Following on from my review of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, the Toyota Auris Hybrid (sold as the Corolla Hybrid in some markets outside the UK) is another car you may want to consider.
Many of the points from my Yaris review apply as the cars are very similar, so in this review I will just cover the differences for the Auris.
There are a couple of key benefits over the Yaris Hybrid:
1) More power – the Auris has the standard Gen 3 Prius engine, so around 40% more power than the Yaris Hybrid. This makes motorway cruising a more relaxed experience.
2) Larger – more interior and boot space than the Yaris and also heavier which leads to greater stability at speed.
However, being bigger and more powerful, I’d estimate that you get around 8mpg less than the Yaris Hybrid – so roughly 42mpg winter and 47mpg summer with a fair amount of 70mph roads.
With 17″ wheels on the Auris versus 15″ wheels on the Yaris, and also using the PWR engine mode(described below) on the Auris, which the Yaris doesn’t have. Also with ‘efficient ventilation’ turned off – an option on the Auris that sacrifices some percentage of passenger comfort for MPG.
Of course, hybrids work backwards to normal car mpg so the worse the traffic the better your mpg. Indeed, on slower roads you may even get 55-60mpg or more.
A good advantage over earlier models of Yaris Hybrid is the LCD display on the dashboard between the dials – this avoids having to take your eyes too far off the road to look at the central screen for driving information.
Of most use is the battery charge meter, letting you know when the engine is likely to start to recharge.
Also of benefit is the power meter dial which changes to red when you are in the power zone of engine use – you can easily spot this without having to look at the dial position.
Another benefit of the Auris is that when you switch off at the end of a journey, the display automatically shows you what MPG you achieved on that individual journey – rather than having to go through menus.
As the Auris uses a standard Prius gen 3 engine it also has the Prius drive mode switch, which is lacking on the Yaris.
There are actually 5 modes, normal mode is the default when switching on unless ECO has been selected:
ECO mode – reduces the power of the air conditioning, and lowers the sensitivity of the accelerator to increase fuel economy
PWR mode – makes the car drive more like a ‘normal’ one, turning off the petrol engine less and aiming for better response rather than maximising fuel economy
Normal mode – more performance than eco mode, but biased towards economy. You can be driving at 40mph on just electric power alone if light acceleration is all that is needed.
EV mode – useful for moving the car short distances without starting up the petrol engine. Very short trips are bad for a petrol engine, so moving a car out of a garage for example would be better in EV mode. Under light acceleration up to 20mph you can see what a fully electric car is like. With the battery pack being larger than the Yaris, you can actually go a reasonable distance on battery power alone (but still under 1 mile.)
Combo PWR & EV – A useful combination, you get greater power from the motor so can actually drive short distances without having to crawl to accelerate under normal EV mode.
While the Yaris had a traditional gear selector (that wasn’t actually connected to anything mechanical as there are no ‘gears’), the Auris has the same selector as a Prius.
It’s easy to pick up, just taking the traditional P-R-N-D-L lever and expanding it into one knob and a button.
The selection directions are shown on top of the knob, and also in the dashboard with lights to show you what gear you are in.
You may find only a bottle of gloop and an air compressor under the rear floor, however these can be replaced by a spacesaver tyre kit and tools for only around £150.
Fitting the space saver kit only loses a small amount of boot space, and is well worth it should you have a puncture.
Yaris Hybrid for city, Auris Hybrid for motorway?
While they are both fine cars, the additional comfort and performance makes the Auris more suited to longer trips and higher speeds.