First drive Toyota Auris Touring Sports

13 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи First drive Toyota Auris Touring Sports отключены
TOYOTA Auris Touring Sports Hybrid


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First drive: Toyota Auris Touring Sports

• Estate version of Auris hatchback

• Offers one of the largest load areas in its class

• Hybrid provides low, 85-92g/km CO2 emissions

Four-wheel drives, cross-overs and people carriers have chipped away at the demand for small family estate cars over the years, but there are still plenty of buyers who appreciate their straightforward practicality and convenience. Which is why Ford, Vauxhall, VW, Peugeot and many other marques provide estate versions of the Focus. Astra. Golf and 308. and why Toyota is offering wagon variation on its British-built Auris hatchback for the first time. Not that its makers label it so basically, this Auris a Touring Sports rather than a simple estate.

Vauxhall plays as similar name game with the Astra, but estates are what these cars are, their rear ends reconfigured to carry furniture, photocopiers, product samples and baggage.

TOYOTA Auris Touring Sports Hybrid

And to good effect in the Auris’s case, the 1638 litres of load space revealed when you fell the seats bettered only by the Skoda Octavia. The Toyota’s seats are easy to drop and fold completely flat, and there’s no loss of luggage space should your order the hybrid version, whose battery pack lives under the rear seat. Underfloor storage, a parcel shelf that flips upwards for access and cubbies in the walls of the boot all add to the Auris’s usefulness. It’s most unusual feature, however, is the hybrid drivetrain that makes it unique in this category of estate, the 1.8-litre petrol supplemented by an electric motor whose energy is provided by a battery charged when you decelerate and brake.

It’s a combination that enables the Sports Touring to achieve an impressive 76.3 combined (70.6mpg with bigger 17in wheels) and CO2 emissions of just 85g/km (92g/km with the bigger wheels) although we know from our experience of Prius that though potentially impressive, it’s real world economy will fall some distance short of 70mpg.

Like the Prius, the Auris’s petrol engine makes itself heard when you’re accelerating, the car’s transmission prompting the engine to work quite hard and at continuous revs to produce a sound that’s quite intrusive and not especially pleasant. That sound will turn more prominent when you load the car up, the engine working more strenuously to compensate. And it’s for this reason that the hybrid Sports Tourer is not the best version.

The 1.6-litre petrol is quieter, and although its long-legged, economy-biased gearbox blunts its performance somewhat, this is a noticeably calmer engine to drive behind. There’s also a 1.3-litre petrol that’s likely to struggle at times, and a 1.4-litre diesel which has the most pulling power in the range and for most, will make the best choice for this estate.

As you’d expect, the cockpit of the Sports Tourer is identical to the Auris hatchback’s the strangely dated, fussy and cliff-like dashboard decidedly less appealing than the facia that you’ll find in a Golf, a Focus or a Kia. The Auris’s interior décor is a little dated too, although for the most part its controls are clear and easy to use. The optional satellite navigation can be fiddly, though.

The Toyota is easy to handle and corners tidily too, but the hybrid version feels slightly less confident through corners, its steering over-light and a little vague. However, it rides very well better than the Auris hatchback does.

So this is a car of mixed appeals. Tidily contemporary exterior styling, a sizeable load bay, good ride comfort and the promise of low running costs are among them, and it will likely prove very dependable too. But, none of its engines is particularly polished, the insistent blare of the hybrid makes it harder to recommend unless low emissions are your overriding priority, and if you want your estate to be an entertaining drive, you should look elsewhere. Some may find the blocky dashboard and a rather ordinary interior finish disappointing too, despite this car’s undoubted practicality.

The Auris Touring Sports worth a look, especially if space and value are important, but there are more polished estate cars than this.

By Richard Bremner

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