This is the first car to benefit from Toyota's new ‘Keen Look’ styling, which also features on the new Verso and RAV4. On the Auris, it results in a narrow, sporty air intake at the front, sweeping back from the badge and merging into the headlamps. The LED daytime running lights are set low and wide to give road presence.
A sporty side profile emphasises its urgent attitude, while a third glazed panel behind the rear doors allows more light into the cabin. Overall, the new car is lower and 30mm longer than the previous model, enhancing the premium feel.
The lower nose and roofline cut the car's drag figure from 0.292 to 0.28, improving efficiency and emissions. Plus, the boot opening is wider than before for easier access to more space inside. The hybrid version's boot is just as spacious.
The Auris will feel more like your personal assistant than your car. Its new Simple Intelligent Park Assist system, standard on the Excel grade and an option on the Icon and Sport trim levels, senses when you're alongside a suitable parking space, invites you to stop, and then handles the tricky steering while you retain control of the throttle and brakes. It even takes account of parked cars or other objects on the other side of the road.
The DAB radio gives perfect reception and a wide choice of stations, and the satellite navigation and connectivity on the optional Touch & Go multimedia system make planning a journey simple. There's Bluetooth and USB connectivity for your phone or MP3 player, and Smart entry and Start means the key can stay in your bag – a boon when your hands are full.
Increased use of high-tensile steel has cut the car's weight by up to 40kg and increased body stiffness by 10 per cent – measures that improve handling and fuel efficiency, and still allow for a cabin with plenty of height. The same goes for the 55mm lower roofline, which drops the centre of gravity for improved handling and provides a lower, sportier driving position, plus better aerodynamic efficiency that further cuts fuel use and lowers emissions.
Toyota's engineers worked to feedback from European customers when designing and developing the Auris and this sporty focus is what you said you wanted. To be sure they'd got it right, early prototypes of the model were tested extensively in Europe so that the balance between smooth ride and sharp handling would be spot-on.
Smart all over
Skyview is an option on the Auris and is one of the longest panoramic sunroofs in the car's class. All that light illuminates a host of details that lift the cabin well above the ordinary. The materials, the blue-white illumination on the dashboard and even the typefaces have been re-thought to give a cool, calm consistency. The flashes of silver that surround the vents and other key details contrast with the soft finish of interior surfaces such as the instrument panel, while the steering wheel features premium baseball-stitched leather.
The cabin has 20mm more rear legroom, thanks to thinner, sculpted front seatbacks, without reducing seat comfort. Plus, Toyota's engineers researched the size and shape of the bags drivers are most likely to use and designed the new, bigger boot around them.
The Auris was the first car in its class to offer three driving options: petrol, diesel and Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive. The new car offers the same but now with the choice of two petrol engines, a diesel engine, and a full hybrid. The Auris Hybrid features revisions to the automatic transmission to give an even smoother engine response when accelerating.
The car's class-leading fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions are low enough to qualify for zero road tax and exemption from London's Congestion Charge, and the Auris is also a great proposition as a company car – particularly the Auris Hybrid. With combined figures of just 87g/km and 74.3mpg, the car is class-leading for fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, saving you money on fuel and car tax.
Find out more about the Toyota Auris at toyota.co.uk/auris