There’s no avoiding the fact that, by opting to use simple twist beam for the rear suspension, Toyota instantly denies the Auris a crucial element of chassis sophistication enjoyed by the VW Golf and Ford Focus.

It does everything you’d expect of it, though, and the steering deserves special commendation for being so accurate and sensibly weighted. The car is agile and supple up to a point, but the moment the surface turns nasty the rear axle struggles to deal with deeper ruts and can be deflected.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The Auris gets battered by crosswinds that a Golf driver wouldn't notice

It’s also hard not to conclude that Toyota’s decision to design the Auris from the inside out has hampered the chassis to quite a degree. For starters, the higher centre of gravity and relatively supple suspension do bring fairly pronounced levels of body roll without the bonus of a class-leading ride.

This naturally results in significant amounts of head toss for all occupants, and that compromises the car’s long-distance comfort. But the most curious corollary of the Auris’s 1515mm height is poor directional stability at speed and an irritating susceptibility to crosswinds. Motorway driving in winds that a Golf driver wouldn’t even notice requires significant steering input to avoid meandering into other people’s road space.

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Perhaps this, more than any other observation, shows that Toyota’s expertise really lies in making cars well and making money from them. All Golfs share the same basic (and sophisticated) suspension components. The fact that the Golf doesn’t make much money these days, we are reliably informed by insiders, probably vindicates Toyota’s decision on this matter. 

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