly efficient 1.6-litre petrol unit offers best driving results in urban traffic. Despite its modest size and weight it is less sprightly out on open roads, and the unit struggles when travelling uphill.

picture of car interior

The centre console's design maximises space and puts all controls within easy reach of the driver

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 8

The Auris is designed with families in mind, particularly five-door models. Easy access, spacious, plenty of storage, sturdy, steady and reliable, the Auris has much family appeal.

First car appeal
First car Rating 7

It's a safe, practical and reliable choice making it a sensible candidate for a first car. All-round visibility is good which makes it relatively simple to park - a distinctive plus for the less experienced driver.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 6

Japanese manufacturer Toyota has a reputation for producing reliable vehicles, and as such many of its vehicles are purchased by the more conservative, older driver, as well as by families. As the replacement for the outgoing Corolla the anonymous-looking Auris is unlikely to earn street credibility, but is likely to be a popular choice nonetheless.

Accessibility Rating

The five-door Auris is exceptionally accessible for front and rear passengers with its low stance and tall roofline. The boot hatch opens with ease, too.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

All models are equipped with an audio system with CD player, while T3 and T Spirit models feature audio controls on the steering wheel and a six-speaker system. T Spirit and T180 models gain satellite navigation as standard. An optional accessory pack offers an upgraded sound system that is iPod compatible and has Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free mobile phone calls.

picture of car in detail

The rear seat folds back to increase the boot's load capacity

Colours and trim

A limited range of paint options (two greys, black, white, red and pale blue) accompanies three trim specifications, which offer equally modest equipment levels. The interior fabrics and plastics do not feel special, though are likely to be durable given Toyota's reputation.


Thanks to the 'tall but short' design of the Auris, all-round visibility is good and parking is straightforward.

Spare wheel

A space saver is fitted as standard across the range.


Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre VVT-I (94bhp); 1.6-litre VVT-I (122bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.4-litre D-4D 90 (89bhp); 2.0-litre D-4D 130 (124bhp); and 2.2-litre D-4D 180 (175bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, six-speed manual gearbox, switchable MultiMode auto. Trim levels: T2, T3, T Spirit.


Alternative cars

Volkswagen Golf Attractive, spacious and boasts a decent ride

Ford Focus Accomplished all-rounder for the driver and high levels of refinement for passengers

Vauxhall Astra Rakish-looking Astra is a good effort from Vauxhall. Well-equipped and enjoyable to drive

Mazda 3 Comparable Mazda is similarly conservative in its approach

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January 2007