Toyota Auris offers loads more appeal with new estate
- Credit: Toyota
Toyota's new Auris Touring Sports is a smart mover and a very capable cargo carrier, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
A friend's parents have a new Toyota Auris and really like it – it gets them from A to B fuss-free, is economical and, being a Toyota, should prove ultra reliable, backed up by a five-year warranty.
It highlights why so many people buy a Toyota and stick with the brand because the models do everything they want without hassle.
Now the second-generation Auris range can do even more with the launch of the Touring Sports – the first ever estate in the Auris range.
If you are one of those people who thinks, for all its qualities, Toyota's image is a little bland then the Auris Touring Sports should come as a pleasant surprise for, as load-luggers go, it's a smart mover with strong, sharp styling.
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But it is the practicality of this new estate version that will really make you sit up and take notice.
It shares the same wheelbase and front-end styling as the hatchback but is 285mm longer so that's all extra loadspace
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With the seats in place it has a whopping 530-litre load bay, putting it up there with the best in class, which expands to a maximum 1,658 litres with the 60/40 split-folding rear seat backs laying totally flat – a simple one-handed operation.
But it's not just about the vast space you can see because there's also a useful underfloor storage compartment and lidded compartments behind the wheelarches – ideal for tucking away odds and ends that would otherwise clutter the boot.
The new bumper and tailgate design mean the sill is 100mm lower than the hatchback which makes loading heavy, bulky items easier while the clever two-way tonneau cover extends back and forth to conceal boot contents or can be raised with the tailgate up slots in the rear pillars – it takes a little getting used to but makes accessing small items in the boot easier. Add to that a load restraining net which clips into slots at roof level – behind both back and front seats – to stop loose items slamming into passengers under heavy braking and it's clear Toyota has put a lot of thought and effort into making the Auris Touring Sports immensely capable of carrying cargo.
It will also carry five adults with adequate legroom in the back as long as those up front aren't greedy.
Like the hatchback the estate gets 98bhp 1.33 and 130bhp 1.6-litre petrol and 89bhp 1.4-litre turbo diesel engines and 134bhp hybrid – a 1.8-litre petrol unit and an electric motor – capable of being driven short distances on battery alone.
The hybrid is increasingly popular but if you don't do the miles or need the tax breaks, the 1.6-litre petrol unit makes decent progress and even with the optional automatic continously-variable transmission, returned 43mpg overall and nudged 50mpg on a run. As with CVTs the engine gets vocal when kicked down but you can use shift paddles on the steering wheel or the lever to access seven manual gear ratios.
Easy to drive in heavy traffic or on the open road, the Auris rides comfortably and quietly while the handling is surefooted and stable rather than sporty as the estate's name suggests.
The cabin and upright fascia are functional rather than fancy with clear instruments, user-friendly controls and a large central touchscreen display.
Offered in Active, Icon, Sport and Excel trims, Icon is attactively equipped. On top of the entry model's seven airbags, stability and traction control, trip computer, automatic air-conditioning, roof rails and electric mirrors and front windows it includes alloy wheels, DAB tuner, touchscreen multimedia, Bluetooth, rear-view camera, electric rear windows, front fog lamps and dual-level loadspace floor.
As mid-size family estate cars go, the new Toyota Auris Touring Sports is hugely appealing and practical and when it comes to load-lugging and driving is easy to live with – and most drivers will not ask for anything more.