Of the four powertrains on offer in the Auris (two petrol, one diesel and one hybrid), only one offers a capacity more than 1.6-litres. Kicking off the range is Toyota’s well-rounded 1.33-litre petrol unit. It develops 100bhp and 97lb ft, so while it offers reasonable performance on the move, it can feel breathless and gruff when moving off. A leisurely 0-62mph time of 13.1secs and a top speed of 109mph means its one best suited to round-town duties.
The 1.6-litre valvematic petrol engine is far better suited to the open road, with 130bhp and torque peaking at 118lb ft at 4400rpm. The four-cylinder petrol unit boasts the features and specific output we’d normally expect of a Honda.
However, mass has become a fierce enemy of the family hatch as it has grown into a genuine five-seater capable of meeting stringent crash regulations. The five-door Auris weighs upwards of 1380kg and this means it can only yield a power-to-weight ratio of 85bhp per tonne. Unsurprisingly, the car never feels especially fast, and those accustomed to being thwacked up the road by a fulsome turbodiesel motor will be shocked at the lack of that most welcome of on-road commodities, oomph. What will impress is the mechanical smoothness throughout the rev range.