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First drive: Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.

First drive: Toyota Auris Touring Sports
Toyota expands the Auris range with an all-new Touring Sports estate.

 



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| First Drive | Mallorca, Spain | Toyota Auris Touring Sports |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

The Toyota Auris's first foray into the estate world looks to be a winner; it has good luggage capacity, comes well equipped for a sensible price and, like its hatchback sibling, it drives well too.

Key Facts

Model tested: Toyota Auris Touring Sports Excel
Pricing: £21,350 (Touring Sports range starts at £15,595)
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door estate
Rivals: Ford Focus Estate, Renault Mégane Sport Tourer, Kia cee'd Sportswagon
CO2 emissions: 139g/km
Combined economy: 45.6mpg
Top speed: 121mph
0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds
Power: 132hp at 6,400rpm
Torque: 160Nm at 4,400 rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

From the front the Auris Touring Sports (TS) looks identical to its hatchback sibling with Toyota's new design language used throughout and the narrow grille standing proud flanked, as it is, by headlights units featuring LED daytime running lamps. The further back you move however the more the car begins to change; yes both feature the same 2,600mm wheelbase, but the estate is 285mm longer than the hatchback with all of that space dedicated to load volume. It also features integrated aluminium roof rails, a tailgate mounted spoiler and a completely redesigned rear end that allows for a rear sill height drop of 100mm - perfect for loading heavier items.

Once inside the boot you have 530 litres of space to play around with including a large under-floor cubby. This space can easily be increased to (what Toyota calls) a class leading 1,658 litres with the 'Easy-Flat' system, which collapses the rear seats from within the boot itself. Capacity on the Hybrid model is identical to the conventionally powered cars due to the location of the battery beneath the rear seats.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

First to the name: despite being badged as a Touring Sports the Auris wagon is not sporty; it is a marketing move, as nobody likes to refer to estates as such anymore. Truthfully the TS should be called a Touring Refined as even when pushed it is eerily quiet. The car driven here is powered by a 1.6-litre VVT-i petrol engine that is delightfully smooth and refined, if a little short on oomph. Even when pushed its noise barely rises above a whisper and the only sounds finding their way into the cabin come from the door mirrors. Here is a Golf/Focus rival that is almost Lexus-esque in terms of refinement.

The TS also rides like more premium offerings. Admittedly the smooth Mallorca tarmac of our test route did not provide ample opportunity to test the ride but on the rare occasions we could find some imperfections (speed bumps and joins in the road) the suspension soaked them up with aplomb. Both the 1.6 petrol and the 1.8 Hybrid models feature double wishbone rear suspension with the lesser models having to make do with a torsion beam set up, so it will be interesting to see how the D-4D fares on UK roads.

The electric power steering has been tuned for better feel and driving precision according to Toyota and at lower speeds this shows, though it is still not the most feelsome tiller we have handled in this class, but for an electric unit it works well enough. On some of the higher speed sections of the route the compliant suspension began to give a little resulting in a degree of body roll, but nothing untoward.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

The Auris Touring Sport mirrors the new Auris grade structure in the UK, rising from an entry-level Active trim, through Icon and Sport to the top-of-the range Excel. The 1.33 Dual VVT-i engine is available in Active and Icon grades; the 1.6 Valvematic in Icon, Sport and Excel; and the 1.4 D-4D in all trims. The Auris Hybrid Touring Sports is offered in higher Icon and Excel versions only.

All trim levels are equipped with seven airbags, automatic air conditioning, roof rails and a follow-me-home lighting system as standard, along with Hill-start Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Control and LED daytime running lights, while the expected best-seller - the Icon - features alloy wheels, Bluetooth, a rear parking camera and DAB - items not all of its chief rivals can match.

Worth Noting

The Auris Touring Sports has been designed for Europe and is built exclusively at the Toyota plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire alongside the Auris hatchback and Avensis models. Order books will open on July 1 and Toyota GB expects to sell in excess of 1,700 cars by year end.

Summary

Sales of estates may be taking a battering from crossover models but there is still demand for the humble wagon and still money to be made. While the looks will not to be everybody taste there is little doubt that, considering what you get for your money, the new Toyota Auris Touring Sports is up there with the best in its class.


Paul Healy - 27 Jun 2013









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2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.

2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.



2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.
 

2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.
 

2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.
 

2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.
 

2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.
 

2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Image by Toyota.
 






 

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