I know you think that the grass is always greener farther away. I’m a bit like that too, and living in Europe, I miss the Toyota Camry hybrid that is not available here, nor is the Highlander hybrid or the Lexus HS250. To compensate, Europe has something the rest of the world doesn’t, the Auris hybrid. It’s not even available in Japan!
It’s a Toyota built by Europeans for Europeans. Is it good? I’d say it’s the best Auris. The Auris is Toyota’s offer in Europe’s most disputed segment: four-door hatchbacks. The Volkswagen Golf has been the leader for several years, and the Auris is certainly not the car that will challenge it. It’s much less substantial, and I believe Toyota chose to launch an hybrid version just to highlight the model, and make people have a second look at it. The sales of the Auris have been a disappointment for Toyota (in many countries, the Auris has replaced the Corolla), it may get better with the launch of this hybrid model, it’s too early to say, but we may have a closer look at the Auris with these 2 videos.
The video above has shown you the car, you may have a better understanding of its hybrid system with the video below.
There’s no surprise, as the Auris hybrid shares its powertrain with the Prius. Performances are exactly the same, and so does the fuel consumption. What’s different is the body, which is more compact, and you’ll quickly feel the difference inside. Rear seats are cramped, the Prius is much better. The trunk also is way smaller. The only thing I appreciate is the dashboard, as I’ve never been a big fan of the central digital speedometer in the Prius. The Auris has nice round dials just in front of the driver, it’s less space-age but friendlier.
The Auris is about 13% cheaper than a Prius in France (prices may vary), but with more room and a much larger trunk, the Prius is easier to live with. The smaller size of the Auris might be an advantage in some crowded European cities, but that wouldn’t matter much in America. Overall, the Prius also gives its owner a higher sense of refinement than the Auris does. To sum it up, the price difference is just too small. When the 2 cars are side by side, few people would hesitate not to pay a bit more and get the Prius, larger, more pleasing to the eye (to the wind too), simply better looking.