There was a time when drivers of lower medium cars had to upsize to Mondeo class vehicles if they wanted a bit of extra poke.

Not any more. The desire to keep a lid on initial outlay – and therefore BIK taxation – plus the need for extra speed has encouraged manufacturers to begin putting bigger engines in Focus-sized cars.

That’s just what Toyota has done by installing a 180PS 2.2-litre diesel engine in its Auris, and if the intention was to satisfy power-hungry drivers, they’ve succeeded because the Auris is quick, particularly around town. However, it’s let down by ride quality, which doesn’t compare favourably with the 1.6-litre petrol version, a car with a far smoother drive.

As for costs, the Auris comes in at 29.2ppm, meaning it’s beaten by the cheaper Seat Leon (28.1ppm) but compares well with the similarly priced Renault Megane (34ppm) and the pricier VW Golf GT (29.8ppm). But despite the Leon’s result, pick the Golf if you can afford it (it’s an extra £1k or so over the Auris) because of its greater desirability.

Verdict It’s swift but not worth £4500 more than the 1.6-litre petrol version we’re running as part of our-long term fleet