By Patrick James on 2018-11-03 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Toyota Auris Bi-tone
IT was the best-selling name in motoring history, so it is no surprise that Toyota has decided to resurrect to all-conquering Corolla name to replace the Auris.
It sold over 45 million since its introduction in 1966, but now Toyota has decided to apply the iconic Corolla name for all Toyota mid-range models across Europe.
This means that after 12 years the Auris nameplate will be replaced - starting with the introduction of the new 2019 models which will continue to be built in the UK.
In the meantime the Corolla, sorry Auris, remains a strong challenger in its segment.
Now with the choice of a turbocharged 1.2 petrol engine or the hybrid version driven here, both offer economical options.
The model driven here was the full hybrid, a 1.8-litre engine with electric motor mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission, which Toyota expect to account for three quarters of UK sales.
A new grade structure has recently been introduced with trims including Icon, Design and Excel trim, with additional Icon Tech and the Design Bi-tone version driven here, which, as the name suggests, was a combination of a very distinctive body grey with black trim. It comes as an option however, of nearly £1,000.
There are restyled light clusters with include LED daytime running lights, and include follow-me-home headlamps which can be adjusted to remain on for up to 30 seconds after exiting the car.
Also new is a shark fin roof antenna and smart 16 and 17-inch alloy wheels, plus black side sills and rear privacy glass. The rear features a restyled bumper and the rear lamp clusters use LED light guide technology.
The cabin has always been a pleasant place to be but now has a redesigned dashboard, quality trims and surface finishes and a 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information screen on all but the entry level Active.
The dash is dominated by a seven inch screen which controls major functions such as infotainment and connectivity and monitors how economically you are driving.
Controls and switchgear are logically placed and easy to use. Features include heater/blower customisation which allows you to vary the speed of the blower even in auto mode.
The cabin has a well built feel and a pleasant ambience and better soundproofing reduces noise intrusion.
The cloth/alcantara seats are comfortable and this model features goodies such as auto dimming mirror, rain sensing wipers and dusk sensing lights.
A decent sized hatchback, boot space of 439 litres can be expanded to 1,199 litres with the rear seats folded. It certainly absorbed everything bar the kitchen sink on a recent journey.
Suspension and steering revisions also improve ride comfort, handling and driver involvement.
The hybrid combination delivers good economy with a claimed mpg of around 74mpg, which showed as nearer the mid-50s while I was driving.
As a full hybrid it runs on power from the petrol engine and electric motor, but can run on electric power only using the EV button and will remain in electric mode depending on how you are driving. Press the pedal too hard and engine and motor combine. Switch to power mode for a bit more oomph. That's when the CVT decibel levels rise to a screech under hard acceleration. The multi-information display gives all the relevant data.
Performance is OK, hitting 60mph in just over 10 seconds and it does feel tidy and composed on the road
It is also packed with safety kit including emergency braking signal, which activates the hazard lights, hill start, lane departure warning, traction and stability programme and pre-collision alert.
Toyota Auris Bi-tone 1.8 hybrid
Mechanical: 136ps, 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: 10
C02 emissions: 91g/km
Bik rating: 17%
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