The Auris Touring Sports marks Toyota’s reintroduction to the C-segment estate car market. It not only comes with best-in-class functionality and a large, flexible loadspace, but is the first vehicle in its segment to be produced with the option of a full hybrid powertrain.
Spaciousness was a priority for the development team, from the way the Auris Touring Sports makes clever use of the physical space it inhabits on the road, to the way thoughtful design is used to enhance the feeling of space inside.
Our object lesson in illustrating these qualities is an Auris Touring Sports model in mid-range Icon specification with the powerful yet thrifty 1.6-litre Valvematic engine and efficient Multidrive S continuously variable transmission. The setting is an appropriately spacious headland on the Kent coastline.
Designed for European customers and built exclusively in Britain, the Auris Touring Sports is in tune with the requirements of British buyers.
For instance, our enthusiasm for vehicle dynamics comes across in the vehicle’s presence and use of road space. It is a significant 55mm lower in height and offers 10mm lower ground clearance compared with the outgoing model. Together with a 40mm reduction in seat height, these attributes have lowered the centre of gravity, which in turn has directly benefited the car’s stability and cornering agility, while also allowing the engineers to reduce the spring rates to improve ride comfort.
Talking of dimensions, the Auris Touring Sports has the same 2,600mm wheelbase and 10.4m turning circle as its hatchback sibling. However the rear sill height is 100mm lower for easy loading and the estate dedicates all of its 285mm extra length to loadspace. Because of this, the boot capacity is impressive, being able to swallow a 530-litre volume as well as five passengers or up to 1,658 litres when the 60:40 split rear seats are folded flat. And thanks to Toyota’s practical Easy-Flat system, the rear seats drop down in one easy movement, revealing a load bay that is well over two metres long.
Icon grade is significant for introducing a practical dual-level load floor to the Auris Touring Sports range, as shown in the above slider. This raises the boot floor to the height of the sill so that heavy items can be more easily slid into position. But it also produces four hidden storage areas underneath the deckboard: a compartmentalised section behind the rear seats, a large square area that extends to the back of the car, and two covered side boxes. Further storage space is released in the side walls.
Boot practicality does not end there, however. There are shopping bag hooks and a 12V power outlet. The tonneau cover has two positions, one of which even allows tall loads to be hidden from prying eyes, and all models are also equipped with a roller-type luggage net designed to stop loose items joining you in the passenger compartment. And in the unlikely scenario of there not being enough luggage space inside the car, all Auris Touring Sports models are equipped with roof rails.
Just as Toyota developed the Auris Touring Sports to accommodate a wide variety of luggage options, so it has allowed for a broad spectrum of human sizes. The low front seat height releases more headroom, while the slim design makes life more comfortable for rear seat passengers, who gain an extra 20mm in knee room. Even the strong horizontal lines of the dashboard were designed to reinforce the sense of width and space inside the vehicle, yet simultaneously place the instrumentation and switchgear within easy reach of the driver.
Just as space and pace are one letter away from each other, pairing the spacious Auris Touring Sports with Toyota’s clever 130bhp 1.6-litre Valvematic petrol engine gives the car an excellent turn of speed. Valvematic is a further development of Dual VVT-i intelligent variable valve timing, which employs a variable length inlet manifold as well as lift and duration control of the inlet valves. Essentially, this system gives the engine a dual personality – gutsy in the mid-range and feisty at the top-end – without penalising the driver at the pumps.
A perfect partner for this engine is the optional Multidrive S continuously variable transmission, which can be driven in either fully automatic or stepped, seven-speed Sport mode. Unusually for an automatic, Multidrive S assists the engine to be cleaner and more frugal than its manual counterpart by ensuring that it always works at the optimal revolution for any given situation. For instance, we found that most normal driving was carried out with the engine spinning at 2,000rpm or under, leading to average fuel economy that regularly bettered the official combined figure of 47.1mpg.
So whether you’re looking for space and pace or style and smiles, we recommend you examine the Toyota Auris Touring Sports in high-value Icon specification.