Toyota Auris 2.0 D4D TR 3DR

December 2008

picture of car from front

Auris is similar to the old-Corolla in looks

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 7Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 8Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 7Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 6Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Impressive headroom for front and rear passengers
  • Double glovebox is a good use of space
  • Positioning of gear lever feels very natural to use
  • Responsive chassis and very stable on road

Gripes

  • Interior plastics can't compete with best in class
  • The handbrake is awkward to use due to its near-vertical positioning
  • Alloy wheels can crash over some bumps
  • Less than exciting styling

The replacement for the biggest selling car in history, the Toyota Auris had a lot to live up to when launched in 2007. Externally similar to its predecessor, the Auris was intended to offer a step up in terms of interior design and quality without sacrificing practicality or reliability.

Aiming to appeal to hearts and minds, in truth the Auris has been more successful at the latter. Toyota is a firm that believes UK car buyers shop with their heads as well as their eyes, and as such the company has been sure to revise and refresh the Auris line-up to offer model variants that provide decent equipment levels and value for money.

The TR specification is one of the more popular in the line-up of five. Considering its positioning one step up from the base level model, the TR offers a respectable level of equipment and no shortage of refinement, either. Further additions to the model's arsenal in 2008 included automatic dual-zone air-conditioning. Improved exterior detailing and trim, a leather steering wheel and 16-inch alloy wheels have all been added to increase the perceived value.

The fundamentals remain unchanged however, with the Auris offering a tall body that's makes it a spacious and practical car in three or five-door form. Inside, the main feature is the raised, arching centre console that houses the gear lever and incorporates the handbrake. It's a love it or hate it feature - the positioning of the gear lever feels extremely natural and comfortable in contrast to the awkward positioning of the gear-lever.

The Auris engine line-up has also seen revisions since the model's launch. The emphasis is on diesel, with a difference of more than 80bhp between the least and most powerful oil-burner, but the original 1.4-litre petrol unit has been rescinded to make way for a more efficient 1.33-litre unit with a stop start function for increased fuel consumption and therefore lower emissions and road tax charges.

Our verdict on the Toyota Auris 2.0 D4D TR 3DR

Having had time acclimatise to the Auris, it appears that the initial reaction towards its unadventurous styling may have been justified. However, the three-door version is arguably a more visually exciting proposition. As a package, the Auris is very much a thinking person's car. Refined, practical and roomy, it's available with a strong range of engines and is backed by Toyota's equally strong reputation for quality.

Costs
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 car is designed with simple and comparatively repairs in mind, 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 no exception to this rule.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 7

The 60:40 folding split-seat design means boots space can be increased when needed with a simple one-touch operation, and interior space is excellent. The boot is not the biggest in class with the seats in place but is ample. Three-door drivers are unlikely to miss the additional doors unless the rear seats are in constant use, and the flat floor means the rear is less cosy.

picture of car from rear

A wide boot door is useful

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 6

Apart from the awkward positioning of the handbrake on the centre console, all controls and displays are logically placed, clear and easy to use. The instrument binnacle is particularly concise. The steering is light and sensitive, as are the pedals, and the gearshift is short and precise, although first gear is occasionally reluctant to engage. The clutch needs to be depressed to start the engine.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 8

Headroom is particularly generous in the Auris for front and rear passengers. Seats are firm and comfortable and the front seats are well bolstered in the TR model. The rear seats can be reclined and air conditioning is standard across the range. Refinement is very good, with subdued wind and road noise on the motorway.

Car security
Security Rating 7

All models feature remote central locking and an engine immobiliser as standard. It's also wise to not leave the keys on the seat as the Auris will automatically lock itself if the key is not inserted into the ignition within 30 seconds of unlocking.

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 seat fittings.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 6

The 2.0-litre D4D unit offers a considered compromise between performance and economy. It doesn't need to be pushed to keep up with traffic and long gear ratios, combined with respectable levels of torque, make for fuss-free progress. The chassis is taught and responsive and feels very stable at speed. Although not particularly sporty, an excellent and highly adjustable driving position adds to the appeal.

picture of car interior

Bridged console is contentious

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 7

The Auris is designed with families in mind. The five-door might be a more sensible option for those needing to help very young children into the rear, but the three-door will comfortably transport a small family, too. Storage is good, with a double glovebox making up for a small central storage bin.

First car appeal
First car Rating 8

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. However, with the Yaris, Aygo and IQ available, the Toyota line-up offers several options for younger drivers.

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. The anonymous-looking Auris lacks visual flair but it is modern. It blends in rather than stands out as particularly special.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

With a low stance and deliberately tall roofline, even the three-door Auris is an accessible car. Naturally, some compromise is required to access the rear seats but the portal is wide enough to prevent any setbacks. The boot hatch is feels light, and can easily be opened and closed one-handed.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

All models are equipped with an audio system with CD player. Sound quality is adequate but lacking any real depth from the six-speaker system. Audio controls are present on the steering wheel, which is a useful addition. A Tech Pack can be specified with Bluetooth connectivity and an upgraded stereo with IPod connection for music fans

picture of car in detail

Specification levels are good

Colours and trim

Exterior colour choices are a little disappointing, with blue and red being the only variations on black, silver or grey. A decent range of trim levels offers a choice of kit and standard equipment is adequate and includes air-conditioning. The TR specification mostly benefits from exterior options including fog-lamps, additional chrome and alloy wheels. The interior fabrics and plastics do not feel special, but they are robust and well put together.

Parking

Thanks to the 'tall but short' design of the Auris, all-round visibility is good and parking is straightforward. There are no parking sensors on the TR model, but they shouldn't be missed.

Spare wheel

A space saver is fitted as standard across the range.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.33-litre (100bhp); 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 automatic gearbox. Trim levels: T2, TR, T3, SR180, T Spirit.

 

Alternative cars

Volkswagen Golf Sixth generation inherits strong build quality

Ford Focus Comfy, spacious and excellent handling family hatchback

Vauxhall Astra Good value, neat exterior, but too much plastic inside

Mazda 3 Quietly competent hatch is easy to drive



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December 2008