Auris is a reliable family car

Thursday March 11 2021
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By Mustafa Ziraba

The local enthusiasm for light, small cars exploded a few years ago. A market segment that had previously attracted little interest was suddenly where big business was being done. In almost every manufacturer’s range, there tends to be a model for the basic purpose of moving you from point A to point B cheaply and efficiently.

Toyota has a number of cars that fit the bill but the Auris is different because of its specific Corolla bloodlines. The first-generation Toyota Auris was introduced at the 2006 Paris Motor Show as a compact hatchback that shared the same platform with the popular Toyota Corolla and replaced its hatchback version. The first generation Auris was sold between 2007 and 2012 and is currently in its third generation, starting 2018 to date.

Exterior

To be honest, while many shall confuse it with the Vitz, RunX and Allex, all cars from Toyota’s stable, in designing the car, Toyota wanted to create a family hatchback with the enduring qualities of the Corolla and a touch more attitude. What they came up with was basically an eleventh generation Corolla or just another hatchback.

Yes, the Auris tries to inject some design flair and style but it never really succeeds. That said, it was a solid replacement of the corolla hatchback and was designed to boldly go up against some of the front runners including the Golf, and Ford Focus. The front shall have many misidentify it as one of the other hatchbacks from Toyota but the rear is a bit special with the distinctive rear lights. The newer models are even more flamboyant.

Interior

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In creating the Auris, Toyota’s engineers started with the passengers and then worked outwards, maximising occupant space with elements such as a flat passenger floor and high window surfaces. Everything is robust, exactly what you would expect from Toyota. Button design and placement is similar to cars from the same era.

This car seats four in surprising comfort. Comfort in the back is impressive too, given the Auris’ tiny exterior dimensions. The continuous centre dash with the gated gear shifter is well designed and adds a bit of poise to the interior.

Engine

The first generation Auris from Japan shall most likely have the popular 1.5L 1NZ-FE petrol engine found in almost all Toyota cars in its class from that era including but not limited to the Raum, Porte, Platz, RunX, Allex and it is capable of producing 109 horsepower.

This engine offers an excellent compromise between power and efficiency. Because these are small engine cars, they ordinarily get put under strain and unanticipated abuse that they are not designed for. Therefore, it is important that they are regularly maintained to prolong their life.

Driving dynamics

It would be hard to come up with better urban transportation than the Toyota Auris, price considered or not. It feels and performs much better than its price would suggest. The economical 1.5-litre engine has more than enough power to keep up with the pack, the supple ride smoothens out most bumps and dips, the handling is almost sporty when the road opens up, the steering feels classes above entry level, and the brakes bring the car to a halt with confidence.

However, the engine is loud and there is some road noise. These are constant reminders of the car’s small size and light weight, but there is little else about its road manners to complain about.

The four-speed automatic transmission works well, too. Some acceleration power is compromised, but the smooth upshifts and crisp downshifts make it a commuter’s best friend. The automatic features a gated shifter, and the shift lever is well placed and a breeze to operate.

Value

The Auris perform its functions reliably and without fuss, stress or expense. It is also as simple to operate. It even scores heavier on account of its fuel sipping skills. It is easy to drive, simple to park and economical to run. This car also maintains its resale value quite well.


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