We’re spoiled with concept cars sometimes; they raise expectations that are subsequently dashed when the bog-standard showroom versions make their way onto the road. So it was with the Toyota Auris, which was bigged-up as the best thing since sliced bread, but turned out to be nothing more than an average replacement for the Corolla hatchback.
That’s okay, we thought, Toyota will introduce a stylish three-door version, just like Opel did with the Astra; maybe it’ll have its own name too. Here it is then, the Toyota Auris 3-door. No fanfare, no fancy naming strategy, no distinctive styling – it’s just an Auris with two less doors and fewer engine options. Admittedly, flat, white paint does the hatch no favours and the 3-door is a tad sportier to look at than the regular 5-door, but that’s like saying that Clare is wetter than Mayo; it really doesn’t matter and few people care. Inside, the Auris is modern, but too much money was put into the design of the centre console and not enough into material tactility – it’s no match for VW and Ford in that respect.
Obviously, the lack of rear doors comes at the expense of ease of entry, but rear legroom is adequate and at least there’s no loss of headroom. You won’t be surprised to hear that the 3-door drives much the same as its more practical sibling, which means good body control, but damping that is neither really comfortable nor a lot of fun through the twisties. In fact, the only reason we can think of to buy the 3-door Auris is to save money in comparison to the 5-door version.
Engine 1.4-litre VVT-i 4-cylinder petrol, 97hp, 130Nm torque
Transmission 5-speed manual
Acceleration 0-100km/h 13 seconds
Top speed 170 km/h
Economy 6.9 litres/100 km
CO2 Emissions 163 g/km
Boot Capacity 354 litres
Weight 1,220 kg
Base Price €19,900