Good levels of cabin space
Contrary to popular opinion, the compact SUV hasn't killed off the compact estate car. Numerous players still consider this an important market for both private and business users, with Toyota ensuring its latest Auris is represented in Touring Sports guise.
Keen to ensure the Auris range appeals to a younger group of buyers, this generation sports a more distinctive exterior look. Radical by Toyota's standards, this edgy appearance does much to enhance the car's chances of finding homes in what is a highly competitive marketplace.
The Auris wagon is offered with Toyota's usual modest choice of low capacity petrol and diesel engines plus the firm's now familiar petrol-electric combination. Boasting low CO2 and consumption figures, the hybrid should appeal to savvy private buyers and business users keen to pay less tax.
For the rest of us, the petrol-powered models offer modes performance and good levels of refinement. And while the diesel variant can't match the petrol alternatives for refinement, you should see a good level of economy on long journeys.
Key to the Touring Sports' appeal is, predictably, its load space. Offering a more practical and versatile ownership experience than the regular Auris hatch, this estate model gains more useable space when the rear seats are easily folded. Thankfully the penalties are minor, with only a little more care required when parking.
Behind the radical appearance of this generation of Auris estate lies a thoroughly conventional ownership and driving experience. The car's somber cabin might lack sparkle but it should be resilient enough to withstand the knocks of daily life. Thanks to its low-key engine choice, this Auris is best suited for urban journeys and sympathetic, light-footed drivers. Boy racers need not apply.