Good levels of cabin space
It was only a matter of time before Toyota produced a hybrid version of its mainstream family hatchback, the Auris. Offering a similar level of performance to that of the Prius, the Japanese car maker believes the more conventional Auris will have a broader appeal.
Outwardly there's little to tell the hybrid Auris apart from its petrol and diesel powered cousins. To the well informed observer the tell-tail sign is the blue Toyota badging - the convention identifying both Lexus and Toyota hybrids.
What you can't see from the outside is the Auris hybrid's potential. Like the Prius it offers owners the ability to make meaningful savings, both financial and environmental. There's no question that the cars sub 95g/km CO2 rating and 70-odd mpg fuel economy are impressive attributes for a family-size hatchback.
Key to its appeal is the fact that it behaves like a regular family car and doesn't look like a futuristic spaceship. It's not all plain sailing, however, as boot space is reduced over the standard Auris thanks to the hybrid's extra hardware.
That aside, driving the Auris hybrid is a straightforward experience, and possibly easier thanks to the car's CVT auto gearbox and games console-like gearshifter. Factor in the typically Toyota heavily assisted steering, a raised driving position and the ability to drive a few hundred metres in battery only mode at low speeds and there's more to this car than meets the eye.
The appearance of the Auris hybrid is proof that the time to convince mainstream buyers of the merits of green motoring has come. To compare this Auris to an equivalent oil burner would be to miss the point, however. The Auris is best suited for urban journeys and sympathetic, light-footed drivers. Boy racers need not apply.