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Auris, Toyota for average. Image by Dave Jenkins.

Auris, Toyota for average
Even a high-performance diesel version can't convince us that the Toyota Auris is good enough to compete with the class leaders.

   



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| A Week at the Wheel | Cambs, England | Toyota Auris D4D180 SR |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Our first view of the sportier SR is promising as the Auris does indeed have a styling approach clearly aimed at seducing the European buyer. Hints of Italian hatches abound and the blend of curves and angles works well. Superficially at least the Auris ingratiates itself. Things take a turn for the worse inside though with the familiar blend of dark plastics and materials. It is possible to form a list of cars Toyota benchmarked when developing the Auris by looking around the cabin, not least the layout of the dials, which imitates Honda's Civic.

Things work well enough and it is clear that time and effort has gone into improving the brand's image, but the overhaul only just raises the Auris to the level of average, such is the rate of change and progress in this sector.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

Toyota's common rail turbodiesel is a strong performer with, as the name suggests, almost 180bhp and a torque characteristic to match. This equals lusty performance on the road, though the engine prefers the lower echelons of its rev range as opposed to the upper reaches, where it becomes slightly breathless and uncouth. The six-speed 'box's ratios are well spaced though and in-gear performance is the core strength of the package.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Don't be fooled by the suggestive overtones of the SR badge, as this is by no means a sporting chassis. It errs on the softer side of its remit resulting in plenty of body roll while cornering and rather more pitch and roll than one may expect in a car with sporting pretensions. As a result the ride quality represents a rosier picture, but the lack of outright damping and body control makes itself felt through a floaty ride quality and unwillingness to settle over undulations. It's an odd compromise that excels in neither ride nor handling.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

A generous equipment list is a given in a high-end Japanese hatch and the Auris is no exception. Electrics and gadgets abound but this generosity is reflected in a price tag to match. At around 18,000 in the UK the range topping Auris aligns with top end competition. However, looking at offerings of equivalent capability as a package - most notably Hyundai's i30 - one can't help but feel that you'd need to do some hard haggling at the Toyota dealer to feel like the Auris represents good value.

Overall: star star star star star

Toyota's traditional policy of playing it safe is unsurprisingly evident in the Auris. However, modern times are such that this reserved approach is no longer enough to guarantee large sales volumes. While the gap between the Auris and its customary rivals is at least as big as ever what will concern Toyota more is the emergence of Korean rivals in the shape of Hyundai's i30 and Kia's cee'd that have caught up and passed the Auris and both of which offer better value and more talent along with Toyota-matching quality, reliability and warranties.

Toyota needs to change its approach in this sector or risk being left languishing behind more progressive manufacturers. The Auris is too average to form a case in what is the most competitive segment in the marketplace.

Dave Jenkins - 30 May 2008



  www.toyota.co.uk    - Toyota road tests
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2008 Toyota Auris specifications: (SR180 five-door)
Price: 18,495 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 8.1 seconds
Top speed: 130mph
Combined economy: 45.6mpg
Emissions: 164g/km
Kerb weight: 1450kg

2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.

2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Toyota.2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Toyota.2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Toyota.2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Toyota.



2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2008 Toyota Auris SR180. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 






 

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