Our favourite engine is the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol. With it fitted, the Auris feels just as quick as most similarly engined rivals, and will outpace a Ford Focus 1.0 125 Ecoboost. There’s sufficient low-rev shove to make the Auris easy to drive in town, and it’s still gusty enough to allow you to keep up with traffic on the motorway. It comes with a reasonably slick six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT automatic transmission.
The 1.6-litre diesel engine is a little lacklustre by comparison. Although it’s not far behind the 1.2-litre petrol in absolute pace, it isn’t particularly gutsy, so you’ll often have to change down a gear or two at higher speeds if you want decent acceleration. At least it pulls smoothly from low revs.
If you spend most of your time in town, then you’ll find the hybrid is zippy enough. The added boost from its electric motor means it’s reasonably quick off the line, too. The faster you go, however, the less effective its performance becomes, so accelerating or overtaking on A-roads and motorways isn’t its strong point. That said, the hybrid Auris will cruise quite happily once up to speed.
Both the 1.3-litre petrol and 1.4-litre diesel are pedestrian performers, so aren’t really worth considering unless your budget won’t stretch to a more powerful engine.