I needed a car that would get me through 75,000 miles over the next three years. Since I have to fund it myself then the decision has got to be right! I wanted a good quality diesel so
I tested the following cars: Seat Leon 1.9 and 2.0TD - I loved the design but too low for my work The VW Golf V - expensive BMW Series 1 - fabulous chain cam engine, interior too small and expensive
I wouldn't touch a Peugeot/Citroen HDI family diesel Focus, Mondeo, Mazda 3, Freelander or Xtype Jag as flywheels come adrift. I looked at the Vectra 1.9CDTF, the Suzuki SX4 1.9TD and Saab 9-3 1.9TiD but all of them have got particulate problems with their diesel engines, especially the Saab.
I kept coming back to the cam-chain diesel-engined 130hp Toyota Auris.
I initially thought it was dead ugly. The journalists hate this car... but look at Honest John's website and he has indicated this was worth a look, even suggesting it is better than a VW Golf V. It is a car that you buy because your brain tells you to, although your heart rebels because it is very low in bling looks/credibility.
You do sit up high and even on some 4x4s you can look directly into their cabin, but it corners well and after some long distant drives it really grows on you.
After some time and use the design (both internal and external) starts to reveal itself to you.
It's a good car. Try it, but be patient...and don't be put off by those very subjective journalists! After all the car in front is a Toyo
I had a T180 for a weeks test drive and found it to be a great car. It strikes a good balance of handling and comfort with the ability to cover long motorway journeys as well as providing some fun down twisty roads. The interior is well build with no rattles or other noises.
The car is 2' shorter than my current Mondeo estate yet still provides as much cabin space and a large enough boot. Being a lillte taller also makes the car easy to get in and out of.
Whilst I would like to think I should go for a 'drivers car' having tried some of them I quickly come to the conclusion the the Auris is going to be a much better car to live with long term.
I had an Auris for the day and was extremely impressed, so much so that I want to make this my next car.
Not only is it a good looking car on the outside, but is comfortable, spacious and practical and genuinely seems to be built with the driver in mind.
I was impressed with the drivers position I was able to get as I am rarely happy with this in other cars that I've driven, and often end up with back ache and not having great visibility.
Gear change, acceleration and handling were all very good and smooth. The only thing I could fault was the handbrake, which I found slightly aukward, however I'm sure this is something you'd get used to quite easily.
Standard Auris is a very solid all round family car, does everything right, reliable, cheap to own and run, comfortable to drive, looks nice and drives nice. Its a much better car than the Corolla which it replaces and that was a great car in itself, best selling car in the world.
I'm more interested in the T180 though - the underestimated one. Its got a big punchy and very quick diesel engine. It delivers on thrills theres no doubt about that, extremely quick out of corners in the countryside due to the 400nm of torque and smooth powerful delivery up to its 180bhp, unpredictably quick. It may not be as powerful as the ST, or Type-R but it will put a smile on your face when you drive it with authority. It might not be as fast but you get 45Mpg, smooth ride + long distance comfort, cheap servicing (same as all other Auris models), cheaper insurance, cheaper road tax, quiet noise levels at speed and as many toys for your money as the other models. Then you have the better residuals and the impeccable service and support from toyota dealers.
If you want a fast thrilling car, without the extra cost on fuel and ownership the T180 is the perfect alternative to the thirsty hard(ish) riding hot hatches.
Still, if you have lowish millage and short journeys you can't go wrong with the new type-r or excellent GTI.
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