Toyota Auris Review logo

Toyota Auris Review

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1/10

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2013
      Body type
      Family hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Reliable, worthy, hybrid-centric hatchback”

Best bits

  • Ultra-reliable
  • Hybrid version is affordable and economical
  • Effortless to drive

Not so great

  • Not very exciting
  • Early engines are disappointing
  • Hybrid prices carry a premium over regular models

Read by

Toyota Auris Front Side View

Overall verdict

Toyota Auris Driver's Seat

On the inside

Toyota Auris Rear Side View

Driving

Toyota Auris Right Side View

How much does it cost to run

Toyota Auris Rear Side View

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"It’s not the most exciting family hatchback, which did limit its appeal to some. But on the second-hand market, reliability, value for money and fuel economy matter more, which is why the Auris enjoys renewed interest among used car buyers."

Toyota Auris Front Side View

The second-generation Toyota Auris is a much more imposing vehicle than its blobby-looking predecessor. Stung by criticism that the first version was merely a rounded-off facsimile of the older Corolla, Toyota took a few brave pills with this one and made it more edgy and bold. There were still hangovers – the flat sides, for example – but it looked less generic than a Toyota family hatchback had done for years.


It’s not for how it looks that most people buy an Auris, though. It could look like anything and its committed fans would still sign on the dotted line. Why? Two reasons: one, reliability, which Toyota has mastered like few other companies. And two: hybrid tech, as Toyota was a hybrid pioneer that has fully capitalised on its early mover status.


You can buy non-hybrid Auris. You can even buy diesel models, if you’re keen to make Toyota bosses shuffle uncomfortably at the thought they actually once sold such a thing. But you’re far better off buying an Auris Hybrid. You’ll experience everything that makes the famous Toyota Prius such a landmark car, but in a more conventional and family-friendly package.  


The Auris is a perfectly competent car to drive, as you’d expect. Handling is effortless and the ride isn’t bad. The car doesn’t set any new standards or feel particularly thrilling or luxurious, but it does exactly what you’d expect of it, without too much fuss or drama.


Inside, it’s a bit plain-looking, with a tall and cliff-like dashboard. It’s very solidly built, though, and feels like it will last a long time. The layout is comfortable, with a good driving position and plenty of space for those in the rear. Even the hybrid model has a decent-sized boot.


Toyota revised the Auris in 2015 with new, downsized petrol engines and an improved hybrid. The diesel engine was also new, sourced from BMW instead of being a Toyota design. Inside, the dashboard was refreshed with new colours and the infotainment system was updated.


By the end of the 2013-generation car’s life, most models sold were hybrids. Buyers were  responding to the excellence of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which actually led to the firm rejecting diesel entirely.


Later Auris models were also notably well equipped – the firm even ditched the base-level Active grade and bolstered the amount of standard kit on other models within the range. The Auris was moving upmarket and this helped set the template for the car’s even bolder-looking 2019 successor, which was renamed Toyota Corolla after two generations of Auris.

Is the Toyota Auris right for you?

Every Toyota delivers an assurance of near-total reliability, and the British-built Auris is no different. If you’re shopping in the family hatchback sector and want a car you can simply forget about, safe in the knowledge you won’t have to worry about problems or breakdowns, it’s a very sound choice indeed.


The fact it also comes with a petrol-electric hybrid option is a really good reason to choose one. This makes the Auris almost unique, with Toyota well ahead of the curve in making this fuel-saving tech mainstream. By the end of the car’s life, more than three in four sold were hybrids, meaning there’s plentiful choice on the second-hand market. It’s a great-value way into your first electrified vehicle.


It doesn’t even look as dull as some older Toyotas. It may hardly get your pulse racing, but at least it’s a little more distinctive than its forgettable predecessor. You’ll certainly consider it a genuine alternative to better-known rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.

What’s the best Toyota Auris model/engine to choose?

Naturally, we think the 1.8-litre Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive version is the best one overall. All the expertise that went into the Prius successfully transfers across to the Auris, simply in a more practical and conventional package.


Drivers will be surprised at the low-speed electric-only running, and pleased by the fuel economy it’s able to deliver, particularly in urban driving. The whining engine note when you drive it quickly is a less pleasing surprise, but it only roars when you’re really motoring, and the everyday extra refinement (and ease of use) should offset that.


Diesel Auris models are disappointing. You sense Toyota’s heart simply wasn’t in it. We do, however, like the later 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine, which is a cheaper and more conventional alternative to the hybrid that still serves up decent economy.

What other cars are similar to the Toyota Auris?

There’s no end of choice in the family hatchback sector. Best-sellers include the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra – none of which offers a hybrid option. The Honda Civic and Mazda 3 are reliable Japanese alternatives, and Nissan offered the Nissan Pulsar until a lack of market interest forced its retirement.


Value alternatives include the SEAT Leon, Skoda Octavia, Kia Ceed and Hyundai i30, while it would be remiss of us not to also mention the Toyota Prius as an even more eco-focused (also five-door) alternative to the Auris.

Learn more

Toyota Auris Driver's Seat

On the inside

Toyota Auris Rear Side View

Driving

Toyota Auris Right Side View

How much does it cost to run

Toyota Auris Rear Side View

Prices, versions and specification