The Toyota Auris – it’s a family hatchback fighting in a crowded marketplace. With stiff competition from established rivals including the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, it might not be obvious why you’d choose this Derby-born challenger.
Inside, there’s a decent amount of space for passengers and their luggage – although a Honda Civic will still be more useful in day-to-day ownership. Everything feels robust and the layout is fairly straightforward but, like the outside, there’s little to excite anyone.
Its lack of excitement isn’t a problem on the road where light controls make driving the Auris easy. Budding touring car racers need not apply – although, they’re probably not reading this review in the first place. The Auris claws back some kudos under the bonnet where its optional hybrid powertrain gives it a modest electric range that’s great for city driving.
What will sell the Auris to potential buyers is its reputation for reliability. Yes – almost all modern cars are immeasurably more reliable than those of just a few years ago but, for some, the reassurance they’re buying this sturdy Toyota is the ultimate peace of mind. This performance is backed up by its category win in the 2016 JD Power reliability survey.
Equipment is fairly generous across the range provided you avoid the sparse entry-level Access model. All mid-range trims are well-equipped and can be fitted with sat-nav for an additional £750 and leather for a further £950. Prices for trim levels and options are generally competitive with the rivalling Ford Focus.
The Auris won't excite but has plenty of family car credentials that compensate
In the face of stiff competition, the Auris isn’t quite up to the challenge of its best rivals. The Volkswagen Golf is a more convincing all-rounder – especially if you’re after a model with an automatic gearbox – and the Honda Civic is a more sensible, spacious family car. Equally, with a driving experience that’s neither the most comfortable nor the most exciting, its identity feels a little unsure.
It becomes much clearer when you look at the hybrid model, however. While that model still suffers the same drawbacks as the conventional version, its electric range means it works especially well in stop/start traffic. As a result, drivers in the city could potentially complete their commute using barely any fuel at all.
For more in-depth analysis of the Toyota Auris, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, to see what sort of offers are available on the Auris, visit our deals page.