Toyota family hybrid

Toyota Auris GB25, dynamic
Toyota Auris GB25, front quarter
Toyota Auris GB25, front quarter l-r
Toyota Auris GB25, rear quarter
Toyota Auris GB25, controls
Toyota Auris GB25, interior
Toyota Auris GB25, boot

AS usual I was late leaving for an event about 100 miles away and had to use motorway and dual carriageway to get there roughly on time.

But the return journey was a different animal altogether, when I weaved my way across country through small towns and beautiful villages in the autumn sunshine.

That kind of drive is usually good in any car and while the Toyota Auris Hybrid might not be the most fun, it still acquitted itself very well.

Power and layout are the same as in the Prius hybrid, with a 1.8 petrol engine and an electric motor producing a total of 134bhp.

The power goes to the front wheels through the normal Toyota continuously variable automatic gearbox, so it has to be one of the most effortless cars to drive in any situation.

The hybrid system utilises a combination of petrol, electric and a battery pack and with a very light right foot, the electric motor can give over a mile on its own under 30 miles an hour.

The engine management system decides where the power comes from depending on the way the car is being driven, and both petrol and electric motor can work together to give best performance.

The battery pack is charged in normal driving and when it runs down, the car switches to conventional petrol mode, recharging it as you drive.

The car is by no means slow, taking just under 11 seconds to reach 62 miles an hour and giving a top speed of 112mph.

Because of the way the gearbox works, response to the accelerator can be a little slow, but the combined power units are quiet and refined almost all the time and there's enough performance to make most manoeuvres easy.

The Auris is perhaps not as involving to drive as a Golf, with steering that doesn't give a lot of feedback, but it is direct and the weight is good enough to give confidence in fast corners.

There's plenty of grip and it doesn't roll much even when pressed, so that the road holding is generally pretty good. It feels secure and composed even on rough roads at speed.

All round disc brakes are brilliant, with excellent stopping power, and there is a range of other standard safety systems including traction control.

Comfort levels are good with a spacious interior big enough for five. There's plenty of head and legroom and the sports seats give good support in the corners.

Road noise is very subdued but wind noise is a little more intrusive at higher speeds.

Of course, this is a Toyota, so reliability is second to none and there is a five year, 100,000 miles warranty to take care of any problems.

FAST FACTS

Price: £24,800

Mechanical: 134bhp, 1,798cc, 4cyl petrol engine plus electric motor driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 10.9 seconds

Combined MPG:72

Insurance Group: 12

C02 emissions: 91g/km

Bik rating: 17%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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