Of the four powertrains on offer in the Auris (two petrol, one diesel and one hybrid), only one offers a capacity more than 1.6-litres. Kicking off the range is Toyota’s well-rounded 1.33-litre petrol unit. It develops 100bhp and 97lb ft, so while it offers reasonable performance on the move, it can feel breathless and gruff when moving off. A leisurely 0-62mph time of 13.1secs and a top speed of 109mph means its one best suited to round-town duties.

The 1.6-litre valvematic petrol engine is far better suited to the open road, with 130bhp and torque peaking at 118lb ft at 4400rpm. The four-cylinder petrol unit boasts the features and specific output we’d normally expect of a Honda.

Richard Bremner Autocar

Richard Bremner

Senior contributing editor
The car never feels especially fast

However, mass has become a fierce enemy of the family hatch as it has grown into a genuine five-seater capable of meeting stringent crash regulations. The five-door Auris weighs upwards of 1380kg and this means it can only yield a power-to-weight ratio of 85bhp per tonne. Unsurprisingly, the car never feels especially fast, and those accustomed to being thwacked up the road by a fulsome turbodiesel motor will be shocked at the lack of that most welcome of on-road commodities, oomph. What will impress is the mechanical smoothness throughout the rev range.

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The outright figures are bang on the class average: 0-60mph is a 10sec affair and should space and legal conditions prove conducive, you might just see 121mph.

The hybrid version carries the same running gear as the Prius and Lexus CT200h. That means a 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle engine mated to an electric powertrain with a maximum combined output of 134bhp and 105 of torque. Don't expect huge performance 0-62mph takes 11.4secs and top speed is 112mph. The CVT gearbox means that acceleration results in a great deal of noise too. You'll need to drive extremely gently to achieve anywhere near the claimed fuel consumption figure too. Still, it's an interesting diversion for hybrid enthusiasts who don't want to wear their eco heart on their sleeves.

Toyota’s drive to make hybrid powertrains foremost in the public’s consciousness has led to a watered-down diesel lineup. The 2.0- and 2.2-litre D-4D diesels have been dropped, with only a 1.4-litre unit remaining. It has just enough power to pull the Auris along briskly enough to keep up with motorway traffic, and is torquey enough to be mildly entertaining on flowing roads. However, while it cruises quietly, it is a little coarse under acceleration. Headline figures are 0-62mph in 11.9secs and a top speed of 109mph.

The 1.4 and 1.6-litre engines are available with a choice of six-speed manual or MultiMode automated manual. The latter is no more than adequate in manual mode and downright slow to change in automatic mode. As such, it does nothing to enhance the driving experience.

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