First drive: Toyota Auris stop-start
* Price from £12,435 * On sale now * Economical to run, dull to drive...
Toyota refuses to launch a special 'green' brand, saying it wants all its cars to be as clean as possible without resorting to tricks that improve economy figures but compromise driving pleasure.
As a result, the new lightweight 100bhp 1.33-litre engine that it's introducing to the Auris range is more powerful and has more torque than the 1.4-litre unit it replaces.
However, those improvements are only fractional and should be kept in context. The performance remains adequate for town, but subdued elsewhere, and the engine becomes noisy if you go much beyond the 2000rpm required for optimal fuel economy.
The real gains are with running costs.
The new engine is combined with a stop-start system and a new six-speed gearbox, pushing CO2 emissions down 17% and fuel economy up 19% compared to the old 1.4-litre unit. That means an average of 48.7mpg and VED road tax band C, saving £55 a year.
Elsewhere, the same old Auris strengths and weaknesses remain. It's roomy, reasonably priced and comes with the promise of Toyota's high service standards, but it fails to match the class leaders for the quality of its drive.
Price from £12,435
On sale Now
You'll like Economy, Toyota service
You won't Dull to drive, dull to look at