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Toyota Auris Hybrid: final report
On fleet since: November 2010
Total mileage: 9,122
Official combined mpg/CO2: 70.6mpg - 93 g/km
Actual mpg: 43mpg
Engine: 1.8 DOHC VVT-i (98hp) / electric motor (80hp)
Trim: T Spirit
Performance: 0-62 in 11.4 seconds/112mph top speed
Insurance group: 13E
List price: £20,882
Options fitted: Pearlescent paint (£610), Navigation Pack (£1,200).
Price as tested: £22,691
Pros: Easy to drive and operate, build quality, low-speed refinement
Cons: Dull to drive, small boot, refinement at high revs.
Gallery: Toyota Auris Hybrid
There's a big Auris Hybrid-shaped hole in my life and the company car park. Six months are up and the trusty Toyota has gone to meet its maker. It's time to look back over our long-term test, consider its highs and lows then, hopefully, arrive at some solid conclusions.
What was great about it?
I'll admit that prior to our Hybrid's arrival, I wasn't a great fan of the Toyota Auris generally. The car was launched in 2007, finally bringing the curtain down on the Corolla dynasty. The Corolla had been a huge seller for Toyota over many years but the cars were ferociously boring and the hope was that the Auris would inject some life into proceedings.
It did, but not a lot. The Auris turned out to be basically another Toyota family hatchback in the Corolla mould - well-built, reliable and a potent cure for insomnia. It just didn't have much spark.
My views on the Auris haven't changed a whole lot but running an Auris Hybrid for six months has altered my perspective.
On a road test taking a week and a few hundred miles an exciting car tends to shine. The thrill of a powerful engine, a balanced chassis and a beautifully sculpted body doesn't have time to become dulled by familiarity. On a long-term test, you get a much better feel for the everyday stuff and that's the area where the Auris and particularly the Auris Hybrid excels.
Its cabin is roomy and well laid-out, the controls are light and predictable, the looks are pleasant enough and everything's very well screwed together. The Auris Hybrid is about as likely to upset anyone as it is to set their heart racing and the value of that middle-of-the-road competence is not to be underestimated.
Hybrid cars are still strange and new to the majority of motorists but Toyota's technology really does work seamlessly in the Auris. It's got a good amount of poke off the line and you'd hardly know the automatic gearbox was there so smooth are its shifts. It's brilliantly quiet too, as long as you don't try and drive it too quickly.
What wasn't so great?
Keen drivers won't really get on with the Auris. There's minimal feedback from the steering and the engine sounds very harsh if you let the rev counter needle sneek up on the red line. It's better to take things easy and let Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system get on with the serious business of saving fuel.
At the opposite end to the engine is another issue, the boot. It's a good deal smaller than you'll find in other family hatchbacks, primarily because the Auris Hybrid's batteries are positioned beneath it. You get a total of 233 litres and there's a small second compartment under a boot floor cover which can house extra items. Only you'll need to be careful with this cover as it's quite flimsy.
Was it expensive to run?
It proved anything but expensive to run even if replicating the official 70mpg combined fuel economy figure was a pipe dream. I saw an average of around 43mpg but it would have been perfectly possible to get a little better than that with a more disciplined right boot.
By dipping under the 100g/km barrier for CO2 emissions, the Auris Hybrid could also drive into London's congestion charge zone for free and comes with a host of further tax advantages for company car users.
There were no mechanical issues with the car throughout its six-month test and new Auris models have a five-year 100,000-mile warranty for extra piece of mind. Service intervals are set at 10,000 miles.
Would I recommend it to you?
In the final reckoning, the Auris Hybrid will be perfectly suited to some and singularly unappealing to others. If you want a fast and engaging driver's car, don't bother. If, however, you live and do most of your driving in town and want a dependable car to get you cheaply and easily from A to B, this Toyota is a great choice.
What am I driving next?
After six sedate and relaxing months with the Auris we felt it was time to up the pace a bit and there's a long term test of a Volkswagen Polo GTI on the horizon. It's a very different proposition to the dearly departed Toyota but the two are surprisingly close on price. It should be fun.
Gallery: Toyota Auris Hybrid
Long-term test: Toyota Auris Hybrid - month 5
Long-term test: Toyota Auris Hybrid - month 4
Long-term test: Toyota Auris Hybrid - month 3
Long-term test: Toyota Auris Hybrid - month 2
Long-term test: Toyota Auris Hybrid - arrival
First drive review: Toyota Auris Hybrid
First drive gallery: Toyota Auris Hybrid
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