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Toyota Auris Hybrid Review and Road Test (2011) Part 2

Fri, 18 Feb 2011

Toyota Auris Hybrid Review & Road test Part 2

No one buys a Toyota Auris and expects to go blatting round the back roads, eking every last drop of grip and handling out of the chassis. They buy it because it does everything without fuss, competently, quietly – and forever.

And if – as many believe – CO2 is the enemy of the planet, then all that sensibleness oozing from every pore of the Auris Hybrid will be wonderfully appealing, especially as there is very little compromise needed to accommodate all that Hybrid Green-ness.

In fact, apart from the price, about the only compromise is the boot, where it’s been necessary to steal a chunk of space to accommodate the batteries for the HSD gubbins.

For those coming to a hybrid with a CVT ‘box for the first time, there will be a few surprises in store. The first comes when you ‘start’ the Auris. It makes no noise (unless it’s extremely cold or you’ve inflicted a big load on the battery), it’s just ‘on’.

Move away – gently – and there’s still no noise, but you will probably lose the traffic light Grand Prix to the old dear on her Mobility scooter. No matter; you’re being green. But if you can stand not being too cautious you can mash your foot down and make brisker progress.

That’s when you’ll get your next surprise, with the rubber-band CVT ‘box (I know, it’s planetary gear, but that’s not very descriptive), as it lets the engine rev for all its worth before the speed manages to catch up to the noise.

Toyota tell us that the CVT ‘box is actually more economical than a manual, despite the mad revving from the engine if you try to make brisk progress. We can’t see it – it’s not logical – but they should know.

What you will find is that if you do drive very sensibly – and don’t mash your foot to the floor to make decent progress – the Auris Hybrid can be very economical.

We have to admit that we only averaged 48.5mpg when Toyota tell us we should average 70 mpg. But that’s not a huge surprise. Hybrids thrive in urban environments with lots of stop-start and small throttle inputs.

They don’t thrive on motorways and back roads and quick A roads. Which is a lot of our test routes. That said, the Auris may not be built for motorways or fast A roads, but it’s perfectly competent; quiet and composed, if not exactly dynamic.

The same applies on the B Roads. There’s nothing there to get your pulse racing, but there is a decent amount of grip and the handling is competent, if rather uninspiring.

But overall, the Toyota Auris Hybrid is very ‘Fit for Purpose’. It will appeal to Toyota’s often conservative buyers, with its understated everything. It will deliver all it promises if the inputs you make are cautious and moderate. It will take you where you’re going economically, quietly and reliably. Probably until all that’s left are Toyotas and cockroaches.

It’s not a car for a driver. But it is a grown-up hybrid. A hybrid for the real world and for real people. It’s a car for those who don’t want to evangelise their Green-ness.

The Auris is what a Hybrid should always have been – an option for those who want it. Not a lifestyle statement.

Full Toyota Auris Hybrid  specification, data and price


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By Cars UK