Our Fleet Test Drive: Toyota Auris hybrid - Final Report
24 March 2011
Author: Tony Rock
When the Auris hybrid joined our fleet six months ago it looked at first glance just like the petrol or diesel versions, and not a special one-off green model.
That's because Toyota is targeting drivers wishing to minimise tax and fuel payments without being labelled an eco warrior - a tag owners of the Prius, for instance, with its more distinct styling, can be saddled with.
First impressions can be deceiving however, and once you get to know the car there are plenty of signs that give away its eco-friendly credentials, such as the Prius-like gear selector for the auto transmission , which speedily engages reverse, handy for swift three-point turns on busy London streets, where the car was mostly used.
There are also the dash instruments, meant to encourage efficient driving, such as the rev counter, split into three sections with 'CHG' and 'POWER' at either end, and the moving diagram of an engine, battery and wheel, which indicate with arrows how the car is being powered, and whether the battery is being recharged or not .
The boot, at 279 litres, is 75 litres smaller than the regular Auris, thanks to it housing the batteries, and while that was fine for everyday use, things became a bit tight when transporting a family of four plus associated extras, as I found out when my daughter's bike wouldn't fit in .
Those batteries, which according to Toyota enable the car to run on purely electric mode for 1.2 miles at up to 30mph, also support the 1.8-litre petrol engine, boosting acceleration when required. But despite that, some drivers complained the boost delivered wasn't enough when travelling uphill or overtaking on the motorway. This problem could be solved by temporarily activating the 'power' setting, one of the three modes the car can be driven in, the others being regular and 'eco', although the injection of 'go' isn't instantaneous. Economy overall, meanwhile, was 46.2mpg, with eco mode delivering several mpg more than the standard setting.
We wrote in our opening report that the hybrid Auris feels, as well as looks, like a proper lower medium car rather than anything out of the ordinary, and six months living with it confirms our initial thoughts, at least in the city where it's been a pleasure to use and where performance isn't a issue.
|Toyota Auris hybrid 1.8 T-spirit|
|Claimed combined |
|Our average |
|Model price range||£15,220-£21,325|
|CO2 (tax) ||93g/km (10%)|
|BIK 20/40% per month||£34/£69|
|Why we’re running it||Hybrid technology comes to |
the lower medium Auris.
Does it make sense?
|Positive||Hybrid system, |
|Negative||Eco driving dash aids|