Auris Hybrid T4 5-door Hatchback
hybrids in the form of
the Toyota Prius, the Honda Insight
and Civic Saloon will be joined from
1 July by the new British-built Toyota
five-door hatchback Auris Hybrid...
THE AURIS HYBRID IS THE FIRST FULL HYBRID TO BE BUILT IN EUROPE and
it is built in Britain at Toyota Manufacturing's Burnaston plant in Derby
on the same production lines as the Auris five-door petrol and diesel models
and the Avensis saloons and Tourer estates.
And it's not just the body that's built in Britain the 1.8-litre VVT-i
petrol engine used for the Auris Hybrid is assembled at Toyota's engine plant
in North Wales along with their conventional 1.6/1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engines.
Toyota GB expects the UK market to buy around 8,000 Auris Hybrid cars in a full
year roughly the same number as the larger Prius Hybrid. Prices range
from £18,950 for the well equipped T4 model with 15-inch alloy wheels to £20,700
for the T Spirit version which has 17-inch alloys as standard plus other nice-to-have
items of equipment. Seventy per cent of UK customers are expected to go for
the T4 version but with the optional £250 extra-cost 17-inch wheels.
These bigger wheels not only look better by filling the wheelarches but they
sharpen up the handling of the vehicle; providing more front end grip, less
understeer and reduced bodyroll, all thanks to the low-rolling resistance tyres.
Whichever model is chosen, the tax savings will be considerable. With CO2 emissions
as low as 89g/km with the smaller wheels (and almost as low at 93g/km for the
larger ones) and with 74.3mpg in the combined cycle for the smaller wheels (70.6mpg
for the larger ones) both choices mean zero road tax. And for those living in,
commuting to and from or just visiting London, the Auris Hybrid is Congestion
As for running costs, the official combined cycle fuel economy is 74.3mpg (or
70.6mpg with the 17-inch wheels). Servicing costs are also lower; there are
less moving parts in the Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) petrol-electric-CVT transmission
powertrain: there is no conventional starter motor or alternator, the variable
valve timing petrol engine has a maintenance-free timing chain, there are no
drive belts, the electronically-controlled braking system reduces wear and the
high-pressure tyres wear significantly less and have better durability than
Furthermore, residual values are predicted to be highly competitive, as they
are with the Prius, and as for the daily operating costs of the new Auris Hybrid,
Toyota GB claim they will be the same as for their Yaris supermini range.
already know the
Toyota HSD hybrid
system works very well
because it has been
proven with the Prius.
Putting the same
system in a smaller,
family-sized hatchback is
a sensible move for
customers who want that
size of car...
The Auris Hybrid has a three-year/60,000-mile warranty for the whole car with
the hybrid system extended to five years/60,000 miles and the battery cover
extended to eight years/100,000 miles although it is actually expected to last
the life of the car. A good indicator for the Auris Hybrid's reliability is
that the similar Prius Hybrid has five times lower warranty costs than any other
Toyota model. All in all, the Auris Hybrid makes sense in almost all ways for
the cost-conscious, environmentally-aware UK customer.
It is essentially the same technology as the Prius: fuel-efficient, 1.8-litre
four-cylinder petrol engine with variable valve and injection timing with electric
motor, generator, electronic control unit and a battery mounted under the boot
floor and drive to the front wheels via a power splitter and a shift-by-wire
CVT auto transmission. In combination, the 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine and
the electric motor produce a maximum 134bhp, giving nought to 62mph acceleration
in 11.4 seconds and a top speed of 112mph.
When the driver switches to EV (Electric Vehicle) mode, the car can run emissions-free
on its electric power alone for up to 1.2 miles at speeds of up to 30mph, according
to the level of battery charge and driving conditions.
The electric motor is powered by the hybrid battery and works in tandem with
the petrol engine to boost acceleration during normal driving, but in EV mode
it alone powers the driven wheels a unique feature of Toyota's full hybrid
During deceleration and under braking, the electric motor works as a high-output
generator to effect regenerative braking. This recovers kinetic energy (that
would usually be lost as heat) as electrical energy for storage in the high-performance
Over the course of any journey, Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive operates in different
modes to maximise overall vehicle efficiency. When the car comes to rest, the
petrol engine stops automatically to conserve fuel. In low-efficiency conditions,
such as at start-up and low- to mid-range engine speeds, the vehicle automatically
runs in EV mode using just its electric motor and thereby eliminating CO2 and
NOx exhaust emissions.
normal driving conditions, the source and allocation of power is constantly
adjusted between the engine and electric motor to achieve the best performance
with maximum fuel efficiency.
level of battery power is constantly managed via an engine-driven generator,
which means there is no need for the battery to be recharged from an external
source. In addition to Auris Hybrid's NORMAL drive mode, the driver can select
three further 'on-demand' modes EV, ECO and POWER to increase
driving efficiency, fuel economy and performance.
the open road
I briefly saw 72mpg at
best and 51.6mpg
at worst for the mountain
route driving session...
From start-up and at speeds of less than 31 mph in NORMAL mode, Auris Hybrid
will automatically adopt EV mode to run on its electric motor alone depending
on the level of battery charge and the prevailing driving conditions. EV mode
can also be selected manually.
In ECO mode, throttle response to aggressive use of the accelerator pedal is
reduced and performance of the air conditioning system is optimised to support
fuel economy. The POWER mode modifies reaction to throttle inputs with a 25
per cent higher response to accelerator pedal application than in NORMAL mode,
so boosting power to improve acceleration.
We already know the Toyota HSD hybrid system works very well because it has
been proven with the Prius. Putting the same system in a smaller, family-sized
hatchback is a sensible move for customers who want that size of car.
In real-life driving in the mountainous roads in Spain and on the very congested
city roads in Barcelona, the Auris Hybrid worked well; in the slow moving traffic
driving into Barcelona the test car returned 60mpg and it maintained that figure
during our tour of the city using some engine and EV alone modes and without
any sympathetic use of the accelerator. On the open road I briefly saw 72mpg
at best and 51.6mpg at worst for the mountain route driving session.
The car is not perfect; it can be sluggish, with the CVT transmission seemingly
dulling acceleration on the open road; the smaller wheels allow too much understeer
with little front end cornering grip; and the high sidewall of the tyres promotes
bodyroll in corners. Specify the 17-inch wheels and the package is much better
in the handling department.
As regards specification, the T4 level is fine and has everything most people
want such as climate control air conditioning and front and rear electric windows
along with six-speaker audio with CD, radio and MP3 player, USB and Aux-in connection,
power-operated heated door mirrors, LED running lights, seven airbags including
driver's knee airbag, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC)
plus Hill-start Assist Control (HAC).
While it's not cheap to buy (quite close, in fact, to the price of the larger
Prius Hybrid), the only out-of-town driving thrill you'll get will be saving
money. However, you'll also benefit from tax-busting opportunities, lean-green-and-clean
motoring with more gains for commuting drivers and London residents. The Auris
Hybrid is also a family-friendly size with a good specification and overall
makes an interesting and valuable addition to our low-cost motoring options.
Toyota Auris Hybrid T4 Hatchback (with 17-inch wheels) | £19,200
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 11.4 seconds | Overall test MPG: 61.2mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 105lb ft | CO2 93g/km