Interior space and style were Toyota's design prerogatives in the Auris project, and most people will find the mixture of raised gear lever console and clever instrument binnacle very appealing. But it doesn’t offer the Golf’s feeling of big-car quality, nor are the plastics as soft and squishy.
It won’t come as a surprise to learn that the build quality is exceptional, but those anticipating the same derivative Toyota-esque clocks will be greeted by a very attractive set of instruments. They are attractive and clear in equal measure.
Function doesn’t follow form quite as successfully in the rest of the cabin, though. The more time you spend with the Auris, the more baffling its quasi-MPV shape and interior trimmings seem.
Take the dramatic-looking console that houses the handbrake and gear lever. There’s no denying that it serves as an interesting focal point, but when all’s said and done, the space beneath it is useless and the small huddle of storage flaps in the centre armrest is just plain curious.
One of them houses a huge, removable ashtray; the others are so small as to be virtually useless. In terms of places to plonk the accoutrements of everyday life, the Auris is well behind the class average and, crucially, far behind the expectations set by its MPV-like styling language.