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Our Fleet Test Drive: Toyota Auris - 1st Report Update

Date: 15 May 2007   |   Author:

[1] Dash-mounted gear lever

Some of us like the interior on our long-term Toyota, some of us aren't quite so keen...

15 MAY 2007
Mileage 2788
Forecast CPM 25.1p
Actual CPM 28.5p
Some of us like the interior despite dissent over the quality of some materials, such as the gearlever on the centre console arching out of the dash leaves an extra recessed storage spot.
30 APRIL 2007
Mileage 2365
Forecast CPM 25.1p
Actual CPM 28.5p
There’s a few of the new hatch on the road, and the newness is eye-catching. But familiarity may dull that quite quickly, especially as the styling’s basically old Corolla meets new Yaris.
18 APRIL 2007
Mileage 2110
Forecast CPM 25.1p
Actual CPM 28.5p
Finally did a long run in the Auris, from London to Northampton then onto Sussex. Like everything about the car, it completed the task painlessly and without fuss or drama.

4 APRIL 2007
Mileage 1550
Forecast CPM 25.1p
Actual CPM 28.5p
Impressed with the amount of rear headroom. Rivals may look sportier, but at the expense of interior space. Plenty of space for taller types is what passengers appreciate.

Main Report

Some may be a little harsh to call the recently replaced Toyota Corolla dull-but-worthy, but that's basically what it was.

Attributes such as reliability and dependability are vital, but certainly aren't sexy, which is why the Corolla never really made a big impact on the business car scene.

LTT Toyota_Auris-07.gif

Toyota's hoping all that is about to change with the new Auris, which is why the Japanese brand has agreed to let one join our long-term test fleet at the same time as the car arrives in UK showrooms.

The company is hoping the Auris can build on the Corolla's unarguable virtues of sensibility and add a little design flair and driving excitement to propel its lower medium sector challenger up the charts towards its mainstream rivals.

We've picked the 1.6-litre petrol in T3 spec, which is one trim, and £1000, up from the entry-level car. It's worth the jump because the extra spec includes alloys instead of steel wheels, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, a front armrest, front foglights, heated mirrors and leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear lever. It would have been another £900 to go up again to the T Spirit trim, but we saved the money and went without the dual-zone climate control, cruise control, auto lights and wipers and keyless entry. We did, though, take the logical £500 jump from three-door to five for the extra practicality, but resisted any dabbling whatsoever into the options list, apart from the essential metallic paint, in this case the Eclipse black [1].

The Auris looks so much more credible than the Corolla. Its heritage is still obvious, but it's mixed with the more modern Yaris and although it won't stand out in the car park, no longer will it wilt into the background.

The first thing to impress everyone that's checked out the Auris is the interior. The sweeping handbrake with release button set on top for a quick-flick release with the thumb [2] may not be any more practical than a standard fitting, but it's a good example of Toyota trying to make the car more interesting than its predecessor. The floating dials in the instrument panel [3] are also a quality touch that impress more than the normal flat needles you'd normally find in a £14,000 hatchback.

So, it's off to a good start, but we'll see over the next six months what sort of substance is behind the Auris' increased style.



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