IT'S 25 years since Toyota built its first car in the United Kingdom - a Carina E which rolled of the production line at the new manufacturing plant in Burnaston, Derbyshire.
More than four million vehicles have left the factory since, destined for driveways and roads across Europe and beyond, and they're now joined by a special edition model to mark its silver jubilee - the Auris GB25.
Understandably, given Toyota's leading role in developing and championing the technology, this celebratory version of the popular compact hatchback features the brand's latest-generation 1.8 litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.
As always, the hybrid system, is paired with Toyota's constant variable transmission and the good news is that this has improved markedly over time.
There is still some noise under sharp acceleration but by no means as intrusive as in previous versions and in the typical urban driving conditions to which hybrids are best suited progress is smooth and largely refined.
In this environment the hybrid is in its element, maximising use of electric mode in slow moving and stop-start traffic, thereby, eking out the most miles per gallon, with 72.4 claimed, and minimising emissions.
Hybrids are not as effective on the open road or at motorway speeds, though, so if this is where you spend most of your time more traditional petrol and diesel power may be better options - but that would also mean foregoing the special GB25 model features.
And although discrete, these do add a touch of style and exclusivity to the anniversary edition.
It sports a distinctive bi-tone exterior paint finish, combining a contrasting black roof, front grille and door mirror casings with a choice of Tokyo Red, Pearl White or Aspen Grey bodywork.
The GB25's special status is further, and most notably, marked out a by a ‘25 years building in Britain' badge, incorporating the Union flag.
The cabin is distinguished by smart black leather upholstery with a quilted finish for the backrest and cushion and contrast silver stitching - also featured on the armrests and dashboard trim.
Other than that, kit in the special edition matches that of Design grade models, which sit just below the top of the range, meaning you get 17-inch alloys with a two-tone finish, rear privacy glass, full colour multi-information display, automatic air conditioning, power windows and push-button start.
Toyota's Touch 2 multimedia system is also included, boasting an easy-to-use seven-inch touchscreen to access functions including the six-speaker audio system, digital radio, Bluetooth for hands-free phone operation and music streaming and a rear-view camera.
The Toyota Safety Sense package provides active systems that can help prevent an accident, or lessen the consequence if an impact does occur, and features a pre-crash safety system with autonomous emergency braking, automatic high beam for the headlights, road sign assist and lane departure warning.
Celebratory styling touches and decent kit apart though, the characteristics and merits of the GB25 are the same as any other Auris.
It is a spacious and comfortable compact hatchback with good head and legroom all around and a boot which is big enough to cope with most day-to-day family needs.
In hybrid form the focus is on economy and environmental conditions rather than excitement, and performance reflects that.
But it is a straightforward car to drive with surprisingly nimble handling and a neat turn of pace when needed, thanks to the extra boost provided by the electric motor. The ride is largely relaxing and settled and - although hybrids have been around for some years now - they're not common in the hatchback market.
The eery silence when pulling off in electric mode is still a novelty for me too.