Impressive headroom for front and rear passengers
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of more than 80bhp between the least and most powerful oil-burner, but the original 1.4-litre petrol unit has been rescinded to make way for a more efficient 1.33-litre unit with a stop start function for increased fuel consumption and therefore lower emissions and road tax charges.