Toyota Auris: driven
* Affordable with low running costs * Dull to drive, though * On sale now from £14,463...
The small family hatchback class is packed with so many thoroughbreds that the Auris has never been anything more than an also-ran. Toyota will hope this revised version closes the gap by a few furlongs.
Styling face-lift fails to impress
The front end has a new grille, bonnet, bumper and headlamps, while the rear has new light clusters and a new bumper. Despite the changes, however, youll struggle to tell new from old at a glance.
The transformation is even less dramatic on the inside. Soft-touch trim has been added to parts of the dashboard, but it looks virtually indistinguishable from the hard plastic it replaces, because it has the same unappealing, pimpled finish. That said, the redesigned handbrake is much easier to use, and the Auris is still one of the roomiest cars in the class.
The revised Auris is reasonably well equipped. The simplified trim range starts with T2, which has air-con, a CD player and electric front windows. TR trim adds alloys, climate control and powered rear windows, while the SR has sportier styling. All versions have seven airbags, but stability control is a 350 option on every model.
Performance and dynamics
The engine range has also been simplified where there were five before, you now choose from just three. Most buyers will go for the 130bhp 1.6 petrol, but wed recommend the entry-level 100bhp 1.33. It doesnt feel all that much slower (both are disappointingly gutless) and its much cheaper to buy and run. Wed avoid the 89bhp 1.4 diesel, which is weedy, noisy and too expensive.
Performance aside, however, the Auris isnt a bad car to drive. It rides smoothly and quietly, although its a lot less engaging than its best rivals, and while the retuned steering feel quicker than ever, it still has an artificial feel.
What Car? says
Revised Auris is better, but still wont trouble the best.