Toyota Auris Hybrid interior & comfort

The Toyota Auris interior is more robust and simple than tactile or stylish, but standard kit was generous

Toyota has a long-held reputation for putting substance over style when it comes to the interiors of its cars and the Auris Hybrid was a case in point. There's no nonsense in the way things are laid out, and all the materials used are robust and fit-for-purpose. However, although quality is high, you'll not find the tactile surfaces and luxurious finishes that some rivals offer.

It means the Auris has a somewhat plain, workmanlike interior ambience, which families might actually appreciate – certain 'premium' materials can be vulnerable to damage from spilt drinks and sticky food crumbs. The Auris doesn't have an especially luxurious ride, either – pothole shocks are cushioned but can still be felt.

Toyota Auris Hybrid dashboard

The staid look of the Auris' dashboard was rather at odds with the technology it incorporates. Every trim level got a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio and it's all arranged to make things easy to reach and operate when the car is in motion.

Actually, there's one exception – a digital clock that looks like a relic from the 1980s and is situated too far away from the driver to be seen at a glance. That's the only real design faux-pas, though, and the major dials are clearly designed and easy to read. Buttons on the steering wheel make it easy to perform frequent tasks like placing phone calls and adjusting radio volume without taking your eye off the road.

The hybrid's dashboard can be distinguished from that of petrol models by its instrument cluster, which incorporates an 'efficiency' meter in place of the rev counter. In some ways it does the same job, but shows how hard you're making the engine and hybrid system work – you'll see the needle swing into the green sector when regenerative braking is taking place. An adjacent colour screen shows essentials such as battery range and charge level, as well as fuel consumption.

Equipment, options and accessories

The hybrid engine was available with every trim level in the Auris range, and none was anything other than generously equipped. Even entry-level Icon went beyond the basics, with automatic air-conditioning, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth connectivity, remote central locking and electric windows, as well as automatic headlamps and individual reading lights for the front and rear seats. There were 16-inch alloy wheels, too, but more important was the Toyota Safety Sense system which includes autonomous emergency braking.

The Icon Tech added cruise control and sat nav, operated through the seven-inch infotainment display and using full-colour mapping by TomTom. Auris Design brought a more distinctive look with 17-inch alloy wheels and privacy glass dressing up the exterior. Inside, there were sports seats upholstered in Alcantara suede and a host of extra convenience features – all-round parking sensors, folding mirrors, a dimming rear-view mirror and rain-sensing wipers.

The range-topping Excel placed the emphasis on comfort, adding heated leather seats, dual-zone air-conditioning, keyless go and voice recognition for the infotainment system. There were also LED headlights and a different style of 17-inch alloy wheels. Buyers could also choose to add a panoramic sunroof and chrome exterior styling pack.

Toyota Auris Hybrid

Infotainment, apps & sat nav

Toyota's Touch 2 infotainment system was standard across the range, but had differing degrees of functionality depending on the trim level chosen. Every model got the same seven-inch colour touchscreen and all had DAB radio as standard. There's Bluetooth music streaming, too, and a reversing camera on every model.

Trim levels from Icon Tech and above had sat nav, as well as the ability to access online services such as Google StreetView and real-time traffic information when your smartphone is connected to the system. The range-topping Excel added voice control, text-to-speech announcements and 3D mapping by TomTom.