TOYOTA'S Auris has never really captured the imagination of the UK motorist in a segment dominated by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall's Astra and that's a shame because it is manufactured in this country and is a good solid family car.
When the Auris took over from the huge-selling Corolla it was tagged as being bland and it has always struggled to shake off that image and match the big-hitters in the sales charts.
Last autumn Toyota gave the Auris a massive style injection and major techno improvements and since then it has been winning new admirers.
I have been trying the Touring Sports estate version, which I think is the best looking car in the range.
As usual the Auris remains unique in its class offering the option of petrol, diesel and petrol hybrid powertrains and the test car came with the brand new 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine - featured for the first time in a UKToyota.
It lived up to the hype and provided an excellent blend of performance and economy.
It felt more like a 1.6 than a 1.2 and was good enough to tackle the sprint to 62mph in just 10.4 seconds before going on to a top speed of just over 120mph.
Mated with a nice manual six-speed gearbox, it is also very frugal, with emissions at 126g/km.
The combined fuel economy is listed as 52.3mpg and I got quite close to that in a week of mixed motoring.
Suspension and steering changes have helped to improve the handling and ride comfort of the Auris and it was quiet, comfortable and composed in all conditions.
The exterior design changes have made the Auris much more appealing to younger motorists and the Tourer will appeal to those with a busy and active lifestyle.
Inside there is bags of space for five and the materials are now much more upmarket.
The Tourer is very practical with 672 litres of boot space and this grows to an impressive capacity of 1,658 litres with the rear seats folded. In addition you get underfloor compartments and an adjustable floor.
The instruments and controls are well presented and easy to read and use and the new-look dash has much more style.
All models are really well equipped and even the entry grade Active model has electric windows, automatic air-con, Bluetooth and LED daytime running lights. This car was in Design trim - aimed at company car drivers or buyers who want the lot - and it featured a leather steering wheel with controls, a seven-inch touchsreen, a 4.2-inch information display, DAB radio, CD player, six speakers, sat nav, rear view camera and Bluetooth.
The Auris also boasts all the latest safety and handling features and you can add a Toyota Safety Sense package for an additional £400 that gives you emergency braking, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition as well as automatic high beam.