Toyota Auris GB25

Hybrid

 Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid, side static
 Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid, front static
 Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid, front action
 Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid, rear static
 Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid, rear action
 Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid, boot
 Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid, dashboard
 Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid, badge

WE can't all drive zoomy sports cars, said the owner of a Toyota Auris who happened to park next to the car I was driving. Yes, an other Auris.

She was right, of course, and with a months-old baby to transport she had made an utterly sensible choice of daily driver. The Auris will suit here down to the ground.

But this particular Auris might suit her just a little bit more. Distinguished with a '25 years building in Britain' badge on the tailgate, it celebrates a quarter century since Toyota opened its big UK manufacturing plant near Derby.

Back then it was the Carina E popping off the production line; a straight choice of petrol or diesel power. The thought of an electric motor helping out would have sounded a bit sci-fi.

These days that's just what you'll find in thousands of Toyotas, with a petrol/electric hybrid mix doing good things for running costs, from company car tax to economy.

The Auris's 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motor (the battery's under the rear seat) produce a car with enough performance for its family car role and precisely 54mpg during several hundred testing miles.

You won't go far on pure electric power, perhaps a mile on very light throttle and at modest pace but the battery is charged every time you lift off or brake and then helps out when it can.

Based on a Design grade Auris, the GB25 versions cost an extra £1,090 but you get a smarter car in return.

There are no mechanical changes but the special edition has 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.

Inside the overall feel of solid, workaday blackness is relieved by (black) leather upholstery with a quilted finish for the backrest and cushion and contrast silver stitching - also featured on the armrests and dashboard trim.

Equipment features include 17-inch alloys with a silver and machined contrast finish, rear privacy glass, full colour multi-information display automatic air conditioning, power windows, push-button start and leather steering and shift lever trim.

There's more; the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system uses a seven-inch touchscreen, co-ordinating functions including the six-speaker audio system with DAB, Bluetooth for hands-free phone operation and music streaming and rear-view camera.

The Toyota Safety Sense package provides active systems that can help prevent an accident happening, or lessen the consequence if an impact does occur; its features include a pre-crash safety system with autonomous emergency braking, automatic high beam for the headlights, road sign assist and lane departure warning.

If all the above sounds more sensible than exciting, you'd be right. Nobody ever chose an Auris for its thrills. It appeals in other ways, from a fine reliability record through good build quality to decent specification levels.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Auris GB25 Hybrid

Price: £24,045

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

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 10.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 72.4

Insurance Group: 12

C02 emissions: 91g/km

Bik rating: 17%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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