Toyota Auris Touring

| November 18, 2013 | 0 Comments

AurisSportsTourer

 Toyota Auris Touring Sports Excel Hybrid 1.8 CVT.

Step by Step.

Do you become a grumpy old bugger in your late 40’s or were you always one & didn’t know it ? Whilst in my local gym,  I happened to catch GMTV the other morning & was depressed to see yet another ‘Boy Band’ reunion. New Kids on the Block, except that the kids in question are now in their 40’s & one or two of them look like they spent most of the past 20 years partying. Please please I thought, I know you may be skint but why do you have to reform & sing the same old songs, to make some money, why not write something different, something new, see what else you’re good at ?

One car manufacturer who have tried to do something new for a number of year is Toyota. Despite the prevalence of diesels in the European car market, Toyota have stuck steadfastly to their petrol Hybrid technology & the latest example of this is the Auris Touring Sports, which is the carmaker’s take on an estate version of its family hatch. Pitched against the likes of the Golf & Focus Estates as well as the Megane Sprts Tourer, Kia Cee’d Sportwagon & the soon to be launched Skoda Rapid Sportback, the Auris is designed to offer more space than the Auris hatchback plus the same hybrid powertrain that’s fitted to both the Prius and Lexus CT 200h. Toyota is hoping to sell around 4,000 estates per year in the UK, with 70 per cent of these going to fleet customers. And, unsurprisingly, 45 per cent of total sales being the hybrid.

 

The Auris Touring Sports features Toyota’s ‘Keen look’ design theme. The front and side of the Tourer look good  but the rear doesn’t work as well, with a dated feel to the lights & a sticky-out bumper. My test car was a bright blue & I happened to park next to an identical model at the Supermarket but in silver & in that colour it was more attractive than in the blue. There’s good space inside the cabin which was further enhanced by a large glass sunroof. The extra foot space created by the Auruis designers for the rear middle seat passenger is a real winner. With the estate being 285 mm longer than the Hatch, the estate’s boot offers a useful 530 litres of space which increases to 1,658 litres with the simple to lower rear seats folded down. The entry load lip is 100mm lower than on the hatchback, making it easier to put larger items in the boot. There’s also a couple of underfloor storage areas, plus a decent sized glovebox, a lifting centre armrest with useful storage & two drinks holders in the centre console. It also has three powerpoints, with one being in the boot.

 

I liked the Auris hatchback inside & the Tourer is identical if a little uninspiring,. With a tough looking mixture of black & gun metal grey plastics, the dashboard sweeps right across the car, the Toyota SatNav media system being handily located in the centre. Unlike some systems I’ve tried, it was easy to understand & to use, with the added bonus that my iPhone connected to it’s Bluetooth function quickly which allowed for easy storage of my phone contacts. My only grumble with the dashboard was trying to remember where the clock is located – on the left facing the passenger & the fact that the SatNav/media touchscreen could do with being curved a bit towards the driver which would make for easier reading. Being able to easily switch functions from the steering wheel is a priority for me & all of the steering wheel controls made sense & my motorway favourite cruise control was also simple to work. The Excel was well kitted out & include park assist, rain sensing wipers, heated front seats, front & rear parking sensors,a rear view camera, LED daytime running lights& a rear spoiler.

 

You start the engine with a push button to the right of the steering wheel which partially obscures it. The steering is light but as I found out on wet leaves, lacks feel, you really do need to point it where you want to go. The 1.6-litre engine feels smooth but it lacks torque. Put your foot down & the there is an audible groan as the CVT gearbox gets you to the gear you want. Top speed is 109 mph & it hits 62 mph from a standing start in 11.2 seconds. Having said that the the hybrid offers excellent refinement around town & because it’s effectively an ‘auto’ this makes for really relaxing driving in traffic. On the motorway the engine performs quite well & with cruise control set it’s an enjoyable  & quiet car to drive over a long distance.

 

As previously stated, Toyota hopes to attract the SME fleet customer to the Auris & in order to do this the range has to tick the BIK boxes. This is where the Auris does well, with CO2 emissions of 85g/km on Icon-spec cars with 15-inch alloys, and 92g/km for my top-spec Excel models on 17 inch alloys. The claimed combined is staggering 70.6 mpg, with Mr heavy footed averaging just about 50 mpg. This means that if you lease an Auris, your company car tax bill and fuel costs will benefit, while Toyota claims that the hybrid system’s fewer moving parts mean cheaper maintenance as well. Toyotas reliability may have been dented in recent years with a succession of recalls, but I firmly believe that Toyotas fast response to such set backs has probably done them more good than harm & the UK Toyota dealer network is one of the best when it comes to customer satisfaction.

 

At £23,245 the Auris Sports Tourer is competitively priced & sits in a sector where the competition is very similarly priced as well as being similarly specced & practical. What the Toyota offers though is something the others have not got, which is Hybrid technology. If you can live with the CVT gearbox, you’ll discover a car that’s easy to drive, easy on your pocket & easy to appreciate. Please tell Donnie Wahlberg & Co that Take That have at least moved on & under the guidance of their chief designer Gary Barlow, are showing all the other ex boy bands where to go.

 

 

A Hangin’ Tough 3.5/5.

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Category: Toyota

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