The thing with hybrids is it's the automotive equivalent of liking your own Facebook status. As the joke goes, 'how do you know someone drives a hybrid? They'll tell you.'
Personally I have nothing against hybrids and I quite enjoy trying to get the most mileage out of them. The Auris HSD looks very similar to its normal siblings, except for a few subtle Hybrid Synergy Drive badges. This is perfect then as you'll blend in nicely and won't be the butt of any jokes.
Engine from a Toyota PriusAt the heart of the Auris HSD is a 1.8-litre engine which is paired with an electric motor. Clever technology will allow you to drive on battery power only at slower speeds such as bumper-to-bumper traffic. Once you reach around the 50km/h mark, the petrol engine kicks in and you drive normally. The car will then take this time to use the petrol engine to charge the battery. Further energy is recovered through the braking process, which is then sent to the battery. It's all rather clever, but does it translate into great fuel economy?
Eco championThe simple answer is yes. Once you've changed your driving style to suit the car's nature, you'll see some commendable fuel economy figures. The car makes brilliant sense if you're a commuter and spend a fair portion of your time stuck in traffic. The petrol engine becomes redundant and you can get about on electric. During the few days I had the Auris HSD I saw 5.5l/100km on the readout. Given the fact I was doing long open road highway drives, this figure is good. Put the car into a congested city and I'll be mighty surprised if you don't go under 5l/100km. If the Lexus CT200h, which has the same engine as the Toyota Auris HSD, can do this then so can you.
Ride and driveIt's not too bad to drive apart from being a little dull. If you're after comfort and predictable, the Toyota Auris HSD delivers. If you're after some excitement, you're going to be disappointed. While there's very little to fault, the car is just underwhelming to drive. It's like an accountant in her office. She won't talk about her weekend while making coffee on a Monday morning, but you know all her work and books will be up to date.
Features and specificationStandard features of the Toyota Auris HSD include seat warmers, reverse camera, park assist, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth/USB connectivity, cruise control and steering wheel-mounted controls for audio. The ergonomics of the car aren't bad either, and my only criticism is the cabin is a bland place to be. I thought Toyota was trying to make exciting and fun-orientated vehicles? Clearly the Auris HSD wasn't included in that plan...
Summary and conclusionClever technology from the Toyota Prius bundled into a Toyota Auris makes this quite a sensible vehicle. It has enough gadgets and specification, and the price tag is justified when you look at the fuel consumption and emissions. It doesn't put a foot wrong, except when you're in a rush and the engine sounds a little strained, and it feels like you're driving something that should hold its value and be reliable. If only the Toyota Auris HSD wasn't boring to drive.
The debate of hybrid versus eco diesel is raised again with this vehicle. I recently had the rather good Honda Civic 1.6 diesel on test and was very impressed with the combination of frugal engine and sporty design. The Honda is significantly cheaper too, but you've got the guarantee of good servicing from the Toyota.
Toyota Auris HSD price in South AfricaThe Toyota Auris HSD here is the XR version, which gives you some more features and specification. It retails for R336 400. The XS version sells for R310 200.
Toyota Auris HSD XR Specifications
|Engine||1.8 litre inline-four petrol with electric motor|
|Power||73 kW @ 5 200 rpm (100 kW with electric)|
|Torque||142 Nm @ 4 000 rpm|
|0-100km/h (Claimed)||11.4 seconds (claimed)|
|Fuel economy||4l/100km (claimed on the combined cycle)|
We dislike: . You may fall asleep during the drive because its so dull . Engine noise when in a hurry