Auris Hybrid press launch: first impressions


What a difference a day makes. Auris Hybrid is here. Okay, so by here I mean, Barcelona. But we’re in Barcelona, too. Melissa and I have flown to Spain’s second largest city to drive one of the first British-built Auris Hybrids. One test route and 105 miles later, we’ve already learnt a lot. And it’s only the end of day one.

So, has the car lived up to expectation so far? For us, absolutely. We’ve tackled a combination of suburban streets, motorway miles and some very windy hill climbs, all of which would have put any modern car’s performance and handling to the test. Auris Hybrid despatched the route with complete ease. In fact, it made driving seem almost effortless. Given that we were using a left-hand drive test car on totally unfamiliar roads, this is quite an achievement.

It’s only made us more inquisitive for tomorrow. It will be fascinating to see how Auris Hybrid performs on a route that takes us straight into the heart of Barcelona’s bustling city centre. If today showed the car to be multi-talented over distance, tomorrow gives it the chance to prove itself as a master of the urban sprawl.

Our trip hasn’t all been about driving, though. We’re now able to officially confirm that Auris Hybrid is available from £18,950 on the road. This price applies to the T4 grade Auris Hybrid equipped with 15in alloy wheels. As standard, T4 includes the following items:

Climate control air conditioning
Six-speaker audio with CD, radio, MP3 file player
USB and Aux-in connection
Front and rear electric windows
Electric, heated door mirrors
Front fog lights
LED running lights
Colour-matched door handles and mirrors
Push-button start
Seven airbags, including driver’s knee airbag
Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC)
Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)

We were lucky enough to drive the top spec, T Spirit model today. Priced at £20,700 on the road, Auris Hybrid T Spirit adds the following items:

Leather and Alcantara upholstery
Cruise control
Dusk-sensing headlamps
Rain-sensing windscreen wipers
Smart Entry and Start
Auto-dimming electrochromatic rear view mirror
Rear view camera display in rear view mirror

Thankfully, given our lack of knowledge of the roads around Barcelona, our test car was also equipped with the optional Navigation Pack, which includes integrated satellite navigation and rear parking sensors. I’m not saying our map reading is bad, but we certainly needed it.

We’ll definitely be sticking to the route tomorrow morning, as we see if we can improve on our first fuel economy figure. We’re pleased to say we averaged 65.59mpg over today’s route, which is only 5.1 mpg short of the official combined figure (70.6mpg for Auris Hybrid T Spirit fitted with 17in wheels) a good first attempt, given the nature of the route, our need for air conditioning and lorry overtaking requirements. Let’s see how we do tomorrow

Update 21/5/10: All of our pictures from the press launch are now on Flickr – you can find them here.

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