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By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist

This a solid little Japanese car that drives better than it looks.

It may have had a face-lift, but it’s still deadly dull and you won’t be dancing with pride to see it parked on your drive.

But if you’re in the market for an Auris, the last thing you will care about is how sexy its lines are. You will buy it because you know Toyota makes ultra-reliable cars with near bullet-proof engines. In other words, you value peace-of-mind over anything else when it comes to motoring.

The Auris’ running costs are very good, too, and, for its size, there is decent space for two adults in the back or for three kids on booster seats. And, at 360 litres, the boot is perfect for a buggy and some shopping bags.

But let’s get back to the way it drives. In the new 1.2-litre petrol turbo, getting up to speed takes very little effort. The car’s top lick of 124mph is not relevant in the UK – but its decent 0-62mph sprint time of 10.1secs is. Granted; it’s not rocket-ship acceleration, but it truly does feel nippy – far more so than the figures on paper suggest.

Handling-wise, the hatchback darts around town in a smooth, easy-steering and agile way, while the afore-mentioned rapidity makes 70mph motorway driving a breeze. Indeed, on a 100mile journey from the Midlands to Farnborough in Hampshire, I felt confident and relaxed as the Auris hoovered up the miles – and any scarred road-surfaces – without a hiccup.

The car comes kitted out with lots of toys to keep you happy and informed, too. In Auris Design guise, you get a USB port, air conditioning, electric windows, and even a sat-nav and a DAB digital radio.

Finally, should the worst happen and you have a collision, you are in safe hands. The Auris has the top five-star badge of honour from Euro NCAP, with a 92 per cent adult occupancy rating and an 84 per cent child occupancy score – both of which are outstanding results for Toyota.

Fast facts

Max speed: 124 mph
0-62 mph: 10.1 secs
Combined mpg: 52.3
Engine layout: 1598cc 4-cylinder 16v turbo diesel 
Max. power (bhp): 114
CO2: 125 g/km
Price: £19,945

Pros and cons






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