The Toyota Auris Hybrid

As the hybrid market continues its development Toyota, who started it all with its well regarded Prius, is bringing a new model to the market. The Auris takes advantage of previous efforts with the engineering infrastructure intact from the factory in Derbyshire which made the Prius such an outstanding success.

The Auris uses the same backbone as its predecessor, and that’s not the worst place to start. Good economy of 74 mpg is not to be taken lightly, and for the environment that means just 89g/km of carbon output.

The fuel economy achieved by the new model is no secret. Nickel hydride batteries give more power to the 1.8L engine meaning less reliance on fuel. Concealed under the rear seats they require no charging as the charging is activated whenever the car is driven. The car can be operated purely on battery power in emergencies; up to 1.2 miles of driving is achievable at less than 30 mph.

It’s apparent that the Auris is using highly developed technology which is a requirement in the modern age of balancing up value for money and products that care for the environment. For example, when extra power is required, the electrics help the engine, removing the need for using extra fuel; an easy feeling of quiet strength is the sense you get, rather than needless power.

Away from the technology, the Auris is a pleasure to drive. With the gears in D mode, the car takes care of everything and a bonus is the choice of B drive where power is delivered faster to the battery reducing brake wear and delivery fuel efficiency. Further choices involve power mode, which gives better acceleration for urgent situations, and an economy choice which saves fuel.

An indicator panel analyses the car’s running and displays information about fuel efficiency, battery levels and economy. One change is the Auris is that the boot size is reduced slightly to accommodate the batteries, but the rear seats do fold down to give some element of storage in some circumstances.

When you are driving the Auris, you have intimate control over a number of factors. These include electric windows, mirrors and climate control and a CD Radio suite, USB connection and leather steering wheel all come as part of the basic configuration.

For the best fuel economy, the T4 version is the best option at a cost of just under £20,000. The more powerful T-spirit dilutes the economy in the quest for more power, but that is a trade off best determined through customer choice.

The upper range T-spirit, while slightly pricier at £21,675 has a little more to offer buyers. Bluetooth mobile compatibility, sensor wipers, and non-key starting are just some of the standard equipment. Other features include leather seats and a rear-view monitor.Safety features comes as standard with all models and include a driver’s knee airbag and anti-skid control. For security conscious owners, a Thatcam Category One alarm and immobiliser comes pre-installed, which qualifies the car for insurance discounts.

With the new Auris, Toyota has covered the necessary design, safety and economy features, but hasn’t forgotten about making the car easy and pleasurable to drive. Minimal discomfort is felt from the occasional bump in the road which is an achievement considering the car is designed for inner city use as well as driving on the open road.Servicing costs are comparable to other similar cars on the market. Toyota claims that the complexity of the technology doesn’t increase servicing and the on-road costs are similar to that of the Yaris 1.0 Mini.