Most potential buyers will care only that their car is comfortable and easy to drive and, in this respect, the Auris delivers the goods.
A handful of engines are offered in the Auris but it’s the Hybrid model that will probably be of most interest to potential owners. Check out our comparison of petrol, diesel and hybrid Auris models. We look at the relative costs of each and work out whether the more efficient, costlier models or the cheaper, less efficient models represent better value for money overall.
There are two petrol Auris options. The first is the oddly specific 1.33-litre four-cylinder non-turbo unit fitted exclusively to entry-level Active models. It has a reasonable 99hp but, as a result of the non-turbo setup, it feels very sluggish on the road. We’d also advise you avoid entry-level Active trim altogether so, unless you’re really swayed by the low purchase price, there’s no reason to recommend this engine.
The smaller 1.2-litre four-cylinder actually makes more power and much more torque thanks to its turbocharger. While its 116hp might not sound much better than the 1.33-litre unit’s, the significant increase in torque is what you’ll feel everyday. It might be a £3,000 jump over the less powerful petrol but, considering that model comes in mid-range Icon trim, it represents much better value for money.
If you’re a very high mileage driver or plan to tow things, the Auris’ diesel engines might be a better choice. The smaller 1.4-litre unit is only offered in company-car friendly Business Edition but, with 90hp and a generous slug of torque, it’s just about powerful enough for day-to-day driving. It averages 81mpg helping keep fuel costs nice and low.
The more powerful 1.6-litre diesel is actually offered across more trim levels than the 1.4 so can be had for a little less money if you go for an Icon model. This version can musters a merely decent 66mpg but, thanks to its greater 112hp output, will be much easier to live with day-to-day. This model is £1,200 more expensive than the 1.2-litre petrol, however, and isn’t much more efficient so only the highest of mileage drivers will see any financial benefit in choosing the diesel.
No question the Auris is a boring car to drive, but that'll suit some people
This version is what most Auris buyers will be interested in and, provided their needs suit the kind of driving the hybrid is optimised for, it works pretty well. Unlike rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf GTE and Audi A3 e-tron, the Auris Hybrid is a conventional hybrid in the sense its batteries are only charged by the engine or when braking – you can’t plug it into a wallbox in your garage to top up the batteries for your next journey. While this means its electric range is down on those rivals, its purchase price is also lower.
Like almost all hybrids, it does its best work in the stop/start traffic of most city centres where conventional engines are traditionally quite inefficient. Here, the electric motor can move the car at low speeds without ever using the conventional engine. The usual problems with hybrids present themselves here, too – limited electric range and, due to the CVT automatic gearbox, excessive engine noise under hard acceleration and sluggish performance above town speeds. Nevertheless, if you spend most of your time in the city centre, this might be the best choice.
The steering is light and moderately accurate with only the slightest sense of vagueness when held straight – this means it’s easy around town but long motorway jaunts can see you making constant small corrections that can become tiring.
While steering the Auris is nothing special, the gearshift on manual models is pleasingly direct with each gear slotting into place faithfully with no sense of notchiness or springiness. This is contrasted by the CVT automatic gearbox that only suits the most relaxed of driving styles – ask anything more of it and it responds with a huge racket from under the bonnet but no real acceleration to speak of. It’s a necessary evil should you opt for the Hybrid model.
On road manners are agreeable, although a Peugeot 308 does a better job of being comfortable while a Volkswagen Golf is even easier to drive. Rough roads send some vibrations into the cabin but big bumps are dispatched with ease so, on the whole, comfort is relatively good. Refinement is strong provided you go for a manual model – the aforementioned CVT automatic is very noisy in anything other than gentle driving.